Exodus 4:10-12

Moses is showing himself to be a master of excuses. Today’s question is, “Have you listened to me?”

His concerns about his speaking abilities are not unique. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 5-10 percent of Americans have communication disorders. Many scholars believe Moses may have had a speech impediment that caused him to stutter.

However, not every communication issue is a physical one. Our minds think faster than someone else can speak. We often interrupt and formulate answers rather than listen. Even then, the snappy comeback you wish you had said only comes to you later. Yiddish has a word for this: trepverter, which means “words that arrived too late.”

Other moments when words elude us include those times when someone needs a word of affirmation or care, but I have none. Or what about times when I should stand up and speak on behalf of others whose voices are not heard? Unable to make a powerful speech or the perfect argument, I decide to remain silent instead.

Finally, and all too frequently, there are those times when I do choose to speak. I fill space with words instead of being silent and using that time to listen. I rely on cliché statements of consolation, causing more pain. When the humorist Grady Nutt died unexpectedly, his wife Eleanor shared that her pastor’s pounding his fist on an armchair and repeating “I don’t understand” was what she really needed.

God doesn’t require our eloquence. Just our trust, and a willingness to listen.


What people or situations are you thinking of now? What do you need to say?


Today, O God, give me the wisdom to listen, the courage to speak the words I need to say, and the love to speak from my heart. Amen.

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