Biblical Heroes Who Felt Inferior: Moses
Too Small For God
The Psalmist said to God: "What is man, that Thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that Thou visitest him?" (Psa. 8:4) He gave voice to the refrain that has echoed through men's hearts for centuries. After we are rescued from our pride and perilous demise and ushered into God's abundant grace and care, we find ourselves overwhelmed. How are we supposed to commune with a God so grand and fantastic--a God all-wise and all-caring? How do we follow the hand of God when He is invisible to us? How do we listen to His voice when the voice of the devil is so strong in our minds?
I have had those same thoughts, and in that mindset, I have assumed the Biblical heroes could never feel as weak and useless as I am. But, I was wrong. God has made a career of fortifying the weak and uplifting the crestfallen. His Book is filled with the stories of redemption and inspiration. In this article, which I pray is one of many on this subject, I would like to recount the story of a murderous coward who God chose to be the undaunted leader of His people.
Moses and The Hand of GodBorn the son of a slave and raised the son of a princess, I imagine Moses was no stranger to feeling out-of-place. Despite being raised as a royal, Moses felt a loyalty to his people. Once he killed an Egyptian, he fled from the royal family and attempted to live a life of little purpose in the wilderness of Midian. But God had a plan for Moses, and it was not a plan of anonymity as a nomadic shepherd leading only sheep.
In Chapter 3 of Exodus, God comes to Moses in the miracle that is the burning bush. God speaks directly to His servant in the most marvelous way. He introduces Himself as the great I AM THAT I AM. He tells Moses exactly what he must do and exactly what God will do for him. Before the story of Exodus even starts, God reveals the entire plot to Moses; but, just like we often do, Moses stops God with what he deems a worthy excuse.
Chapter 4 starts with Moses' reply to Almighty God, and it's a bold one. His very first statement is given as an excuse, but it acts as a complete contradiction of God.
"And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, the LORD hath not appeared unto thee." --Exodus 4:1I am sure in Moses' mind, his response sounded like this: "I would, God, but they are a stubborn people who would never believe a murderous coward like me. Who would believe God Himself would come to a sinner like such as I?" In reality, his answer spoke against God: "No, God. You say they will listen and believe, but they will not. You have spoken, but it is beyond You to prove Yourself to them through me."
When we belittle ourselves, we belittle God. God asks us to be humble under His mighty hand, meek in obedience not broken in spirit. A defeatist will never see the victory of God; he will only see his shortcomings.
Moses was focused so intently on his own failures that he did not see the Glory of God in his midst. But, God had chosen Moses for His purpose, and He knew the doubts that were in His child's heart. In verses 2-9, God makes a speech that compares well with his monologue in the previous chapter. Earlier in Chapter 3, He had said to Moses:
"And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand. And I will stretch out my hand and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in the midst thereof: and after that he will let you go."--Exodus 3:19-20Even if Moses had his own "mighty hand", he could not prevail against Egypt; Israel would be saved by God's hand. God was not requiring anything of Moses but obedience. Every wonder and every power would come through God, and it would be a blessing to His faithful followers. But, just like us, Moses could not see how the Almighty God of his forefathers could work through a mortal like him. That is where God's continued speech in Exodus 4:2-9 comes in:
"And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod. And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it. And the LORD said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand: That they may believe that the LORD God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee. And the LORD said furthermore unto him, Put now thine hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow. And he said, Put thine hand into thy bosom again. And he put his hand into his bosom again; and plucked it out of his bosom, and, behold, it was turned again as his other flesh. And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign."--Exodus 4:2-8Moses doubted God's hand in Chapter 3, but here God shows him the difference between their hands. All Moses had was a rod, but God showed that He could use it. Moses' hand was weak, becoming white with leprosy at the touch of God's power, but God deigned it fit for His purpose. To Moses, his hand was that of a murderer, but to God it was a willing hand he could work miracles through. To Moses it represented nothing but past failure; To God, it represented the conduit by which he could pour out His wonders. God has designed each of us with a purpose, and no matter what we have done to scar and injure our ability to fulfill that purpose, He is powerful enough to use us and caring enough to desire our use.
With fear still greater than his faith, Moses posed one last excuse--feeble at best. He complained to God--the All powerful being that created each part of him--that his mouth was not eloquent and that he could not speak the Words of God. Angry that Moses would doubt His provision, God promised the provision of helper, and He promised to teach Moses how to speak. Despite how we think, God does not require perfection from us; he knows our state, and He has accepted the work of lifting us higher and higher towards His Glory. So often we cower away from God, afraid He will condemn us for our flaws, when God waits only to heal us and teach us how to overcome our failures.
The chapter ends with God's final command: "And thou shall take this rod in thine hand, wherewith thou shalt do signs." (Exodus 4:17)
The Hand of God with Us
In our own way, we come to God with our shortcomings and our failures. We bemoan how we cannot move through life, too bound-up and paralyzed by our faults. Overwhelmed, we hold up our hands to God, showing Him that this life is too much for the small hands He has given us. But just like with Moses, God has given us small hands for a purpose--He wants us to open them to Him and give Him what we treasure most. His Almighty Hand is upon us for miracles and wonders, if we would only trust our life to Him. We feel as if our world is falling apart, because our hands are not big enough to carry it. God does not want us to suffer that way, and, in His Word, He gives us two ways to overcome that desire--a command and a promise.
"Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you." --1 Peter 5:6-7If we will realize our faults in humility and not pride--submitting ourselves but not belittling ourselves; trusting that God can and will work through us--God will exalt us in due time. It is then that we can cast our fears, cares, and anxieties on God because we trust He is powerful enough to take care of them.
"...The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek Him; but His power and His wrath is against all them that forsake Him."--Ezra 8:22When we have humbled ourselves under God's hand, He promises that His hand will always be upon us for good. When we seek Him, seeing the Glory of God in our lives and not our faults, He cradles us in His hand, shelters us under His Hand, and upholds us with His hand.
Fit For God
When you start to understand who God is and His desire for you, you realize God meets us where we are with the intention of growing us into the best versions of ourselves this side of heaven. What God desires most is a relationship with us. To have one, we must take our eyes off ourselves, fix our gaze on Him, and reach for His Hand.