Keona Tann | @ICFWriters
Cross posted at https://australasianchristianwriters.blogspot.com/
I remember when I was first asked to give a talk about tithes and offerings at church, I REALLY didn’t want to do it. At the mere thought of public speaking I broke out in a nervous sweat and my mouth completely dried up. I initially said ‘no’, but I was asked to pray about it. A few days later I was vacuuming at church and as I prayed about it God directed me to read the story of Moses and the burning bush, found in Exodus 3.
Moses was out looking after his father-in-law’s sheep in the wilderness and came to Horeb (also known as Sinai), the mountain of God. “There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.” When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.” (Verses 2 - 4 NIV).
God asks Moses to take off his sandals for the place he’s standing on is holy ground. God then confirms who Moses is speaking to: “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.” (Verse 6)
God continues speaking and declares that He has seen the misery of His people in Egypt and heard them crying out in their suffering. God declares that He wants to bring them out of Egypt and take them into the promise land – a land that is good, spacious, and a place where milk and honey flows freely. Then God unfolds the plan and informs Moses that he is being sent to tell Pharaoh to let God’s people go free. But Moses starts a debate with God:
Moses: “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (v11)
God: “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.” (v12)
Moses: “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” (v13)
God: “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” (v14)
The conversation continues with God detailing instruction after instruction. Then we come to the part that I felt God was saying was for me to really listen to:
“But Moses pleaded with the Lord, “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.” Then the Lord asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.”” Exodus 4:10-12 NLT
As I read through that story I felt God say 3 very distinct things:
• Speak when asked - God has given me a mouth so I need to speak what He tells me to say.
• Trust Him to give me the message - He promised to give me the words.
• Speak His message with courage - I needed to step out in faith and speak.
As you can imagine it wasn’t the answer I was hoping for. I hoped God would see my inability and say: ‘don’t worry I know you’re unqualified so just let them know you can’t give the offering talk’. But He doesn’t think that and He doesn’t say that to us. Instead God declares that where we are weak He is strong (2 Corinthians 12:9-11).
As look to 2018 I believe that I will have opportunities to speak, I’m not sure exactly what I’ll be speaking about, but I do know that I’ll need to go back to the 3 points God gave me over a decade ago:
• Speak when asked
• Trust God to give me the message
• Speak His message with courage
I pray that today you will be encouraged to speak when asked. I believe that each person is given a testimony that needs to be shared to encourage and build up the people around them.
If not you, then who?
If not now, then when?
You’ve been given a message to share, your audience may be small or large, whatever the size be bold. Take a courageous step forward in faith. I hope that when the opportunity presents itself, whatever format it is, that you will trust God to give you the message and the courage to speak it boldly!
Many blessings, Keona