I Am Slow of Speech and Tongue

4: 10-12

    DIG: How does this picture square with the image we get of Moses in his first forty years in Egypt? What changed? What is God's argument?

   REFLECT: What excuses for not following God do you use? Who do you think you rely on the most? God or yourself? Why?

    In his fourth objection, Moses addressed God by calling Him Adonai (lower case), the less personal form of the word translated ADONAI (upper case). He seems to have been deliberately avoiding the powerful implications of the names Ehyeh and ADONAI, which YHVH, or the Name, continually uses of Himself throughout this entire section.59 Moses acknowledged God’s right to his life and service when he said: Please Adonai, meaning Master or Owner, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. He had resorted to pleading his case. I am slow of speech and tongue, literally heavy in mouth and heavy in tongue (4:10). Moses probably did not have a speech impediment, since Stephen later said that Moses was powerful in speech (Acts 7:22). He objected instead that he was not able to speak fluently enough to impress Pharaoh (also see 6:12). Similarly, someone said of the Apostle Paul: In person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing (Second Corinthians 10:10).

    But God Himself would enable Moses to speak. God answered: Who makes him deaf or mute? Who give him sight or makes him blind? Is it not ADONAI (4:11)? The point is that God was sovereign over mankind, whether a person sees or not, hears or not, or even speaks or not. The fact that the LORD was sending Moshe was enough. It would be by His power and not Moses’ speaking abilities that the mission would be accomplished.60 Christ had the same exact ministry in the B'rit Chadashah. When asked if He was the Messiah, Jesus responded by saying: Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor (John 11:4-5).

    Now go. I AM will help you speak and will teach you what to say (4:12). The Hebrew literally reads: I, even I, will be with your mouth. God was in control of Moses’ mouth and whatever he would say to the Hebrews, to the Egyptians or to Pharaoh. Moshe was not to rely on himself, but on the LORD. Now you would think that if ADONAI told you to go, that would have been enough. But not for Moses -he had a fifth objection.


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