Leadership and Vulnerability, Part 2

Moses and I have an interesting relationship.

I’ve connected a lot with him over the years. Especially with the very particular disability we both share– our speech.

The one thing I hate to love about Moses is that his interaction with God recorded in Exodus 3 and 4 takes away any excuse you and I have that God can’t use us.

Let’s start in Exodus 3. For context, this is the “Burning Bush” story where God appears to Moses and calls him to bring God’s people out of Egypt. 

Moses does notwant to. Just like we don’t feel like God can use us sometimes (or is that just me?) Moses gives God some surface-level excuses in an attempt to hide.

But God keeps pushing in.

First Moses dodges with a simple response. “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:10)

This is a great first attempt. Nothing too scary. Nothing too vulnerable. Just a humble man trying to get out of a big job. How does God respond?

“But I will be with you.” (Exodus 3:12)

Okay so that didn’t work. God 1. Moses 0.

So, Moses pushes back at God.

“If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I tell them?” (Exodus 3:13)

Moses puts the ball squarely back in God’s court by shifting the focus off of himself and onto the notoriously fickle people of Israel.

God: “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I am has sent me to you.’”  (Exodus 3:14)

God 2. Moses 0.

Moses changes tactics again.

 “But behold, they will not believe me or listen to my voice, for they will say. ’The Lord did not appear to you.’” (Exodus 4:1)

This is a last-ditch effort to get the conversation out of dangerous, vulnerable, wound-territory.

Moses: “Okay God. If I go. And that’s only an if. These people won’t believe me. They think I’m a crazed murder who ran off into the desert. There’s no way. I’d have to do some crazy-weird sign for them to even begin to believe me.”

God: “Bet.” (A paraphrase)

God quickly gives Moses two signs that confirm God’s power. God turns Moses’ staff into a snake and then back into a staff; and he turns Moses’ hand leprous and back again. This shows Moses that God has power both over the external world and over Moses’ own body.

God 3. Moses 0.

Then God presses into Moses’ most painful insecurity: “If they will not believe even these two signs or listen to your voice…” (Exodus 4:8)

There it is. God knows and He calls Moses on it.

We read Moses’ response last week in Part One, but I want to show it to you again, now that you have the context.

“But 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)

I do NOT envy Moses in this moment.

God is about to answer Moses. And at a quick reading it can seem like God is being cruel to Moses— at least that’s how it felt to me. 

But this isn’t God being cruel. This is God being unbelievably kind.

“Then the Lord said to him, ‘Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?” (Exodus 4:11)

There is so much here that we can get into. I want to draw out one specific thing: what God doesn’t say. God doesn’t placate Moses. He doesn’t try to talk him down. He doesn’t try to reason with Him. He tells him about Himself.

In fact, that’s what God has been doing the whole time. Let’s run through God’s responses to Moses again:

“But I will be with you.”

“Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I am has sent me to you.’

‘Who has made man’s mouth?”

Who is the subject of all of these statements? God. Not Moses. 

What else does God not say? He doesn’t try to make Moses feel better. God doesn’t try to convince Moses that his issue isn’t a big deal. God doesn’t promise Moses he will still be a powerful leader in spite of his issue (even though that is the end of the story).

God honors how Moses feels. He honors how terrified this is making Moses. But he doesn’t let him get out of it. He holds Moses to his calling.

God is pursuing Moses into the most broken aspects of himself. God is loving Moses enough to push into the pain until Moses is honest with the Father about why he is so scared.

And that’s good news. Because God is doing the same thing today. He is still pursing us into our brokenness. He is still, in His love, pushing us into our pain and giving us the opportunity to be honest about what He already knows.

Let me say that again: God already knows.

But He’s waiting for you to talk with him.

And He will tell you: “Remember who created you? Remember who formed you in your mother’s womb? Who formed our mouth, your ears, your eyes? Wasn’t it me? Haven’t I been with you from the beginning? You have faults– child I know. And I am so, so sorry. But look up. Remember who I am. It’s not about your brokenness. It’s about my all-sufficient Grace in your brokenness. It’s not about you. It’s about Me in you.”

That’s what I need to hear at least.

So, what is it for you? What is your stutter? Is it fear? Anxiety? A broken family? Sexual addiction? Self-harm?

Does God care about those things? Yes.

Should we care about those things? Yes.

But child, remember who your Father is. Remember who you arebecause of that identity.

We are called to bring ourselves. All of ourselves. Into our leadership. We are to leave nothing out. We are to bring the talents and the addictions. The applause and the tears. The successes and the failures. The forgiveness and the sin. We are called to surrender it to the Father and trust in the heart and character of a Good Father, that He will work inour brokenness— not simply through it.

What does this mean for you?

Get quiet. Get alone. Get low. Sit in silence until all of your other excuses have been used up and you can get to that one thing that you’re hiding from. Then look at it. Look at it right in the face and see it. See yourself. See the ugliness and the brokenness. Then mourn it. Grieve it. Lament the brokenness of yourself and the brokenness of this world. Feel the weight of it in your soul.

Then look at your Father. Invite him into to it. Be brave enough to truly see yourself and understand that you cannot do this alone

Then ask Him to use the thing. Use your most vulnerable brokenness for His Glory and His name. 

Then watch Him blown your mind.

Benjamin Lawrence Walker is a junior business management major from Snellville, Georgia. Ben loves photography, single origin ethically sourced fresh ground pour over coffee and the Sabbath. He is very passionate about high quality pomades and only uses one specific brand. He understands this makes him “bougie” and accepts this label with enthusiasm. Ben serves with Common Worship and hopes to pursue a career in nonprofit ministry after college.

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