Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Letters on Words: A Lesson From Moses

{Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience and Holley Gerth at Heart to Heart with Holley are co-hosting a series of letters about loving Jesus and one another with words.}
Then Moses said to the Lord, "O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue." So the Lord said to him, "Who has made man's mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say." Ex 4:10-12
God's call was terrifying to Moses. He understood that the purpose of a prophet of God was to speak His Word in authority and bring rulers and nations to repentance. But Moses also knew the fearsome power and cruelty of Pharaoh as well the hardness of the people of Israel. He lined up this picture of a mighty man of God and could not see any hint of that man in himself.

But God breaks through crippling self-doubt to draw Moses' gaze from his own inadequacy to the supreme authority of God.
"Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say."
“Go.” That was Moses' only directive, go. God did not call him to take a course or to practice in from of a mirror (though there is great power in faithful preparation as well), He simply told Him to go.

When we are called by God, as we all are, to be His witnesses, there is no room for self-doubt. This is not because God is not compassionate, neither is it because we are sufficient for the calling, but rather because God provides both the power to speak as well as the means by which to speak.

Jesus encourages his disciples in the same way as he prepared them for the days when He would no longer be with them.
Therefore, settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. Luke 21:14-15
Knowing what a devastating critic our own hearts can be, Jesus extends us a lifeline; He offers us freedom from our own limitations.

But Moses' perspective lesson doesn't end with an exhortation to trust God.
...but Pharaoh will not heed you, so that I may lay My hand on Egypt and bring My armies and My people, the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments.
And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord... Ex 7:4-5
God presents Moses with a new idea: that Moses' words had a greater purpose than simply convincing Pharaoh to release the Hebrews. In fact He tells Moses in advance that Pharaoh will not heed his words. Yet Moses' words, so seemingly ineffective, would bring knowledge of God to the entire nation.

Likewise, in the years to come, the children of Israel would be able to testify to their children and their children’s children of the mighty power that God displayed on their behalf.
And when in time to come your son asks you, 'What does this mean?' you shall say to him, 'By a strong hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, from the house of slavery.
We are, ourselves, houses of Jesus, the very Word of God. His Word dwells in us in a profoundly mysterious way and flows out through us, working in ways we cannot fathom. We can too easily be guilty of oversimplifying or taking too lightly the act of speaking the words of God. Like Moses, we do not understand that…

there is power to be found in speaking the Words of God

…even beyond the response of the listener.

Speak His words. Use your voice. Let go of your expectations.

--Sarah Elizabeth

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