Faith Friday – Made or Allowed?

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 4:11-12

I have been thinking a lot lately about the difference between what is in God’s plan and what God allows. Does God determine who will have to deal with the pain and complications of having chronic illness or is it something he just allows?

The verse above is from the story of Moses. God told Moses to go to Pharaoh and ask him to allow the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. Moses argued with God about his decision, because Moses struggled with his speech (likely a stutter). How was he supposed to speak to someone so powerful for something so important?

Here’s the other part of the story. Moses grew up in the same household as the Pharaoh. Was he prepared his whole life for the task for which he would be needed?

But if God knew what purpose Moses was created for, then why did he also give him something that would make him so unsure to speak?


  • There is a Midrash regarding Moses’ speech. The old Pharaoh had received a prophecy that the infant Moses would usurp his throne. To test him, a plate of jewels and a plate of burning coals were placed before the infant Moses. If he were to have reached for the gold and jewels, then the prophecy would have been considered true; however, Moses reached for the hot coals — something a “true” prince (or would-be usurper) would not have done — and, having burned his fingers, put them to his mouth to cool them off. In the process he burned a portion of his tongue, making him slow of speech.

    That said, one who is slow to pronounce words is less likely to speak in anger or haste (you will note that Moses showed anger by smiting things instead!), and one who is quick of tongue is often considered to be untrustworthy (consider the connotations of “having the Blarney”).

    An alternate interpretation might be that personal trials create personal strength. This is a key component of many hero tales and, to a lesser degree, some fairy tales. Moses was not the first of the great Biblical characters to deal with an affliction; we’ve seen Noah drunk (Gen. IX:18-27) , Jacob injured and made lame from wrestling with an angel (Gen XXXII:23-33), and Isaac blind in his old age (Gen XXVII:1-ff).

    When we understand that the word “angel” means “messenger” and that the Holy One, Blessed be He, works not in supernatural ways but in natural ones, and we understand that we are not only created in His image, but we have (through Adam and Eve’s consumption of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge) become gods ourselves, we must accept that we are the “angels” sent to do G-d’s work. The trials we are given teach us and temper us to be better teachers, better guides, better guardians, and better stewards. We are not given pain as punishment, but as tempering, to forge stronger, more elastic souls better capable of handling the particular tasks He sets before us.

  • you are asking some very difficult questions, my friend. i do not have the answers. but i do know that God is God and i am not.

    have you ever read psalm 31? it really helped me a lot when my friend died. i read it over and over.

    love you!

  • I think God asks the weak to show strength, the “slow of speech” to speak His truth and the “less than smart” to confound the wise. When the task is complete, there is no way you would give credit to the servant, rather, you know it was God who performed His handiwork.
    As you can imagine, I’ve asked these same questions this past year. My answer is that we live in a world that is full of sin, hatred, disease and war. Sometimes, we’re gonna get a little bit of the world splashed on us. I’ve also learned that when the world DOES get splashed on us, He will ALWAYS find a way to use that situation to strengthen us and those around us as well as show His Glory and His character.
    Praying for you my friend. . peace, comfort and understanding.
    Love ya! Babs

  • I believe that God has a plan for each of us so my feeling is that He determines what happens to us, not just allows it. I think that he puts the people in our paths that will help us along the way. Maybe since Moses had difficulty speaking, he was more likely to choose his words carefully. People around would listen when he did talk because they knew he was not one to rattle on.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: