Exodus 4:11


A little while ago we looked at a sincere lady in the Bible who mistakenly believed that God gives us things like death and poverty. As I explained in that post, God does not give us bad gifts. Not ever. But what about Exodus 4:11? This time it’s not a misguided person speaking, but the Lord himself:

“Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD?” (Ex 4:11, NIV)

This time we can’t use the excuse, “the speaker didn’t know Jesus,” or “this is what God looks like from a distance,” because it is God himself who is doing the talking.

Neither is this an obscure scripture recorded by some prophet whose name no one can remember. These words were spoken to Moses by the Lord out of the burning bush. It’s one of the most famous dialogues in the whole Bible!

But does God really make people deaf, mute and blind? And if he doesn’t, how are we to account for this Scripture which seems to say that he does? Surely God is good and his word is true. Thankfully we don’t have to choose. God is very good and the Bible is accurate.

Here I will outline four reasons proving that God doesn’t make people deaf, mute and blind. Working from this foundation, I will then give you an interpretation for this “problem” scripture that is consistent with God’s character. As we will see, instead of setting limits to God’s goodness, this Scripture massively affirms that God is good and that he loves us.

God does not give people physical handicaps

1. Whenever we have any confusion about what God might or might not do, we should look to Jesus. Jesus is the “perfect imprint and very image of God’s nature” (Heb 1:3, AMP). Can you imagine Jesus going around and making people deaf, mute or blind? No. In fact, Jesus did the exact opposite:

“Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them.” (Mt 15:30)

“People were overwhelmed with amazement. ‘He has done everything well,’ they said. ‘He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.’” (Mk 7:37)

Jesus did not make healthy people sick; he made sick people well. And Jesus is just like his Father (Jn 14:9).

2. If God is not making people deaf, mute or blind, who is? Physical ailments are a part of the death-dealing curse we inherited from Adam. God made man glorious, good and immortal, but man rebelled and chose the way of death. Sickness in any form is part of the corruption that we chose, not the life God gave us (Gen 3:19).

Physical handicaps can also be demonic in origin:

“When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evil spirit. ‘You deaf and mute spirit,’ he said, ‘I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.’ (Mk 9:25)

Physical illness and handicaps also arise from guilt and self-condemnation.

“My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear. My wounds fester and are loathsome because of my sinful folly… My back is filled with searing pain; there is no health in my body… I am like a deaf man, who cannot hear, like a mute, who cannot open his mouth.” (Ps 38:4-13)

Some people are born disabled. Others become disabled as a result of accidents, injuries and sickness. Wicked people were blinded by Elisha (2 Kgs 6:18), Paul (Acts 13:10) and angels (Gen 19:11). But these were relatively rare instances of godly men and angels prevailing over evil (see Is 54:17). An angel rendered Zechariah mute for a time (Lk 1:20) and Saul was temporarily blinded by a light from heaven (Acts 9:9). But no one has ever been crippled by God.

3. In the passage above, God is speaking to Moses. If God was in the business of afflicting healthy people with physical disabilities and imperfections, surely Moses would not have later said this about God’s character:

“He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.” (Deu 32:4)

Even without knowing Jesus, even living under the Old Covenant, Moses knew that God is the author of perfection, not imperfection. God is good and everything he does is good. He is light and in him there is no darkness at all (1 Jn 1:5).

4. Here’s a simple question: Is there deafness, muteness, or blindness in heaven? Of course not. If God does not permit these things in heaven, why would we think they are his will here on earth? Isaiah prophesied that one sign of the kingdom of heaven coming to earth would be the end of physical handicaps:

“In that day the deaf will hear the words of the scroll, and out of gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see.” (Isa 29:18)

God is not an under-cover agent. He doesn’t operate one way in one place and another way in the other. He is the unchanging Rock. His will on heaven is the same as his will for earth. Moses knew it, the prophets declared it, and Jesus showed it.

What did God really say in the burning bush?

The Scripture I quoted at the top of this post comes from the New International Version of the Bible. Let’s take a look at the same scripture as translated in the New King James Version:

“So the LORD said to him, ‘Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the LORD?’” (Ex 4:11, NKJV)

Did you spot the difference? One version says “the Lord makes him deaf or mute,” while the other version says “the Lord makes the deaf and the mute.” Big difference! God does not make people deaf or mute, but he does make all people – including those who, for whatever reason, happen to be deaf or mute.

If you have grown up with a physical handicap or deformity, you may think that you are a mistake. Perhaps society has told you that you are an imperfection or a drain on its resources. But you are not! God’s message to you today is, “I made you! You are mine and I am with you!” God is not surprised by your weaknesses. He knows you inside and out. He knit you together inside your mother’s womb. God made you and everything God makes is good.

