Summary: Are you shy about sharing your faith? So was Moses. He was "slow of speech." Learn how Moses would conquer that fear.
OPEN: A few years ago a man named Jens Overson was fishing for salmon in Norway’s Gaula River. But he apparently wasn’t ready for the strong current of the river, and was swept swiftly downstream. There was another fisherman named Wilhelmsen who saw him struggling and he knew exactly WHERE the current would carry the man. So, this 2nd fisherman ran across a bridge, and waited as the current carried Overson downriver. He later told a newspaper. “He seemed paralyzed. Only his face and the tips of his boots were above water. I decided to start casting.” All he had was homemade lure and a light line, but he hooked Overson’s rubber waders on the first cast of about 10 yards. The biggest problem was that Overson weighed nearly 250 pounds which is a lot of weight for a light fishing line. He used every trick he knew, knowing that if that line broke Overson would continue downstream… and he would die. (Collin Wimberly, “Fishing With Jesus” July 2001 - main story found on Wired https://www.wired.com/2001/07/catch-o-the-day/)
In our text today, we find Moses standing before God at the burning bush. And God says to Moses “I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” Exodus 3:10
The problem was, Moses didn’t want to go and he’s given excuse after excuse as to why he shouldn’t have to do what God wants him to do. And now we come to one of the most basic of his excuses: “I’m not able to speak well” he says. He implies that has a speech impediment and there’s some scholars who think Moses stuttered. “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.’” Exodus 4:10
Did Moses stutter? It’s possible! According to Mayo Clinic “Speech difficulties can appear after an emotional trauma (psychogenic stuttering).” That phenomena is rare, but it does happen. (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/stuttering/symptoms-causes/syc-20353572)
So did Moses experience an “emotional trauma” that could have caused him stutter? Well, yeah. Forty years before he’d been a man of power and prestige. But he lost all of that when he tried to defend a Hebrew slave and ever since that time, he’d been a fugitive with a price on his head. That might have been enough to make Moses stutter, or at the very least – it might have made him withdrawn and unsure of himself.
ILLUS: And Moses’ excuse about “public speaking” – it’s NOT a new thing. Jerry Seinfeld once said “According to most studies, people’s No. 1 fear is public speaking. No. 2 is death. So for the average person, if you have to go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”
There’s people who have trouble talking about talking about certain things. And this is especially true about Christians sharing their faith with others. There’s lots of church goers who feel unsure of themselves. They might not stutter… but they feel “slow of speech.” And yet, sharing our faith seems to be the core of what Jesus wants of us.
In one of His parables, Jesus told the story of a King who said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.” Matthew 22:8-10
Who was the King? GOD; What was the King’s request of His servants: INVITE ANYONE YOU FIND; What did the King want? THAT THE WEDDING HALL BE FILLED. So, one of the things Jesus was teaching us: Inviting others is a high priority.
In fact, one the last things Jesus told His disciples was this: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations (invite them in), baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
This was such a driving force in the early church, that Peter declared: “We are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:20
Really? Why? Why is it so important that we would to invite people to come to Jesus?
Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. NO ONE comes unto the Father except by me.” (John 14:6) Peter echoed that: “Salvation is found in NO-ONE ELSE, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12