Is Moses’ Story Your Story?
I Object, Your Honor! Overruled!
God appeared to Moses in a flame of fire out of a bush, and called Moses to deliver his people from bondage in Egypt (Exodus chapters 3 & 4). But Moses objected.
“Who am I?” Moses asked, to fulfill such a monumental calling.
God answered indirectly, in effect saying, it doesn’t matter who you are. “I will certainly be with you,” he said. Overruled, Moses.
Moses objected again. I don’t even know what to say when they ask me your name.
“I AM THAT I AM.” Say to them, “I AM has sent me to you.” (Moses, you heard me when I told you, “I am the God of your father–the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”) Tell them that I appeared to you.
“But,” Moses replied, “they will not believe me, or listen to my voice…”
God was patient. Maybe Moses didn’t hear him say, “I will certainly be with you.”
So God provides proof, documentation, indisputable testimony. The rod Moses was carrying became a serpent. His hand instantly became leprous as snow, then was miraculously healed. “And Moses,” God said, “I’ll turn water into blood to prove it. Moses, your objection does not stand. Overruled! I am with you!”
Moses objected yet again. “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to your servant.” “But,” Moses continues, “I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” (At least Moses knows he’s Lord, and is willing to serve him. However, he says, “Being in your presence hasn’t improved my speech problem.”)
God remains patient. Moses, “Who has made man’s mouth?” “Have not I, the LORD?” Sorry, Moses. I won’t let you out of this. Overruled! I am with you!
“Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.” Simply put. Easy to understand. I will be with you; I will be with your mouth. Don’t worry about it. I’ll take care of it.
“But,” Moses objected. Please send someone else.
That’s it! That last objection provoked God to anger! (I wonder how it showed. Did his voice get louder? Was there obvious frustration and firmness in his tone?) So God set up Aaron to speak for Moses, and promised once again that, “I will be with your mouth and with his mouth, and I will teach you what you shall do.” Overruled, Moses. You are overruled! I am with you!
So Moses did what the LORD called him to do.
Leading God’s people out of bondage was an amazing, once-in-history-deliverance of gigantic proportions. In many times and places, God has called others to incredible tasks, but for most of us as fathers, his calling is simpler, more day-to-day. It involves leading our children out of bondage, and keeping them from it. “You shall teach them diligently…”
Do you object? “But,” do you ask, “who am I to teach them? I’m not trained.”
Do you object? “But, I don’t know God or the Bible that well, really.”
Do you object? “But, my kids, well, I don’t think they’d really listen to me.”
Do you object? “I’m not very good at speaking. I don’t know what I’d say, and I tend to stumble over my words sometimes. I take too long to gather my thoughts, and things just never seem to come out right. I’ve always been like this, ever since I can remember.”
Do you object? “My wife is better at this. She can relate to the kids in ways I can’t. And the teachers at church–they’ve been trained. They love kids and all…”
Do you hear God saying, “Overruled! I’ve called you! You! I am with you!”?
Do you hear him saying, “I will be with you. I will be with your mouth. I will teach you what to say and what to do. I won’t let you flounder. I won’t abandon you. This is my plan. This is my design. As a father, I’ve placed you in a unique position to influence your children for their good and my glory. I’m calling you to this.”?
(When God called Jeremiah, he too objected. “Ah, LORD GOD! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.” (1:7) Overruled! “Whatever I command you, you shall speak… for I am with you.”)
Back to Moses. God sent him to Egypt and there fulfilled his promise to help this verbally challenged man. God told Moses’ brother Aaron to meet him in the wilderness (Exodus 4:27). There Moses “told Aaron all the words of the Lord who had sent him…” Then they gathered together all the elders, and Aaron did the talking. Apparently Moses was silent. “So the people believed,…then they bowed their heads and worshiped.”
Afterward both Moses and Aaron confronted Pharaoh. Chapter 5, verse 3 reads, “So they said,” and Pharaoh responds to both of them together.
Later, in verse 20, Moses and Aaron stood together to meet the officers of the children of Israel.
But then a significant transformation took place. Verse 22 records that Moses returned to the Lord, and God spoke to Moses–no mention of Aaron (6:2). Look what happens next (6:9): “So Moses spoke thus to the children of Israel.” Moses spoke; not Aaron.
