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19th February: Biblical Case Histories: Moses Aphasia

Moses said to the Lord, `I am slow of speech and tongue'. Exodus 4:10 (NIV)

A debilitating condition, which any one of us is liable to develop from time to time, is Moses aphasia. This was the affliction which Moses produced when God told him: `I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt'.

Moses was obviously scared stiff. The phobia was on him -- Pharaoh-phobia. He tried delaying tactics -- questions, questions, questions. God had all the answers.

Then the unhappy man had what he must have thought was a brilliant idea. He played his trump card:

Moses said to the Lord, `O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue'.

Then came the Lord`s reply, and Moses must have wished that his alleged aphasia (we may call it that) had been complete and that he had not said what he had said. He had really put his foot in his mouth.

The Lord said to him, `Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or dumb? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now g; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say'.

But Moses said (he must have had Pharaoh-phobia badly), `O Lord, please send someone else to do it'.

Then the Lord's anger burned against Moses and he said, `What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well...You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do'.

The defences were now down for Moses. His aphasia was swept aside. His Pharaoh-phobia was swallowed up in a new confidence in a God infinitely greater than Pharaoh. Moses went out to become one of the greatest leaders in history.

If we are suddenly smitten with Moses aphasia in some challenging situation, it is as well to remember what our Lord said to his disciples when they were faced with the prospect of very daunting threats (Lk 12:12): `the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say'.

Blessed Spirit of God, teach my kind, tough my heart and
loosen my tongue, that I may speak the truth faithfully
and in love.

Further reading: Ex 3 & 4.

RRW

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