God’s abilities are greater than your disabilities

Moses considered himself a handicapped person. He complained to God, “I am slow of speech and tongue” (Ex 4:10). Evidently he had some kind of speech impediment. Perhaps he stuttered. Whatever it was, his impediment caused this prince of Egypt do draw back from speaking in public. Look at God’s response to Moses’ complaint:

“I made mouths and I made yours! Go, I will help you speak.” (Ex 4:11-12, my paraphrase)

There is a double revelation for us here. God is both our Maker and our Helper. You are not a cosmic accident and you are not helpless. You are God’s handiwork and he is with you!

Moses was slow to get it, but eventually he learned to rely on God’s goodness in his hour of need. After years of trusting in God’s help, Moses declared to the whole assembly of Israel:

“He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he… Is he not your Father, your Creator, who made you and formed you?” (Deu 32:4,6)

God doesn’t make people deaf and mute, but he did make you. In whatever state you find yourself in, know that he is your Father and Creator with abundant grace to help you and heal you.

73 Comments on Exodus 4:11

  1. My thanks to Andre van der Merwe for circulating Exodus 4:11 to a group of grace-friends and asking us for our take on it. Thanks also to Cornel Marais for suggesting Is 54:17 in connection with Paul’s blinding of Elymas. And thanks to everyone who has provided feedback on the E2R site on “Gracebook” (ie: Facebook, for the uninitiated). I am really enjoying the dialogue!

  2. Moses might have had a speech problem before he met God, but that is not his legacy.

    Acts 7:22 And Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was mighty in his words and deeds.

    Moses is recorded in Acts to have been mighty in words. Whatever your ‘weakness’ might be, Jesus is the solution. When you are weak, then He is strong. He doesn’t make you weak only to make it look like He is stronger, He shows Himself strong by overcoming your weakness. If there exists disability or lack, no matter what the cause, deliverance and abundance is to be proclaimed and enforced.

    Awesome article Paul!

  3. Paul…Great explanation of a difficult portion of scripture. Your blog has been a catalyst for me loving God even more than I already do! I’m so glad we serve a Good God who gives good things to his children.

  4. Hi Paul, interesting explanation. I wonder what you think of Acts 13 “9Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, 10″You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? 11Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind, and for a time you will be unable to see the light of the sun.” Who made the man blind? Looks to me the HS is dishing out some judgement on an unbeliever. The works of the HS. Here’s one from left field. Who made Paul blind on the Damascus road? Me thinks God’s glory. Remember he needed to be healed of this blindness. Any thoughts/explanations? Be interested to hear

    • Re: Elymas. My friend Cornel Marais has an interesting interpretation for this along with Ananias and Sapphira’s death. The short version is that our words hold the power of life and death. Peter heard Jesus curse the fig tree and saw the fig tree wither and die. This same Peter tried to kill in Jesus’ name when he swung his sword at a guard’s head. Combine Peter’s passion for Jesus with his powerful words and maybe, just maybe, his words were the reason A&S dropped dead. Like the fig tree, they weren’t bearing fruit. Peter rebuked them and they died. On Cyprus, Elymas opposed Paul. This is serious stuff. If Elymas prevails, people are going to go to hell for lack of hearing the gospel. But Is 54:17 says that our heritage, as servants of the Lord, is that we shall condemn every tongue that rises against us. So right there you know that Paul’s words have more power than the words of Elymas. It’s no contest because God is on our side. So Paul speaks and Elymas is emphatically silenced. It is an amazing vindication of Paul and his message. I’ve heard that Smith Wigglesworth did similar things to people who heckled him when he preached.

      BTW, if you want an example of an unbeliever running smack into a painful judgment because of their sin, take a look at Herod (Acts 12:23). The grace of God that spares wicked men from the consequences of their sin does not last forever.

      Re: Saul/Paul on the Road to Damascus. Acts 9:3 suggests it was a heavenly light that blinded Saul, but I have no problem if you interpret that as God’s glory. If so, then the glory may have spared Saul from death for it hindered him from seeing God’s face. Isn’t it interesting that both Saul and Elymas were opposed to Christ and both were blinded for a few days? Sometimes God has to knock us off our high horse to get us to pay attention. But there is a big difference between God stopping a hell-bound sinner in his tracks in order to save a life and permanently handicapping someone (which is how some interpret Ex 4:11). On the Damascene Road, Saul had a life-changing encounter with God’s power. If he had been momentarily dazzled, he might have shaken off the incident as nothing more than an emotional experience. But he had three days of being led by the hand for the lesson to sink in. He learned well that Jesus is more than able to turn a sinner around. For the rest of his life Paul would preach and demonstrate the power of God.

