For the first forty years of his life, Moses lived in a place of strength. As a member of Pharaoh’s household he had social prestige, wealth (Hebrews 11:26), and youthful strength. When he became aware of and troubled by his peoples’ oppression he used this strength to exact vigilante justice on an oppressive Egyptian. That wasn’t God’s plan for deliverance. He had to flee for his life and ended up tending livestock in the quiet fields of Midian for his second forty years.
So he passed his youth in a palace of power and his middle age in pastures of peaceful obscurity. Then one day he stumbled on a burning bush, which turned out to be God’s surprising call for his third forty years:
Behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt. (Exodus 3:9-10)
This call scared Moses out of his wits. So much so that he argued his case face-to-face with God.
Objection 1: I’m a nobody, God.
“Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11). Any fame or social credibility I may have once had is gone. In fact, I’m a shepherd and “every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians” (Genesis 46:34).
Objection Overruled: “I will be with you” (Exodus 3:12). This calling is not based on your credibility but on Mine. I don’t want Egypt or Israel impressed with you. I want them impressed with Me.
Objection 2: They aren’t going to believe me, God.
“But behold, they will not believe me or listen to my voice, for they will say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’” (Exodus 4:1). They’re going to think I’m loony! I can believe in you myself because you’re revealing yourself to me. But we’re up here on a mountain where no one sees. I’m still a nobody and nobody’s going to listen to a nobody’s words, especially if he’s claiming to be speaking for God!
Objection Overruled: I will be with you. The same power that I demonstrate to you in secret I will demonstrate to them “that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you” (Exodus 4:5). My point is to impress them with Me, not you. Trust me, I will show up!
Objection 3: I am not gifted to do this, God.
“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” (Exodus 4:10). I know the rhetorical expectations of Pharaoh’s court. I mean, I wouldn’t even qualify for Midian’s Got Talent! Haven’t you read the strengths books, God? I can’t do this!
Objection Overruled: Moses, “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” (Exodus 4:11-12). You’re still missing the point. I want Egypt and Israel to be impressed with me, not you. Don’t be afraid. I will be with you and your unimpressive mouth.
Objection 4: Don’t make me do this, God.
“Oh, my Lord, please send someone else” (Exodus 4:13). God, seriously, there’s got to be a better candidate for this job! I might still be wanted in Egypt for capital murder. If not, I’m just a nobody. Worse, I’m a shepherd! And if it’s not bad enough that I’m an obscure murdering abomination, I stumble all over myself when I speak publicly! I don’t want this calling.
Objection Overruled: Enough! I have purposes in choosing you for this call. You don’t know all those purposes yet so stop leaning on your own understanding and trust Me (Proverbs 3:5–6)! But since you have such little faith for this, I’ll send your more eloquent brother, Aaron, with you and “I will be with your mouth and with his mouth and will teach you both what to do” (Exodus 4:15). Now get moving!
Do you feel unqualified for what God is calling you to do? Join the club. Kingdom work is supernatural work, no matter what your calling is. If it doesn’t require real faith, a desperate dependence on God to be with you in order to succeed, then either it’s not God’s calling or you don’t get it yet.
Have you been arguing with God over your calling qualifications? If so, remember Moses. And remember that God’s call on you is not about you. It’s about him. And the question is, are you willing for God to use your weakness to show how impressive he is?
Don’t use your weaknesses as an excuse for unbelief. Move forward in faith. God will be with you, will guide you, and will give you the help you need. For God’s M. O. is to choose…
…what is foolish in the world to shame the wise… what is weak in the world to shame the strong… what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. (1 Corinthians 1:26-29)
This meditation is included in the book Not by Sight: A Fresh Look at Old Stories of Walking by Faith.
Trusting Jesus is hard. It requires following the unseen into an unknown, and believing Jesus’s words over and against the threats we see or the fears we feel. Through the imaginative retelling of 35 Bible stories, Not by Sight gives us glimpses of what it means to walk by faith, counsel for how to trust God’s promises more than our perceptions, and the way to find rest in the faithfulness of God.