Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

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Lafayette, CO 80026
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May 3 – The Competence Of God


“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.’ 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? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.’  But he said, ‘Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.’  Then the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses and He said, ‘Is there not Aaron, your brother, the Levite? I know that he can speak well. Behold, he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart.  You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth, and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth and will teach you both what to do.  He shall speak for you to the people, and he shall be your mouth, and you shall be as God to him.'” Exodus 4:10-16

Devotional Thought For The Day

God certainly makes very strange choices as to who will speak His Word and do His business on the earth.  Moses had a life filled with contradictions, consternation, strength, weakness, devotion to God, and wickedness.  You remember that he was raised by Pharaoh’s daughter, brought up and educated as an Egyptian prince, an elite of the country, privileged and pampered. Yet he remained devoted to his genetic heritage, to the faith of the Hebrew people; so much so that he stooped to murder an Egyptian taskmaster who was beating a Hebrew. Then he fled Egypt, and deserted his people, and took up with the Midianites out in the wilderness.

God however had more for him to do than merely live out his days in obscurity. Moses didn’t feel up to the task God had called him to perform, and made numerous excuses, even arguing with God to send someone else. It is a strange reality that many of those whom God calls to do his bidding seem quite ill-suited, and are quite reluctant.  The same was true with Jeremiah, Jonah, David, and many of the judges. Those truly called to speak for God always feel insufficient for the task, unworthy, unqualified, inept, and the wrong person for the task. But God has a habit of having His way in these matters.

Regardless of Moses’ sense of incompetence, God elevates him and makes him “as God” to Aaron and to Pharaoh. This is rather astonishing.  He was not imbued with Divine characteristics – the whole account of the Exodus demonstrates his ongoing weaknesses, sinfulness, foibles, and spiritual frailty, and his death. Likewise, Moses often demonstrated innate incompetence for his tasks. Rather, it was the office that he occupied, that God called him to.  It was not personal, but professional or “vocational,” we might say. Again, God does rather strange things and makes rather strange choices when it comes to the speaking of His Word.

So, what was it that made Moses special, that made such a tremendous difference? Principally that he maintained faith in God all those years, faith in God’s gracious mercy, forgiveness, and eternal love – even for a murderer, even for a fallen elitist, even for a depressed and demoralized underachiever, even for someone who had given up the cause of his people. Those who judge by merit cannot understand this – and often object vehemently to God’s choices. Indeed, some consider God to be wicked, foolish, and absurd in His choices and plans, and invent their own religion. Others reject God’s servants thinking that they can do better, that they are better.  But these do not have faith in God’s grace and mercy, they are not like Moses, David, Peter, and Paul; rather they have faith in their own competence and “righteousness.” In this, they reject God and are utterly unfit to serve His purposes.

Among those who serve God today the dynamics are much the same – we are utterly unfit for the calling we have received, except that we have undying faith in one thing, the gracious mercy, forgiveness, and love of God in Christ Jesus. Though we are incompetent, God makes us fit and competent to do His bidding. Others will always consider us inferior, and will exalt their “moral” and “spiritual” superiority over us – not understanding the ridiculous hypocrisy and unbelief this represents. We may be unwilling but God will have His way with us; strangely, very strangely, He has called us, and so we serve.

Prayer For The Day

Dear Lord Jesus, preserve Your servants from presumption and haughtiness, and keep us from the despair often heaped upon us by others. Grant us firm faith and trust in Your gracious mercy and forgiveness, and trusting not ourselves but You. Keep us mindful that our competence is never in ourselves, but always in You alone. Amen.