Chardon church of Christ

Sermons from the Chardon church of Christ

Healing the Slow of Speech

Posted on December 11th, 2021

Exodus 4:10-12

Kathy and her husband Paul ran a day care in their home. Since Paul was a teacher, he spent the summer at home. One day while in the basement, he heard Kathy tell one of the day care kids to go to the bathroom and wash their hands to get ready for lunch. A little while later, he heard Kathy say: Reese! Reese...how many squirts of soap do we need to wash our hands? Reese said, “one.” Kathy said, “How many squirts of soap do you have on your hands?” Reese explained: “26” Kathy had been teaching Reese to count. And apparently, she’s gotten very good at it!
I tell you that story to help you understand WHY God asks questions. He asks questions to help us reflect. To help us see truth!
Last week, we looked at God’s Miracles for Moses that we find in Exodus 4:1-9 This week I would like to focus on the 10th thru 12th verses of Exodus 4. So, please open your bibles to Exodus 4 verses 10-12 where we see God ask the question: Who Gave Man His Mouth?
10 Then Moses said to the LORD, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”
11 So the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the LORD? 12 Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.”

BACKGROUND OF MOSES:
To help you better understand and appreciate this story, let me give you a glimpse into the life of Moses.
--Moses was a miracle child. He wasn’t a miracle child like Isaac, Samson, Samuel, John the Baptizer or Jesus, but the fact that he survived was a miracle.
--He was born to Jewish parents in Egypt during Israel’s enslavement and in the middle of when the Egyptians were killing ALL of the Jewish baby boys. Moses’ parents successfully kept Moses hidden until they couldn’t hide him anymore.
--That is when they came up with a plan to to put Moses in a basket, place him in the Nile and let God take care of him. And God looked after Moses, and brought him to the princess of Egypt. So, this son of a Hebrew Slave grows up in the Palace of Egypt.
--He benefits from an Egyptian education and learns the way of the Egyptians royal court. For 40 years, Moses has the benefits of Egyptian royalty.
--But somewhere along the way, Moses learns that he isn’t an Egyptian, let alone a physical descendent of Pharaoh, and that he is in fact the descendant of slaves.
--Moses begins to believe that he was meant to help his people. This comes to a boiling point one day when he sees an Egyptian task master beating a Hebrew slave. Moses kills the Egyptian to help the slave.
--In the desert, he meets a girl, becomes a shepherd and has a family. For the next forty years, Moses is a nomadic shepherd learning the ways of the wilderness. His thoughts of power, prestige and heroism vanish and he is taken over by the day to day duties of life. That is, until one day he sees a strange sight:
--Moses and his flock of sheep are all alone at the base of Mt. Sinai when he sees a bush that is on fire! But it never burns up.
--Moses turns aside to see this sight and God calls to him from within the flames of that burning bush.
--Moses is told that God will strike the Egyptians and that Israel will plunder Egypt without a fight. And that Moses was going to be the face to this amazing operation! What an amazing task set before this now humble shepherd: to face the most powerful man in the world!

HAVE YOU EVER FELT THAT WAY? The job is too big that you are asked to achieve? That you are under-qualified and not ready?
And Moses responded to God with these words: “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”

WHO AM I? I’m just a nobody. A has-been. A failure. You don’t want me. I’m not worthy of your attention. At one time I could have made a difference. At one time, I might have led a mighty army into battle. But now... now I’m just an old man who can’t seem to do anything right. You need to find someone else.
Years ago there was a comedian named Milton Berle who wrote this poem:
“I'd rather be a could-be
if I cannot be an are;
because a could-be is a maybe
who is reaching for a star.
I'd rather be a has-been
than a might-have-been, by far;
for a might have-been has never been,
but a has was once an are.”
Someone once noted that Moses spent forty years in Egypt thinking he was somebody; And forty years in Exile learning that he was a nobody.
Moses was a nowhere man - going nowhere, doing nothing, being nothing... but then he meets God. And God tells Moses I want you to do something for me! “I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”

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.
(LONG... PAUSE)

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.
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 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, (Matthew 22:8-10) “The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.9 Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.
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 found in Mathew 28: 19-20: 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
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 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
The Bible is very clear that we can’t get to heaven by being a “good” person. We’ve ALL sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We don’t deserve heaven. You and I can’t be good enough to be good enough to get into heaven.
BUT, Jesus died for your sins so that we COULD gain heaven. I recently saw a graphic that pretty much sums it up:
“Good people don’t go to heaven. Forgiven sinners do.”
This means that – without Jesus – we don’t have a promise of heaven. If people were to get what they (and we) deserve, we’d ALL be condemned. That is why it is so important that we invite people to Jesus, because – without Jesus – they’re lost!

So, let’s go back to our story of the fisherman. We had a man who was moments away from drowning, and there was only one man could save him. And all that one man had to work with was a home-made lure and some light fishing line.
A less determined man would have given up, after all he wasn’t prepared to haul in a huge man like Overson. But did that man give up? No. He took what he had and he used it to the best of his ability. His lure caught on the drowning man’s rubber waders and slowly but surely, the rescuer pulled Overson into shore. That day he caught something much more important than a salmon. He caught a man... and he saved that man’s life.
God has given us the same kind of marching orders He gave Moses. God told Moses to go and bring the people of Israel out of their slavery. And God says to you and I - “I want you to go and help bring people out of their sin.”
Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them all that I have commanded you.
It’s called the Great Commission because God is commissioning us to do our part to give people hope. To change their lives; To bring them to Jesus.
But, how do we do that?

First, we need to realize that it’s not about US - it’s about God. You see, that was Moses’ problem. Moses said: “I have a speech impediment... therefore you can’t use me.” Now, you could ADJUST that excuse (modify it) by saying – “I don’t know enough”; “I’m not smart enough”; “I’m not important enough”; “I’m not... enough.” And you’d be right. You’re not enough! I’m not enough.

In fact, that’s the kind of person God likes to use. Paul (one of the most powerful Christians who ever lived) was told by God “‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore (Paul wrote) I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
But WHY would God make his power “perfect” in Paul’s weakness? In I Corinthians 1:27-29 we’re told “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose 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.”

Someone once said “If you really WANT to do something, you'll find a WAY. If you don't, you'll find an excuse.” But that’s not what God said to Moses. God told Moses – “If I want you to do something, I’LL find a way, and I’m not interested in your excuses.”

Moses tried saying “I can’t speak well” and God replied “I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.” (Exodus 4:12) Do you think God is big enough to do that for you? Can God be with YOUR MOUTH and teach you what to speak? If you do... just open your mouth once in awhile and tell others about what Jesus has done for you, and let God take care of the rest.

The power is NOT you, it’s the power in the message. Do you realize Moses only had one message “Let my people go.” (Exodus 5:1; 7:16; 8:20) He repeated that to Pharaoh OVER AND OVER again: “LET MY PEOPLE GO!” There was no deep theology; No clever dialogue; No eloquent sermon. Just 4 simple words. “Let my people go.”

You see, God doesn’t want you to impress people, or out-argue them, or quote large sections of Scripture. Someone once noted that “Jesus never sought to win an argument. He sought to win the individual.”
People only want to know if Jesus works for you; that He’s made a difference in your life; and all they want to know is that you care for them;
Invitation

Sermon Contributor Jeff Strite

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