Exo 4:10 But Moses said to the LORD, "Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue." Exo 4:11 Then the LORD said to him, "Who has made man's mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Exo 4:12 Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak." Exo 4:13 But he said, "Oh, my Lord, please send someone else."
There are a lot of wonderful things to learn from Moses. No doubt he becomes a great example of a leader who loves his people so much he is willing to die for them. But like most OT characters there are some lessons to learn that teach us how not to serve the Lord. The above text is one example.
Few people ever got to meet God, let alone see some aspect of his glory, like Moses did. While he will see a greater glimpse of God’s glory later on, he has certainly had an amazing revelation of God at the burning bush where among other things he was told the Lord’s name that demonstrated his eternality and self-sufficiency. But it is precisely because of this encounter with God that the above text stands out. He soon forgets how glorious the Lord is and asks to be excused from doing what the Lord wants him to do using the excuse that he is insufficient to perform the task.
This text is sometimes entitled by preachers as “Here I am, send somebody else”. It is an astoundingly good example of how we are so quick to live by sight and not by faith even when we are given an actual physical demonstration of God’s glory. Moses has not only seen some of God’s glory in the burning bush but has seen three amazing miracles of his power and yet he can only look at himself and conclude that he can’t obey God because God has not gifted him with the abilities necessary to perform the work.
Of course, Moses’ failure is that he looks at himself and not the revelation of God. We easily see ourselves in this because we are experts at making excuses as to why we can’t obey the Lord due to circumstances all around us. We justify our depressions and unloving attitudes because of things that have happened conveniently forgetting that God allowed those things in order to train and strengthen us, not as an excuse to think only about ourselves and disregard his calling. We take it upon ourselves to decide that God failed to give us the required gifts needed for a certain task or service even though he clearly commands us to do it. It is good for us to consider that such thinking is actually an attack on the wisdom of God. We know that God sees it as such by his response in vs. 11 when he essentially says that Moses is blaming God because God gave him his mouth.
To me, the lesson that screams out from this account is that the Lord is sufficient for us and that nothing is impossible if the Lord commands it. Case in point: Luk 1:36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. Luk 1:37 For nothing will be impossible with God." If God can cause an elderly woman have a baby then we immediately are without excuses when it comes to doing whatever the Lord would have us do. Vs. 37 makes it clear that nothing is impossible “with God”. Nothing God calls us to do is impossible because he will supply the strength. All things are impossible without God.
Finally, there is an interesting parallel between Moses and Isaiah. Like Moses, Isaiah also was given an amazing glimpse of God in his glory. He also saw that in comparison he was a ruined sinner who needed grace, Isa 6:5 And I said: "Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!" Like Moses he was given a task to take a message to people who would not want to hear God’s Word and would not respond properly.
But the difference between Moses and Isaiah is that when God asked was there anyone up for the task Isaiah says, “Here I am, send me!” His vision of God encouraged him that he could do the most difficult of tasks. Moses, upon seeing how little he was compared to God, kept his eyes on himself and so naturally didn’t believe he could do anything. Thankfully the Lord works with Moses until his confidence (faith) is in God and not in his own abilities.
May the Lord give us a vision of himself in his Word that we abandon all excuses and by faith remove all mountains as we give ourselves totally to his glorious power. Will we be like Isaiah, eager to obey, or like Moses and blame God for not making us like we think he should have?