I think I have a pretty good idea how Moses felt. Yes, there are times when I am very sure of God’s presence, and I need no human validation to know that God has spoken. Ah- yes! I have heard the voice of God!
But how can one communicate the immediacy of one’s own experience of the divine to another?
In assessing preachers, the question is often asked: “Does he/ she preach with a sense of conviction?”
But if the truth be told that same sense of conviction might well be what sets one off as a fanatic, one whose feet are not truly on earth’s ground but are rather, stepping in a fantasy world. When I hear God speak, in order to communicate that speech to someone else, I need to recognise that it is I, and not the other, who has had the revelation. So I get Moses’ concern: “But suppose that they do not believe me or listen to me, but say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’”
That’s the challenge.
Don’t get me wrong. It isn’t so much that I’m concerned about whether others think that I have gone nuts. It’s far more about their readiness to believe. I don’t want to be the one who makes it harder rather than easier for anyone to come to faith. So, there are times when I keep my revelation to myself and consider them “my thoughts” rather than thoughts communicated to me by God. Therefore, I have to forever confess my sin. There have been many times, I’m sure, when I did not speak because of the likelihood of someone being “turned off” from rather than “tuned into” God.
I know too, how Moses might have felt even after having those fool proof signs that God was with him. God had left him without any trace of doubt and even promised him that such signs would follow him into Egypt. He turned to his limitations. All of us have them. And when we have done self-appraisal, we may note them far too well. Moses was no speaker, he had noted. He could assert the fact before God, like I can always find something that isn’t really my forte, but that would be very useful in executing the task that God is setting before me.
That tendency in me helps me to marvel at the way God answered Moses’ concern for his inadequacy. God agreed: ‘Yes Moses, you are no great orator, I will send Aaron to be your mouthpiece, but! HEAR THAT!’
“You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth; and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth, and will teach you what you shall do. 16 He indeed shall speak for you to the people; he shall serve as a mouth for you, and you shall serve as God for him.
God was reminding Moses that he (Moses) was the thinker, the one to put words into Aaron’s mouth. It is what Moses conceived that Aaron would say and Moses would serve as a divine guide to Aaron. He was the one called by God to execute the great task of delivering the people from a tyrant’s power. He was to trust in the limitless power of God to enable not only him, but Aaron whom he thought could do what he Moses couldn’t. It was all about what God can do.
Have mercy on me, O God, for the countless times when I had my ready excuses, because my self-evaluation took into account only my limitations and not my capacity when I am immersed in you. God of potential, help me to trust that you are indeed, able to do exceedingly far more than I can imagine, and even through me. Amen.