A well-known comedian observed that the number-one fear for most Americans is speaking in public, while the second fear is death, which means that at a funeral, people would rather be in the casket than giving the eulogy. There is some truth to this humor. Having the right words at the right time can be challenging. We fear offending others or embarrassing ourselves. We aren’t the only ones to be timid with our tongues.
You may picture Moses as a courageous, Charlton Heston-type leader with a booming voice, leading the Israelites out of the oppressive stronghold of Pharaoh. But Exodus 4 gives us a different perspective. Moses was someone we wouldn’t initially expect to be a leader. Our text falls in the middle of his conversation with God. Moses was giving excuse after excuse, trying to get out of God’s command to go before Pharaoh. His final protest to the Lord points to his speech impediment, which he claimed would hinder God’s message (v. 10). The Lord gave Moses a quick theologically based biology lesson and concluded by saying, “Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say” (v. 12).
This excuse set aside, Moses finally revealed why he didn’t want to go: he was terrified (v. 13). The main issue wasn’t his lack of ability but his lack of faith and unwillingness to try. God was angry not with Moses’ questions but with his resistance. However, the Lord did not give up on this unlikely leader. Instead, He offered help through Moses’ brother, Aaron (vv. 14–16). Yahweh taught Moses that being a leader could be intimidating, especially when you have to speak in front of others, but God would give His people the right words at the right time.
>> Do you fear leading others because you fear to speak in public? The next time you have an important conversation, presentation, speech, or sermon, remember that while you are fearful, God will help you speak and teach you what to say.
God, our weaknesses remind us that we depend on You. It is Your work through the Holy Spirit that changes hearts. In our weakness, we lean on You, trusting You to correct and guide us.