The Doubts and Fears of Moses

But Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor even now that you have spoken to your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” Exodus 4:10

Dear members and friends,

Moses is my favorite figure in the Bible, not because of his greatness, but because of his weakness. Many stories that we read and movies that we watch emphasize the greatness of Moses and his faithfulness. But I believe it is important to know and understand who Moses really was, especially at the moment of his calling from God. In Exodus 3, we read the amazing story of the burning bush where Moses encounters the Divine claiming to be “I AM WHO I AM.” Moses was not only called by God, but also commissioned by God for a great purpose: he would go back to Egypt and confront the Pharaoh to liberate his people, the Hebrews, from slavery. One might expect Moses to respond to such a noble calling as Isaiah had by answering, “Yes, Lord, here I am.” However, when you continue to read the rest of the story, you might be surprised to find that Moses had doubts regarding the Divine judgment as well as his own ability to fulfill the great task! 

Living for a greater purpose could be an honorable way of living. However, in truth living for a higher calling requires almost a complete renouncement of a normal way of life which includes many small pleasures and joys. To a degree, one must give up everything that one cherishes in order to live for a greater purpose. Moses had been living in Midian for about forty years with a wife and children. Also, presumably Moses was about eighty years old when he was called by God at the burning bush. Indeed, it was not a good time for him to undertake such a big task! By accepting the call and the divine commission, Moses would have to give up his comfortable life in Midian and risk his own life and the lives of his family. Moses may have been deeply conflicted; he was honored to be called by the God of his ancestors, but at the same time he was troubled because God’s calling required him to give up his normal life and accept great risk. The calling and vision given by God was clear, but his heart was not willing at all. What amazes me is that at this very critical moment, Moses chose to be honest about his unwillingness and uncertainty before God! For this reason, Moses is my favorite figure in the Bible. 

One practical lesson that I would like to lift up from this story of Moses is that of being truthful about our feelings. Often in life, if we were just to be honest about our true feelings and address them right away, it could solve many relationship problems easily and quickly! 

Blessings, Rev. Junchol Lee