  5. Hi Paul, I do not understand the second to final part of your post”What did God really say in the burning bush?” .. What do you say is the difference betwen God making people deaf & mute; to God making deaf & mute people? I understood what you said about God’s perfect representation being Jesus, and Jesus did not go around making people sick on earth. I also understood your saying that God’s will in Heaven is the same as His will on earth, so sickness is not his will on earth. Thus, basically you are saying he does not make healthy people sick, but he DOES make people with sickness/disability from when they were born?

    I would love to hear from you. Thanks so much…

    • If he DOES make people with disability from when they were born, because the Bible says, “I knit you from your mother’s womb”. Why would God, the potter, who is perfect make something that is not perfect, e.g. a genetic disorder, chromosomal imperfection (e.g. Down syndrome)? Adam’s chromosomes are XY, why would he make children with a third chromosome or lack a chromosome? Medical sources say Down syndrome or other certain genetic syndromes are 100% due to chance, there is absolutely no relation to mother or father having a defective gene. It just happens randomly to healthy parents (some cases are related to mothers being old, older mothers having higher risk of babies with genetic disability; however young and perfectly healthy parents also have such babies). As Christians, we do not believe things randomly happen. There is God’s plan and will for everything…

      Would you understand what I am trying to say……?

      • Hi, I just read your “About” page and was surprised to find out you live in Akl. You mean New Zealand AKl right? I live in Auckland too. How cool!

        Anyway, I would love to hear back from you regarding the above.

        Also, in the same line, in Job’s story (job 2:5,6), the devil said Job would curse God if God struck his flesh. God replies ‘go ahead, he is in your (devil’s) hands, but save his life.’ Doesn’t this mean God allowed the devil to give Job sickness? ‘God allowed’ mean ultimately it was in His will.

      • Hi Annie, thanks for your comment. What I believe God is saying in Ex 4:11 is that God makes all people, including those who are presently battling afflictions and living with handicaps. I am not saying that God afflicts people with handicaps or birth defects. Jesus never gave anyone a disease or handicap – He healed them. And Jesus is just like His Father.

        We live in a messed up world. Creation is suffering the effects of Adam’s sin and this means that bad things happen to good people. If medical sources saying Down syndrome is a random event, then I say science has a big knowledge gap to fill. Most effects have causes. Maybe in 50 years we’ll realize it was the chemicals in the air fresheners or the fluoride in the water. I don’t know what causes half the things in the world, but I’m not about to start saying God is the author of evil.

        Even though we live in a messed up world, God is ultimately in control. There is absolutely no way of denying that God is on the throne and that nothing happens without His full knowledge and His implicit permission. I like how Steve McVey puts it: “Does God allow evil? Of course, He does! How else would it happen?” Did God allow the devil to afflict Job? He did. Does this mean it was God’s will to afflict Job? Hmm. I would’ve said it was the devil’s will, not God’s. I don’t believe God was looking for a patsy to do His dirty work. Neither do I believe, as someone said on FB, that the devil is God’s sheep dog. The devil is a destroyer and it’s in his nature to harm and kill and cripple and afflict. This is not God’s nature at all.

        Can God prevent evil? Of course. So why doesn’t He? I don’t know. Why didn’t God stop the Holocaust? I don’t know. Why didn’t God stop that drunk driver who killed my grandmother’s sister? I don’t know. I may never know. But this is all beside the present point, which is this: If you are sick, handicapped or suffering, you can know with 100% certainty that God wants to heal you right now. You do not need to doubt this. It is His express intention. Or else why did He send Jesus?

  6. Hi Paul, Thanks for your reply. This idea is really interesting and new to me, because I’ve always thought and heard preachings on how God could allow sicknesses in your life, but ultimately it is for your good and He works all things for good in the end. Recently, I heard Pas. Bill Johnson say in his healing cd that it is wrong to say “God allowed sickness in my life.” because that is not true. Did you hear of that and do you agree with him?

    I think God allows pain and suffering in one’s life, e.g. Joseph getting sold by his brothers, going to jail for no reason… However, are you saying this is not His will, it is a result of human corruption and sinfulness, am I on the right track with you? Illness, pain, and suffering are all not His will?

    And about your last comment, “God wants to heal you right now” I don’t understand.. like what you said about your grandmother’s sister, He wants to heal, but for some, he doesn’t heal. The whole church congregation had been praying months for one of their church member’s cancer. She herself believed God would heal, but he didn’t in the end. So, how are you to hold onto the message “God wants to heal you right now.”…? He may let your illness stay there, but what he may want more is your spiritual health e.g. how close you are with God and how much you know Him personally, rather than your physical health…

    Hope you had a blessed Sunday~!

    • I hope it’s clear from what I write that God NEVER gives us sickness to teach us things. What kind of father would inject his children with disease or run over their legs to teach them stuff? That’s not how God operates. Jesus came to reveal our good Father, not a child abuser.

