If in Exodus 4:10 Moses has an issue with speaking - some sort of spee - Bible Questions and Answers - Prayer Tents


5. If in Exodus 4:10 Moses has an issue with speaking - some sort of speech impediment, it seems - then what has happened to him by Deuteronomy? He's 120 years old(ish) and he is speaking incredibly eloquently all throughout this book. I've searched and searched and can't find any kind of information, and the Scripture says nothing that I can find. Has he just practiced so much that he's good at it now? Has God cured his speech? Is he not really speaking this clearly but he's WRITING this clearly? Maybe some of this was retold and written by an editor? So many questions. I would like to think God healed Moses' speech, but there's just no info. Thank you!
Asked by: Female, North America, New Christian, 36-45 on February 21, 2021 12:00:00 pm


Great question!

Let's begin with this verse.

Moses was taught all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was powerful in both speech and action. Acts 7:22 (NLT)

When reading Exodus 4:10 out of context, it may be easy to justify Moses's speaking problem or a physical impediment. However, try reading Exodus 3 and 4 together, and you will see Moses protesting to God five times, showing his fear in doing what God asked him to do. In each of these protests, we get a sense of Moses saying he cannot do it, so please send someone else. 

Exodus 3:11 - Who am I to do this? (Send someone else who is more worthy)

Exodus 3:13 - Whom shall I say has sent me? What if they do not know you? (Send someone else that knows you better)

Exodus 4:1 - What if people don't believe me? (Send someone more influential)

Exodus 4:10 - I don't speak well. (Send someone who has been doing that for a while)

Exodus 4:13 - Please send someone else.

In this dialogue with God, which is what we call prayer, the conversations are more honest and spoken from the heart. What is written in Exodus 3-4 shows Moses's fear or unwillingness to act on what God is asking him to do more than specific facts from where we may derive that Moses had a physical impairment. (Though God can work even with our physical impairments, for who made a person's mouth (Exodus 4:11) and everything about that person?).

Let's talk about Moses' fear. 

By Exodus 3, it was probably accurate that Moses was not confident. In today's corporate terms, Moses was fired for misconduct from his role as the CEO (or other C-level roles) when he was 40 years old (Acts 7:23). For someone with his education and upbringing, Moses had a great career. He probably had all the money, power, and fame that would secure him for life. However, when he took some actions that he felt were right, things went wrong (See Exodus 2:11-15 and Acts 7:24-29). 

As a result, Moses was no longer gainfully employed. Moses could not secure another job to replace his previous one. Moses probably spent his first few years trying to figure out what to do. (This may correlate to today's times where many people are laid off and unemployed without many opportunities that show hope). So, where did Moses settle? For 40 years, Moses lived quietly as a shepherd away from the corporate world (Exodus 2:16-25, Acts 7:29-30). 

Being away from the corporate world, where Moses probably led great multi-million/billion-dollar projects (in today's terms), Moses did not accomplish much in the business sense. Moses could also be holding the fear from when the people of Israel rebuked him (Exodus 2:13-14). He thought he was doing right by speaking good to his people, but people did not see it that way (Acts 7:24-25). Now, Moses may be holding on to that and similar experiences to believe that he is incapable of working with others and would rather be at peace by the meadows with the sheep. Moses was comfortable, and he did not have to deal with people or speak to the masses to lead them. Moses may have accepted that he can no longer manage massive projects and lead many people as he did before. Now, he felt he can only accomplish feeding and moving sheep.

At this point, Moses had an identity problem. He figured no one would follow or believe him. Moses failed to recognize that God's provision was enough. With these fears, when God spoke to Moses, he protested that he is incapable and someone else who is better should go.

The lesson that may apply to people today, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, is that we should not determine whether we can do something or not. People may feel discouraged and incapable, especially after so many months, perhaps years, of setbacks and failure to accomplish meaningful things. However, when God calls, we should recognize that the results are not dependent on us. Moses failed to believe in God and failed to understand who God is when God told him that He is sending Moses and that He would be with Moses (Exodus 3:10,12). The same applies to us that our lives' results are not dependent on us, but our faithful obedience when God calls us to action.

We can also see that God uses our experiences, even though those experiences may have stigmatized us. The verse that we began with in Acts 7:22 points to the significant amount of education and experiences Moses, the son of Pharoah, had. Moses was already eloquent, but he had lost all confidence and felt he could not accomplish anything worthy because of years of feeling like a failure. However, God had a different view.

God still has a different view for many of us. The question is, will we believe and follow in obedience when He calls us.


Answered by Dr. Sang Sur

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