For when being chosen isn’t enough

Painting from Saint Isaac's Cathedral, Saint Petersburg
God Appears to Moses in Burning Bush. Painting from Saint Isaac's Cathedral, Saint Petersburg.

“But Moses pleaded with the Lord, ‘Oh Lord, I’m just not a good speaker. I never have been, and I’m not now, even after you have spoken to me. I’m clumsy with words.’” (Exodus 4:10, NLT)

You’d think it would be amazing to hear directly from God that He’d chosen you to lead His people, that it’d instantly erase all your doubts about yourself — but it didn’t work that way for Moses.

This was his fourth objection to the job. God tried pointing out that, since He was the one who made mouths and made people so they could speak, He’d tell Moses what to say and help him say it, but Moses still begged God to send someone else. God was angry, but He caved. Moses’ big brother Aaron became the public speaker, with Moses feeding Aaron the words God fed him. It was a little convoluted, but it worked.

Until, after about six weeks in the desert, Moses didn’t need it anymore.

The Bible is silent about this transition. Did Moses just get used to public speaking? Did watching God come through with the unimaginable over and over get through to him?

Or did Moses maybe never really have a problem?

The Israelites weren’t shy about criticizing Moses and complaining about other things, but we have no record of the people jeering at Moses for how he talked or blaming his halting speech for their failures.

It’s at least possible that Moses believed something about himself that wasn’t true, and that kept him from accepting that he was the kind of person God would call – even as God was right there, calling him a leader. Even as God was right there, promising to help Moses lead.

Do you believe something about yourself that might not be true? Do you believe that something basic about yourself (shyness, hyperness, age, gender, poverty, physical or intellectual ability, etc.) disqualifies you from serving God? Do you ever think, “Someone like me could never…”?

God is always choosing you, and constantly offering His help. Sometimes, that’s enough to dissolve your insecurities. Sometimes, it isn’t, and, like Moses, you need time — but it’s time to learn while serving. Moses didn’t figure out his issue by practicing alone with his sheep. You don’t need to have yourself all straightened out first. Get moving, work some modifications … until, one day, you won’t need them anymore.

Spread the word:

5 thoughts on “For when being chosen isn’t enough

  1. I was in a situation before where I was asked to speak about a certain topic. A topic that I have experienced, and I know God had equipped me to enlighten the people at this venue. However I, like Moses, wanted God to send someone else. I tried to get out of it and was able to. But then when I went and listened to the other person speak about it, I felt like they missed the mark. Not because they were a bad speaker, but because they hadn’t experienced it to it’s potential like I had. So even though I wanted to get out of doing what God had asked me to, I saw at that point that there is a reason why he asked me to do it. Because there was something that only I could share in order to convey his message. So it’s possible Moses was struggling with this and eventually realized that though he didn’t want to lead God’s people, it was something that was part of him and he could no longer deny it.

    (Jeremiah 20:9 But if I say, “I will not remember Him Or speak anymore in His name,” Then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; And I am weary of holding it in, And I cannot endure it.)

    It is also underestimated just how lonely it is to do what God calls you to do. I have personally been hurt and wounded so deeply by those whom I thought would support me to the fullest after I revealed some plans that I felt God was making for me. I don’t know any other heartbreak that could compare to being turned on by the very people that told you to pursue your calling in the first place.

    Great message Nat, love your blogs. Perhaps you have inspired me to open up about these things 🙂

    1. Those are great points to bring up — the hurt and the loneliness and the angst of trying to deny something you know is your role. Those are very real. And that passage from Jeremiah is so good (I’m pretty sure it’ll wind up in a devotional one of these days). Thanks for reading, Evvia.

  2. You have a way of opening up things in scripture that is prophetic! And also deeply human. I’m glad Go called you and that you mustered the courage to say yes!!

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