      Remember, if in doubt about these things – just look to Jesus. Jesus took leprosy off people, he didn’t give it to people. If God the Father wanted people sick but God the Son wanted people healed, they would be a house divided.

      When Jesus healed the sick He was also giving us a prophetic picture of what he was going to accomplish through His death: “Surely he took our infirmities (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses)…” Surely means surely. He did it. All He asks is that we believe it and enforce it in our situations.

      You mentioned the church member who died of cancer. My father died of cancer as a young man. God allows these things to happen but that doesn’t mean they are his will. You quoted Bill Johnson. BJ has also said that Jesus raising people from the dead shows that “not everyone dies in God’s timing.” What is God’s timing for healing? I’ll give you a clue – it’s the same as his timing for salvation. Right now. Today. My friend Cornel Marais has written more about this here. I hope this helps.

  7. First of all let me Just say I did like the perspective of this article. But lets get something clear, if God is in control of everything then he is responsible for it all!! If He has the ability to respond, then it’s His Responsibly either way; But if he gave us that responsibility then it’s our choice, God has given us all things that pertain to life and GODLINESS. So we have been given the ability to respond towards the work of the enemy.

    • Your conclusion follows logically from your premise, but your premise is unBiblical. Or rather, it is unformed by the New Testament. The ancients attributed everything that happened to God or Fate and that mentality is certainly evident in books like Job. If you had talked to Job about Satan, Job would’ve said “Who?” Jesus came to reveal the Father and part of that ministry meant distinguishing the Father from the “father of lies.” Jesus came to give life; the thief comes to steal and destroy, said Jesus. If you are being robbed or destroyed, that’s not God having an off day. That is the work of another. The apostles understood this which is why they wrote about the powers of darkness and said things like “We know that … the whole world is under the control of the evil one” (1Jn 5:19). So although it is popular to say God is in control of everything, this is not what Jesus and the apostles claimed. It is, in fact, a spectacular abdication of personal responsibility by mankind.

      • “… the whole world is under the control of the evil one”. refers to those yet and perhaps never to be unredeemed by the blood of Christ, but not those who love The One True God, those who have received The Holy Spirit. We are under God’s Sovereign protection unto eternity in heaven no matter what happens here, which is why martyrs willingly die and sick and hurting true believers still praise the Lord. “In all things gives thanks”. “Glory in your tribulations…” “The outer man is perishing but the inner man is being renewed…”. Faith requires testing to prove it’s reality. Our trials bring dependence on God and is where “the rubber meets the road”, so to speak, when we say we have “faith and trust in God”. In addition, there is no testimony without a test.

      • The context of1jn 5:19 concerns God’s protection on born again believers from chronic sin. “the whole world….” is referring to the whole world of unbelievers. Believing saints are free from the bondage of sin and do not “,,,,lie in the power of the evil one”. I don’t see this portion of scripture in context as having anything to do with physical healing,etc. We need to rest assured that we are in the mighty hands of our Sovereign Lord in spite of ….whatever.

  8. on fire for the word // September 14, 2012 at 11:35 pm // Reply

    still confused how you are gettng that interpertation that God did not cause a person to be handicapped

    • Confusion is inevitable if you read the written word without reading it through the lens of the Living Word. How many people did Jesus inflict with sickness? None. How many able-bodied people did Jesus handicap? None. How many sighted people did Jesus blind? None. In fact, Jesus did the very opposite. How many sick and disabled people came to Jesus and were healed? All of them. Jesus is the exact representation of his Father’s being. If Jesus was healing people his Father had made ill, they are a house divided. Jesus clearly says he came to give life and he distinguished himself from the thief who robs and destroys. I understand that plenty of people are saying God did this evil thing and that bad thing. So you will have to choose whom you will listen to. Choose Jesus and the confusion ends.

      • Hi Paul, I respect your views and am glad we can agree that we have an all loving God but your error is that you are afraid to believe God is truly in control of all aspects of our lives and he purposes all things to glorify his name. By denying the fact that God gift’s people with certain ailments and handicaps is not Biblical. I think of the angel that wrestled with Jacob (Genesis 32:25). The angel dislocated Jacobs hip which caused him to limp for the rest of his days giving Jacob a permanent reminder of his encounter with God. Jacobs life long policy was to run. His final Glory is that he learned to lean (Hebrews 11:21). There is a difference in causing something to happen and allowing it to happen, but when god allows something to happen that he could have prevented you must accept that as the sovereign will of God. We can not deny that God blesses us with all kind’s of trial’s of pain to strengthen us and those around us, ultimately bringing glory to his name. Yes, satan does make people sick because unfortunately a lot of humanity is living under the influence of this world and its evil ways, but those of us who willingly choose to abide by God can not and will not believe satan has the power to make us sick whenever HE chooses. In whatever condition I am in I will accept it as God’s sovereign power (not satan’s) and continue to praise him through the storm, knowing I will come out stronger.

