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But I Can’t Speak

September 14, 2023

But I Can't Speak

But I Can’t Speak

By Brooke Holt

"But Moses said to the Lord, ‘Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.’ Then the Lord said to him, ‘Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.’ But he said, ‘Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.’” Exodus 4:10-13 (“The Great ‘I AM’” Study Reading: Exodus 4:1-17)

The 2010 movie, "The King’s Speech", follows King George IV as he unexpectedly ascends the throne and struggles to overcome his stammering. At the time, Hitler was marching on Europe, and England’s leader needed to project a strong, confident voice across the nation and the globe. The young monarch describes his duty and his frustration to his speech therapist: “I am the seat of all authority. Why? Because…the nation believes…that when I s…speak, I speak for them…but I can’t speak!”

The nation of Israel also needed an effective spokesperson, and, like King George, Moses felt completely ill-equipped for the task. Whether he had a speech impediment or a phobia of public speaking, Moses was terrified enough to ignore God’s miraculous signs and assurances. He told the Lord he was “slow of speech and tongue” (verse 10), as if his Creator might have forgotten or overlooked his weaknesses. But God knew every aspect of Moses — who he was and who he was meant to be.

The Lord became angry, not because Moses doubted his own abilities, but because Moses did not trust God to keep his promises. “God said, ‘I will be with you’” (Exodus 3:12). “I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak” (Exodus 4:12). Despite these assurances, despite all the wonders he had witnessed, Moses resisted the Lord’s call on his life and begged him to send someone else.

Although angry, God did not give up on Moses or let him off the hook. Instead, as he so often does, he created a path through his child’s failings. His ultimate plan remained unchanged: Moses would lead his people out of bondage and into the promised land. He would still be the one to hear and convey God’s words, but his brother Aaron now would deliver them to Pharaoh and the Israelites. God provided the support and assistance Moses needed to fulfill his magnificent calling.

Moses begged God to send someone else, because, despite numerous promises to the contrary, he thought he would be acting on his own. He feared God did not know his woeful insufficiencies and lack of abilities. Moses was mistaken on both counts. We are never “the seat of all authority”; we are always God’s instruments. And nothing about us is hidden from our Creator. God fully knows and understand his call lies beyond our comfort zones and skill sets. Only through our relationship with and dependency upon him do we become who we are meant to be. The question is not whether we are capable (we aren’t), but whether we believe God can do amazing things through us.


How have you resisted God’s call on your life? He knows and understands you perfectly. Are you willing to trust that he will provide all you need to achieve his will? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Want to know more about the book of Exodus? Check out "The Great 'I AM'" study written by Charlie and Brooke Holt below. 

Related Resource:

The Great "I AM"

Come explore the grand story of God as the one who knows and loves his people. In one of the greatest love stories ever told, The Book of Exodus reveals God as Yahweh, the Great “I AM.” He is the transcendent, all-powerful creator of all things who defeated the greatest powers of the earth. This same God would have his people know and love him in an intimate and personal way. The Great “I AM” – A Study of the Book of Exodus is a 9-week study consisting of a small group study guide combined with weekly video teachings.  Come and meet The Great “I AM”.


The Great "I AM" - A Study of the Book of Exodus

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