Moses is a highly respected guy in both the Jewish and Christian faiths. He was the leader of the Hebrew people. He helped rescue them from their oppression in Egypt, and kept them together during their wilderness wanderings.
But he was reluctant to take that mantle up in the first place. When God comes to Moses in the burning bush, Moses tries four times to talk God out of using him. Four times. He made excuses. He begged. He really didn’t want to do it.
But actually, I think Moses has a pretty good excuse as to why he’s a bad person to be God’s spokesperson, “O my Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor even now that you have spoken to your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” (Exodus 4:10).
Some translators and scholars render the phrase “slow of speech and slow of tongue.” as “I have faltering speech.” AKA “I have a stutter.”
Which actually seems like a pretty decent excuse to not be a spokesperson for God. You’d think God would want somebody speaking for him that was capable of stringing together an eloquent sentence.
But that’s not how God operates. Moses is bad at speaking, but God calls him to be his mouthpiece anyway.
Sometimes, God calls you to things you suck at.
Why would God do that though? Why didn’t God prepare a deliverer that was eloquent? Why didn’t God give Moses great oratory skills by which he might convince Pharaoh to let his people go (without having to call down 10 plagues to get it done)? Why would God call someone so insecure and bad at communicating into a position of leadership?
In Exodus 6, God tells Moses, “I will be your God, and you will know that I am the Lord.”
This is a phrase that repeats several times throughout the Exodus narrative. It seems like everything God does, it’s to show the Israelites and the Egyptians that God is the Lord.
And maybe that’s why God chooses such a poor orator to be his spokesperson to Pharaoh.
Because God doesn’t rely on skill. He doesn’t depend on your gifts or your talents. Everything that happened in the Exodus happened because God was God. He didn’t use someone’s great oratory skills to aid in his cause. God played with a handicap by picking a stutterer to be his spokesperson just to show his sovereignty.
There are a lot of great lessons, books, and blog posts out there about how God wants you to use your talents for the kingdom of God, and I think those are true and good. If God has blessed you with a talent, you should find a way to use it in his Kingdom.
But what are you supposed to do with the stuff you suck at?
Moses isn’t the only example in the Bible of God picking the least qualified person to do a job. He uses Gideon, the youngest member of the least important family of the weakest tribe in Israel to rescue the Israelites from their oppressors. He picks David, the youngest of Jesse’s children, to be the King of Israel. He selects illiterate fishermen to be the founders of the Church. He chooses Paul, a zealous enemy of Christianity, to be his apostle to the Gentiles.
God does all of this to reveal his sovereignty – that God is in control and works to redeem and restore the world, even when those helping him are incompetent. That God is able to accomplish great and powerful things through people that absolutely cannot accomplish great and powerful things on their own. Or as Paul says in 1 Corinthians, “He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.”
God uses weakness. He thrives in it. Your weakness perfects God’s power. At the end of the Exodus story, nobody could say that it was Moses’ speaking ability that convinced Pharaoh to let the Israelites go. It was the power and sovereignty of God. What makes the story of David and Goliath great isn’t that David was a great warrior. It’s that David was an adolescent shepherd boy facing the champion of the entire Philistine army. The only way that ends well for David is if God is in control. What makes the crucifixion of Jesus such a powerful event is not that Jesus could have called 10,000 angels – it’s that Jesus was overcome by death and destruction, and God won anyway.
God uses weakness to accomplish perfection.
So maybe it’s time we pay a little more attention to our weaknesses. Maybe it’s time we start talking about how God can use our weaknesses now. Maybe we can still use our strengths and talents, but if we want God to work in us the way he worked in the men and women in the Bible, we have to surrender our weaknesses too. We have to trust that God will use our failures to accomplish his perfection.
What if the Church embraced our weaknesses and trusted in God to accomplish powerful things when we fail?
No more excuses. What is your biggest weakness? What do you suck at?
And how are you going to use it in the Kingdom?