        A wound is a good thing if it is accepted as a stewardship from God, appropriated as a channel of God’s strength and consecrated to God’s purpose. Where dependence is the objective dependence is the advantage.

        We can’t assume all sickness is evil only because we don’t understand it. God does not owe us an explanation for anything he does in our lives. It was not Jesus mission to come and make us sick. He came to save the world and while he was here he healed people because that’s just what God does. He also showed us that we can do the same.

      • richard elson // July 7, 2018 at 6:01 pm //

        It’s impossible to resist the devil, so that he’ll flee, if you attribute the works of Satan as the works of God.
        “Why do bad things happen to good people?” , the answer, we have an enemy.
        Many believers become complicit with the enemy when they make accusations or statements that the enemy can point to. An example is when David judged the man who stole the sheep from another who only had one sheep. Nathan said, “That man is you”. David was able to retrieve his own life through his unconditional admission of guilt, however the judgement he spoke out was measured against him.
        Jesus said, Be careful when you judge, lest the judgement you use is measured against you”.

        This is an explanation as to why Israel suffered so much. . .they judged the people throughout the promised land, and the same judgements were measured against them and they suffered likewise. Satan uses our own words against us, he is the accuser and one of his aims is to get us to believe that God is angry them.

    • Being handicapped is a result of sin decay. So I ask you this “How can the perfect holy God who cannot sin use the decay from sin as a creative force?”

      • that’s a great question. and one that we often can’t understand until we receive a revelation of the good thing (life) that was birthed from “decay.” a seed grows well in fertilized soil: fertilizer is “decayed” matter… too little is ineffective and too much is toxic – but just the right amount, combined with other essential elements (i.e.: Holy Spirit), causes rigorous growth.
        i have to trust and believe God’s Word when He says: “He makes ALL things work together for good” (and ALL means the good, the bad and the ugly.)
        perhaps the best example is to look at how God used death (the ultimate result of decay) to bring forth new life… Jesus’ death made our resurrection life possible. think about it: Jesus used satan’s own weapon (death) against him – to conquer satan AND to set us free from his kingdom of darkness! halleluiah!

  9. Jesus tells us why God allows people to be born with physical infirmities and disabilities, when He answers the disciples questions about the man born blind in john 9… so that the works of God might be revealed in them! (vs3)
    He chooses the foolish and weak things of the world to shame the wise and the strong. He chooses the despised and lowly things, and the things that are not – to bring to nothing the things that are… (1 cor 1:27-28)

  10. Wow, very interesting discussion. I’d have to say I truly agree with the simplicity of God’s goodness toward us. Little kids play and understand that there is evil and there is good without any complicated doctrine.

    We complicate it. I was talking to my wife last night and we both just shook our heads realizing how many Christians seem to WANT God to be the direct cause of suffering and pain. It truly is bizarre. These same people would never do anything to hurt their sons or daughters but for some reason God’s plans are “beyond our understanding” (which is true) but somehow that includes hurting us on purpose.

    A couple analogies- You want your kids to ride bikes to have fun, be free, get places, so you take off the training wheels. He tells you what you need to do and then helps you get started. You may fall, you may not. God does not intend for you to fall but there is risk, the world has bumps in the pavement and on top of it their are bullies who want to knock you over.

    Coaches and commanders train their athletes and battalions. They prepare them for competition and war. Never do these coaches or commanders purposely inflict pain or harm on their groups of people. Yes, they are ALLOWED to go through rigorous training and trials but only so they will be battle ready.

    What kind of coach and commander would purposely hurt one their own? It makes no sense. We need to get back to the simplicity of God’s goodness. Last analogy-

    Satan attacked God’s character in the garden, bringing into question his goodness. Ever since then we have been trying to make sense of it. The Lord told me once very clearly that he is good ALL THE TIME and that (the context of this) it actually hurt him when we think otherwise.

    God is good, all the time.

  11. Excellent. Excellent. EXCELLENT

  12. God is good. Period.

    • I agree with you Paul, God does not send disease. But from these verses something God has done on the health of these two men to achieve a purpose, don’t you think? Who sent the lightning light? the devil ?, Was it an accident? I understand that it was God.
      And did the angel in Luke act of his own free will or did what God told him to do?

  13. This made me inspire and trust God all the time, Thank YOU!

  14. Rosie Berlanga // December 30, 2014 at 4:42 pm // Reply


  15. Proverbs 16:4: “The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.”
    – That is very plain and obvious that God is Sovereign over “all things.”

    • Not according to 1 John 5:19: “We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.”

      • So then the Scriptures are contradictory?

