Reverend Dr. William H. Curtis

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."

Exodus 4:10-12 NIV

Moses offers God a protest, trying to avoid going back to Egypt to lead a massive liberation movement, just like he had tried to moments before. Scholars debate what Moses means here in the Hebrew, but what Moses is certainly doing is suggesting that the assignment is too much for his current ability.

Moses feels this deeply, making it clear that in this very conversation he had been unable to speak fluently or eloquently. Moses is concerned that if God wanted him to accept this assignment, the proof would have been to change his limitation to an ability.

But God’s answer is interesting because it implies that God shaped Moses with these limitations and purposed that he would live with them. When God says, “Who gave human beings their mouths?... Is it not I, the Lord?” He makes it clear that not only has He given every person their gifts but also their purposed inabilities.

God has purposed our limitations for us. No matter our location, opportunities, or efforts, some things in our lives will always be limitations. God’s purpose for our lives includes these selected inabilities. The easy answer to this is that it is God’s sovereign choice, but that answer only sounds fine until what God wants us to do makes our limitations glaringly obvious.

The more difficult answer is to admit that God thought that it was best for us, as His disciples, to steward inability to be faithful to Him. But why, especially when it would be easier to perform our callings without our inabilities?

God’s answer to Moses is, “Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” The answer is to let God’s presence make the difference and to let God teach us how to live, in spite of our weaknesses. We don’t always need to be gifted in an area to be effective in an area.

God chose to teach Moses how to be strong even in the areas of his weakness. He was able to make Moses strong without taking away his weaknesses. God chose to show Moses that He could do more with Moses’ weaknesses than Moses could ever do with his strengths. The same is true for us, because we don’t need to be gifted to be successful.

When we choose to follow in God’s direction, He will help us to accomplish what we have been commissioned to do, in spite of our weaknesses. He will help us speak and teach us what to say.