Moses’ Faltering Lips

Yael Eckstein  |  December 28, 2021

Pharaoh Cobra Headdress | Be a Staff, Not a Snake, Exodus 7:9
Engraving by Gustave Dore (1832 – 1883)

But Moses said to the LORD, “Since I speak with faltering lips, why would Pharaoh listen to me?” — Exodus 6:30

Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is Va’era, which means “and I appeared,” from Exodus 6:2–9:35.

I was only 23 years old and had never done any real public speaking in my life when my father, Fellowship Founder Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, of blessed memory, suggested that I address a group of Christians who were visiting Israel. I didn’t think that I could do it. But my father said that he believed in me and insisted that I give it a try.

I was so nervous. I kept worrying about what I would say and what the audience would think of me. I told my husband how nervous and insecure I felt, and how, at the same time, I really wanted to do it. He calmed me down by reminding me that the only opinion that counts is God’s. He reminded me that God wants me to succeed in the important work that He has planned for me. He told me to trust God.

I took these words to heart and when I sat down to figure out what I would speak about, I prayed the words of Psalm 51:15: “Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise.”

I prayed that I would say the words that God wanted me to say and that my words would bring glory to His name.

Moses’ Faltering Lips

This memory came back to me when I was reading this week’s Torah portion. God told Moses to go to Pharaoh and demand that he set the children of Israel free. Moses had already experienced the rejection of his message when God had sent him to the children of Israel to tell them of God’s plan to redeem them. In Moses’ mind he had failed to represent God effectively because of the inability to speak, what Moses called his “faltering lips.”

Moses, of course, became the greatest spokesman for God in the Bible. It was he who was chosen to speak to the children of Israel on God’s behalf for the next forty years. Just as God told Moses, “I will help you speak and will teach you what to say” (Exodus 4:12), we must trust God when we share His Word with others.

Your Turn:

Don’t be afraid to share the Word of God. Trust that He will be with you.

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