      • Only if you read them without interpreting all you read through Jesus.

      • The word “world” has different meanings in the Greek and in the first John scripture that you quote, note that “we” are the children of God as opposed to everyone else, that “world” which is under the control of the evil one. A truly born-again believer who has the indwelling Holy Spirit of the living God living inside of him is not under the control of the evil one. “Greater is he that is in me then he that is in the world”.

      • Indeed, but Paula’s comment was about the sovereignty of God. If Satan is in control of the world, as the scriptures say, then God cannot be.

      • But Paul, I think you are missing my point about the different meanings of the word “world”. The whole world that is under control of the evil one is the spirit of the unregenerate world and not the Spirit of God, The Holy Spirit. The “whole world” of the evil one is not the “whole world” of the true believer. This is not our home. Life is a vapor. We are just passing through. Remember what Jesus said “My kingdom is not of ‘this’ world… “. And if we are truly His, we are not part of this world either.

      • I understood your point and I totally agree. I just didn’t see the connection with Paula’s comment.

      • Matthew Pyle // February 17, 2017 at 8:46 am //

        Sorry, replied under the wrong post! Was meant to reply to your comment that says: “If satan is in control of the world, as the Scriptures say, then God cannot be.” My comment was just to say that the Scripture clearly says both 😉 It’s both God and satan. What do you think?

    • Matthew Pyle // February 17, 2017 at 8:39 am // Reply

      Paul Ellis, from what I understand you think it’s an either or type scenario? It’s either the devil or God? From that line of thinking wouldn’t you say it’s either Putin or the devil, or Trump or the devil? Just to make further comparisons in the hierarchy of things. (Politicians used indiscriminately, just that they are in power at the moment)

      But God is sovereign over Trump and Putin and the devil. He rules them all. For He is at the top of the ladder infinitely, and “He does as He pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth.” “The earth is the Lord’s and all it’s fullness, the world and those who dwell therein.” Psalm 24 … “the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes.” Daniel 4:32

      It is hard to wrestle with the Scripture and face it all honestly, letting it speak to us directly from it’s context, but to “whom else should we go, for who else has the words of life.” This is Jesus, Yahweh, your God and my God =)

      • You touch on many issues. For my thoughts on the sovereignty of God, please see this article. Thanks.

      • Matthew Pyle // February 17, 2017 at 9:03 am //

        Thanks for the article =) In light of that, what are your thoughts on “the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes.” Daniel 4:32

      • The NIV throws the word sovereign around like confetti, and the result is the sort of confusion I wrote about in the article “Is God sovereign?” More literal translations say the Most High is ruler and I certainly agree. This could be the OT equivalent of saying he is the King of kings. But it would be a huge mistake to infer from Daniel’s words that God the Father acts in a manner contrary to God the Son. This article is about whether God gives people disabilities, and I stand by my conviction that if Jesus didn’t do it, neither does God.

      • Matthew Pyle // February 17, 2017 at 9:26 am //

        Sorry, should have used a better one like ESV: “…he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?” Daniel 4:35

        That removes the word sovereign and just has “according to His will”.

        Wasn’t meaning to imply anything directly about disabilities from this passage, just to highlight how the Scripture talks about both God and the devil in control of the world. In regards to your comments on 1 John 5:19: “We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.”

        Wondering why you think it has to be an either/or I guess? Either God or the devil? Honestly interested in why =)

      • Matthew, I don’t normally publish comments not relevant to the articles being discussed. The article above pertains to Exodus 4:11 and whether God gives people disabilities. Comments on the sovereignty of God should go under the “Is God sovereign?” article. I’m not trying to fend you off, but this way others who are interested in the sovereignty issue (and who may have signed up to be notified of new comments) will see yours and may join in the conversation. Thanks.

      • Psa 115:16 The heavens belong to the Lord, but the earth he has given to mankind

  16. Then please explain Proverbs 16:4.
    Thank you.

    • Prov 16:4 is the old covenant version of Romans 8:28.

    • Help me understand this Paula:

      Paula quotes a verse to substantiate a view.
      Paul E simply quotes a verse from the new testiment. Nothing more.
      Paula questions whether the bible is contradictory.
      Paul replies it is not contradictory.
      Paula replied with another verse that makes her think that the bible IS contradictory.

      Are you truly concerned about whether the bible is contradictory? I
      Mean, all Paul E did was to post a direct quote from 1 John.

  17. The LORD has made everything for its own purpose, Even the wicked for the day of evil.
    – Prov. 16:4

    And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.- Rom. 7:28

    How do these two Scriptures have any correlation?
    One is referring to the wicked having been made for the day of evil, and the other is a promise to those who love God. I don’t see any similarity, rather totally opposite conclusion: God makes the wicked for evil and God makes everything a blessing for those who love him.
    Am I missing something here??