As this spectacular event unfolds, Scripture records numerous times that “the LORD spoke to Moses,” and in turn, Moses spoke to Aaron, to Pharaoh, and even to the elders and all the people (12:21, 13:3). Moses does most of the speaking; Aaron does very little, if any.
Moses, who judged his own verbal skills as inadequate for the mission God gave him, a man who said of himself, “I am slow of speech and slow of tongue,” is now speaking without hesitation to Pharaoh and the huge crowd of his people.
At the end of his life Moses left a legacy. First, he knew the LORD face to face and, second, he performed incredible deeds, signs and wonders, by mighty power and great terror.
But long after his death, in fact, after the death and resurrection of Jesus, he was well known for more than his encounter with God and his deeds, as great as they were. In testimony before the council just before he was stoned to death, Stephen, with the benefit of hind-sight, trumpeted the legacy of Moses. He said that Moses, was “mighty in words and deeds,” (Acts 7:22). A man who at age 80 “was slow of speech and slow of tongue,” was honored as being mighty in words!
Why would Stephen say that? Stephen was familiar with the words of Moses, as recorded in Deuteronomy, speeches given without the aid of notes or teleprompters. The first address starts in chapter one, verse one (“These are the words which Moses spoke to all Israel…”) and ends at 4:40. His second address, starting in chapter 5, spans 24 chapters, ending at 28:68. The third address starts at 29:2 and ends at 30:20. Deuteronomy continues with a song that God gave Moses to write and to teach to the children of Israel (most of chapter 32), followed by Moses speaking a blessing over each of the tribes (all of chapter 33). It concludes the account of his death (chapter 34).
What Moses said was what the Lord told him to say, borne out of his encounters with the living God. Moses had met with God on Mount Sinai numerous times, (Exodus 19:3, 8, 20; 20:21; 34:4), once for forty days and forty nights (24:18), then again in the tabernacle of meeting (33:7-11; 40:2; Leviticus 1:1; 8:3-4). Moses had met with the Lord often (34:34 and others).
Once Israel left Egypt, the books of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers record that God commanded Moses to “speak” (or “say”) something, most often to “the children of Israel,” at least 58 times! Never once did Moses object! Only once did Moses fail to speak when instructed, and struck the rock to provide water instead of speaking to it (Numbers 20:11). Moses paid dearly for his unbelief (20:12).
Perhaps you identify with Moses when God first called him: you see yourself as lacking in verbal skills, a little slow of speech and tongue. Many men think of themselves that way–the “strong but silent” type. Maybe you don’t see yourself as being capable of teaching or talking to your children or grandchildren effectively about the things of God. Perhaps you’ve been this way all your life, unable to change and do it differently now. Well, Moses was 40 years old when he left Egypt the first time (Acts 7:23). He was 80 when God called him back to Egypt (Exodus 7:7). At that age, his speech problems were well engrained, painfully well known by Moses. But he changed after an encounter with the LORD. His speaking ability developed as part of a process. His speech and his confidence improved after, and as, he responded in obedience to the LORD, encouraged by his promises and spurred on by seeing God’s power at work. Then his speaking became mighty as he met regularly with the Lord.
Moses lived for 40 more years, and was 120 when he delivered the Deuteronomy addresses, just before he died. Maybe you don’t have 40 years, but you do have today. You can’t opt out of speaking to and with your children about the things of God. Well, you can, but you’d be objecting to God’s plan for you and your child’s life, and God would say to you, “Overruled!”
Instead, eventually, “mighty in words” can be said of you too! What God calls you to, he equips and empowers you to do. Clearly he’s called you to teach and train your children, not leave it up to someone else. What’s the key to being mighty in words? It’s simple. It’s God’s promise: I AM WITH YOU! Do you believe it?
After his resurrection, when Jesus ascended into heaven, his last words were, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). “I am with you,” just like he was with Moses; just like he was with Jeremiah. “I am with you.” That’s his promise to you as one of his disciples. Grab hold of his promise to be with you, to teach you, and to empower you, like Moses. Depend on it. Lean on it. Soak and simmer in that promise. Start today. Start now! Start by asking the LORD, “Turn my heart to you, and to my children.” Spend time with the Lord, in his word–regularly. Then act. Step out. Do something new. Share something the Lord’s revealed to you with your children, perhaps in a way you’ve never done it before. And watch how God blesses it. Indeed, he is with you.
Worship with New Life’s “The Great I Am” here.
Worship with Kelanie Gloeckler’s “No One Like Jehovah” here.