February 25, 2024 | Doug Sauder
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“Moses said to the Lord, ‘Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.’ The Lord said to him, ‘Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.’ But Moses said, ‘Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.’ Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses and he said, ‘What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and he will be glad to see you. You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do. He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him. But take this staff in your hand so you can perform the signs with it.’”—Exodus 4:10–17 (NIV)
In today’s passage, we see the “the Lord’s anger burned against Moses.” Why? Because even after everything the Lord had shown Moses, after all the wondrous signs, Moses still doubted, feared, and sought to refuse God’s call.
At first, Moses gave an excuse: “I am slow of speech and tongue.” Some have tried to interpret this as Moses saying He had a speech impediment or a stutter; however, Acts 7:22 says Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was mighty in words and deeds. More than likely it was his self-confidence that lacked not his ability to speak.
The Lord; however, demonstrated patience and challenged Moses’ self-doubt, saying, “Who gave human beings their mouths. . . . Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” So you see, whether or not Moses believed that he was an eloquent speaker is irrelevant because the very God who gave us language, speaking ability, and mouths was on His side!
Do you ever feel like you’re not good enough to accomplish something you feel the Lord has called you to? Do you ever feel ill-equipped or unfit, lacking confidence and full of doubt? You’re not alone! But you don’t have to feel this way, because if the Lord called you to something, you can be sure He will work in and through you to carry it out.
And now we get to the part where the Lord became angry. After telling Moses He would be with him in Exodus 3, after performing amazing signs and wonders, and then after reassuring him that He would help Moses speak, Moses still refused. Politely declining, he basically told the Lord to find someone else.
God wasn’t angry when Moses asked, “Who am I?” or when he questioned how he could accomplish the mission or even when he falsely claimed he was “slow of speech,” but when Moses became flat out unwilling, this incited the Lord’s anger. And yet, even in His anger (His perfect, righteous, good anger), the Lord was patient and provided a way. The I AM provided exactly what Moses needed in the help of his brother Aaron.
I hope you can see what I see here. Even when what we say or do is not pleasing to the Lord, even when we run away from His calling and flat out refuse to do what He has commissioned us to do, He is still patient with us and provides for us.
Today, one of the most prevalent examples of our unwillingness is seen in the Great Commission. I pray we would let go of our self-doubt, our pride, our convenience, and our comfort in order to take this mission seriously. He will give us the words, He will give us the ability, He will surround us with the right people, and He will equip us with everything we could possibly ever need.
Pause: Why did the Lord get angry with Moses? Why did the Lord show patience even in His anger?
Practice: Bring any doubts and fears to the Lord today. Ask for God-given boldness in these areas to walk in His purposes and will.
Pray: Heavenly Father, remind me in my moments of doubt that it is You who calls, equips, empowers, and fills me with Your Spirit! Give me boldness, confidence, faith, and humility to serve You as You call me to. Amen.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.