    • the NIV reads “the LORD works out everything to its proper end — even the wicked for a day of disaster”… is this not the opposite side of the coin of God making all things work together for good for those who are His? the day of disaster for the wicked is a glorious and good day for believers. 😉
      technically, the root of the word translated “for its own purpose” is actually translated as “an answer or a response” in every other verse it is used in… so the verse is actually saying that God has made everything answer-able – or able to give a response- to Him, even the wicked will have to answer to Him… the next verse says that the proud hearted are an abomination to the Lord – they will plead and beg but will not go unpunished. sounds like a pretty hopeless situation – but keep reading… because Jesus is in the next verse: by mercy and truth the punishment for iniquity is atoned for, and through the fear of the LORD men turn away from evil. this is the gospel! the hebrew word checed – translated here as mercy – is the same word translated as grace in the hebrew new testament…. and we know that grace and truth came thru Jesus Christ (john 1:17,14)

  18. Paula,
    It will be interesting to see what Paul says, but a lot of our confusion is based on translation.

    I’m no theologian, so I can’t prove the following, but then I can’t “prove” any translation since I can’t read Greek 🙂 ; but consider this possibility:

    The verse actually contains the Hebrew word “maaneh”, which “to answer to”, or “to give a reply to”. Based on this possibility; what is being said in the first part of this verse is, “The Lord made all things to answer or give an account unto Him.” based on this knowledge we could read Proverbs 16:4 like this:

    The LORD made all things to give account to Him: even the wicked, who think they are Getting away with evil, will have to give an account unto Him on the day of judgment.

    Just something to “chew on” :).

  19. would like to hear perspectives on John 9:3

  20. Matthew Pyle // May 23, 2016 at 11:55 am // Reply

    Hi Paul, just some thoughts on choosing the NKJV as your final choice of translation for this passage. Here’s a few others:

    NIV – The LORD said to him, “Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD?
    NASB – The LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him mute or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?
    NLT – “Who makes mouths?” the LORD asked him. “Who makes people so they can speak or not speak, hear or not hear, see or not see? Is it not I, the LORD?
    NET – The Lord said to him, “Who gave a mouth to man, or who makes a person mute or deaf or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?
    CEV – But the LORD answered, “Who makes people able to speak or makes them deaf or unable to speak? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Don’t you know that I am the one who does these things?
    MSG – GOD said, “And who do you think made the human mouth? And who makes some mute, some deaf, some sighted, some blind? Isn’t it I, GOD?

    Seems to be a bit of a consensus. I don’t actually see them contradicting with the NKJV one either. The wording of the NKJV can be read either one of two ways, in fitting with all the rest of the translations or how you have chosen to read it. What are your thoughts?

  21. Christina Turner // February 17, 2017 at 7:12 am // Reply

    I’m thankful for your commentary on this verse. I had recently read this verse and felt caught off guard and very confused. To a degree I’m still trying to sort out why are people born with disabilities and disfigurement if God makes everything perfect?

  22. Jhumjhum Chatterjee // October 15, 2017 at 4:18 am // Reply

    Who make am I deaf???

  23. God is sovereign and can do as he pleases. He can make one blind for His glory see Lk 9 verse 3. The same God who spoke to Moses in Ex 4 verse 11 is the same God today.

    • Of course God can do what he pleases, but he cannot give what he doesn’t have, and he doesn’t have sickness or disease. Nor is he the author of evil. The problem with saying God is sovereign – in the sense that word is usually defined, as meaning God is in control or responsible for everything little thing that happens – is it’s unscriptural.

    • Heb 6:18 …since it is IMPOSSIBLE for God to lie.

  24. Your premise is that blindness is from an evil source. One would have to then answer how the Apostle Paul’s blindness from heaven was caused by evil intent rather than by God. Also other versions of the NT (ESV) MENTION God’s sovereignty ex. Acts 4:24 and Rev 6:10.

    • Neither of those scriptures says God makes people sick and diseased and neither of those scriptures mentions the word sovereign. (That some English translations add words to the Bible is another issue.) However, there are many scriptures that link sickness and death with the curse of sin. If in doubt about the character of God, look to Jesus and the way he reacted to blindness. He didn’t make any sick or blind.

    • Squawks 5000 // July 24, 2018 at 6:41 pm // Reply

      I do agree that Saul’s blindness is divine intervention (and so are a few others). But what Paul Ellis is saying is that not ALL blindness/disabilities are caused by God (especially with ones born blind — that’s just side effects of Fall)

  25. This discussion started in 2010 and I’m glad that it is still on. Also Check John 9:3 “Master who sinned that this man was born blind…..Neither he nor his parents sinned but that God may be glorified in him.. I believe that God’s abilities will remain fictional unless the avenue for him to prove himself healer,provider etc is created from generation to generation. If he does not create people with physical or biological handicap, he certainly allows the devil to inflict people with them. In what other way will men know that God is all powerful when they don’t see the manifestation of this power. And when he chooses not to heal, it is a confirmation of his sovereignty, for he determines when our lives begins and when our lives end. Further more, scriptures declares..For your ways are not my ways neither are your thoughts my thought. for as the heaven is far above the earth so are my ways higher than your ways……

    • Jared Westendorp // March 13, 2018 at 8:11 am // Reply

      Take comfort my friend that God will not give you sickness or anything of that nature. Maybe you’ll find this book interesting ($.99 on amazon kindle). Tom Tompkins: Understanding the book of Job. Dr. Paul Ellis wrote and article write up on it too if you want his take on it (just put job in the website search engine). No offence just it helps to keep challenging what goes on in our beliefs so we (me and you) can explain the gospel better to those who don’t understand our hope.

    • I don’t know if anyone has already written this in the comments. Based on this verse of Exodus 4:11 that God does not make blind people or mute… What to do with the scriptures: Luke 1:20, when Zechariah becomes mute, was it not God? Acts 9: 8, when Paul on the way to Damascus goes blind, I don’t think it was the fall from the horse, but God.

      • Hi Ezekiel, thanks for your comment. In Luke it was an angel (not God) who made Zechariah mute, and in Acts Paul was blinded after seeing a bright light. In both cases the affliction was temporary and exceptional. To use either as “proof” that God makes people sick or handicapped, is to draw a long bow indeed.

  26. Maureen Edmundson // March 14, 2018 at 2:19 am // Reply

    How can you say there is a massive difference between the NIV version & the KJV!!!! If God makes all people and they are born blind, deaf or disabled then He has made them blind, deaf or disabled. I’ve read your explanation 3 times & I cannot understand how you can say God doesn’t make people deaf, blind or disabled. No one else did!

    • Maureen we can say that God has not and does not make people blind, deaf, disabled because of what Jesus said and did. If it doesn’t look and sound like Jesus, it isn’t God. Jesus has the final word. God is a loving Father. No loving earthly father would inflict his children with sickness. Thank God the true character of God our Father is being preached and our hearts are learning to trust in Him.

    • Squawks 5000 // July 24, 2018 at 6:44 pm // Reply

      The fallen world due to sin makes people blind and disabled. Because sin/separation separates the world from God, bad stuff happens. But God uses it to show a greater work [John 9].

  27. God’s entire character is important to know. One scripture may deal with HIS power and another will deal with HIS will while another reveals HIS justice. Yet all of them combined reveal GOD. None of them contradict any other. He is equally all of these attributes simultaneously. Yes, HE has the power to afflict people BUT HIS will is to be good to people. He is sovereign and just, so because HE made Lucifer and HE made humanity, HE has taken responsibility by sacrificing HIS only Son to bare the full judgement that was due to us. He is Holy, so there are consequences
    for “unholyness”. So just as HIS power does not supersede HIS goodness neither does HIS goodness supersede HIS holiness. All HIS characteristics are balanced and are in perfect unity. All the questions raised throughout the conversations above can be answered by The Holy Spirit who knows all the balanced attributes of GOD.

  28. Dawn Hartman // December 13, 2018 at 1:53 am // Reply

    Thank you so much for your blog.I was wrestling with this question this morning I’m thinking I wish I had an answer when the Holy Spirit told me to check it out on the internet. Your answer came and enlightened my understanding I need to remember not all translations are the same and that can make a huge difference as in the explanation for this scripture. Thank you again and Merry Christmas.

  29. KONDA NAYAK MUDAVATHU // January 27, 2019 at 3:16 am // Reply

    Great message Sir, When i read your post i get life inside and i love God more

  30. Sorry, I rewrite the post because I think I was wrong to answer.
    I agree with you Paul, God does not send disease. But from these verses ( Acts 9:8, Luke 1:20), something God has done on the health of these two men to achieve a purpose, don’t you think? Who sent the lightning light in books of Acts? the devil ? Was it an accident? Atcs 9:3 ” …suddenly a light from heaven …” How can we not think that is the Lord? It seems to me that the apostle in 1 Corinthians 9: 1 says that he was Lord. And in Revelation 1:16, Jesus himself says he is like the sun in all its strength.
    And did the angel in Luke 1:20 act of his own free will or do what God told him to do? In verse 11 this angel is written in the era of the Lord, that is, sent by tariff what the Lord wanted

  31. Man allow it

    Gen 2:15  The LORD God took the man and placed him in the Garden of Eden in order to have him work it and guard it.

    Rom 5:12  Just as sin entered the world through one man, and death resulted from sin, therefore everyone dies, because everyone has sinned.

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