Lesson 26 第二十六课

God chose Moses to lead
the Israelites out of slavery.

1.   God saw the people of Israel in slavery and heard their cries.

   The people of Israel had been in slavery for four hundred years.

Exodus 2:23

After a long time, the king of Egypt died. The people of Israel groaned because they were slaves. They also cried out to God. Their cry for help went up to him.

The king of Egypt died, but the king that followed also kept the Israelites as slaves. The Israelites must have often wondered if they would ever be delivered from their suffering. Although many years passed, the Israelites continued to cry to God to deliver them.

   The Lord loved the Israelites, and He heard their cries for help.

Exodus 2:24-25

24 God heard their groans. He remembered his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 25 So God looked on the Israelites with favor. He was concerned about them.

God had not forgotten the promises which He had made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob hundreds of years before. He had promised them that the Deliverer would be one of their descendants, and He had promised to give them the land of Canaan.

When Abraham was alive, God had told him that his descendants would leave the land that God had given to them and be made slaves in another country. God had promised Abraham that, after 400 years, He would deliver them from slavery and bring them back to the land of Canaan.

Genesis 15:13-15

13 Then the LORD said to him, “You can be sure of what I am about to tell you. Your children who live after you will be strangers in a country that does not belong to them. They will become slaves. They will be treated badly for 400 years. 14 But I will punish the nation that makes them slaves. After that, they will leave with all kinds of valuable things. 15 “But you will die in peace. You will join the members of your family who have already died. You will be buried when you are very old.

It seemed impossible for the Israelites to be set free and return all the way to Canaan, but God is faithful to His promises. Whatever He says, He does. The time had come for God to fulfill His promise to bring Abraham’s descendants out of slavery and back to their own country.

Because the Israelites had been in slavery for many years, it may have seemed to them that God had forgotten His promises. But God never forgets. God is never in a hurry. He never begins something and then abandons it. He will do all that He planned and promised.

2.    God spoke to Moses from the burning bush.

Exodus 3:1-4

Moses was taking care of the flock of his father-in-law Jethro. Jethro was the priest of Midian. Moses led the flock to the western side of the desert. He came to Horeb. It was the mountain of God.

2 There the angel of the LORD appeared to him from inside a burning bush. Moses saw that the bush was on fire. But it didn’t burn up. 3 So Moses thought, “I’ll go over and see this strange sight. Why doesn’t the bush burn up?”

 4 The LORD saw that Moses had gone over to look. So God spoke to him from inside the bush. He called out, “Moses! Moses!”

The burning bush.

This bush was an ordinary bush. The extraordinary thing was that the bush was burning and yet it was not being burned up. Because God was in the bush, the bush wasn’t consumed.

God is almighty. Nobody can do the things which God can do.

   The burning bush was like the people of Israel who were suffering.

As Moses looked at the burning bush, he may have been reminded of the terrible conditions of his fellow Israelites. They, like the burning bush, were in danger of being totally destroyed. But, just as God was in the bush and kept it from being consumed, so He was with the Israelites and would not let them be destroyed. Neither Satan nor Pharaoh could destroy the Israelites because God was with them.

   God spoke to Moses from the burning bush.

Moses didn’t know that God was in the bush until God spoke to him from within the bush.

God knew Moses language. Moses didn’t speak English. God knows all languages, including your language. God hears and understands everything which you think and say. Even if you whisper, God still hears and understands.

Exodus 3:5-6
“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals. The place you are standing on is holy ground.” He continued, “I am the God of your father. I am the God of Abraham. I am the God of Isaac. And I am the God of Jacob.”
When Moses heard that, he turned his face away. He was afraid to look at God.

God told Moses to take his shoes off as a sign of respect to God who is perfect and is the great Creator. In those days, to be barefoot was a sign of humility and submission.

3.    God told Moses that He had chosen him to lead the people of Israel out of slavery.

Exodus 3:7-10

The Lord said, “I have seen my people suffer in Egypt. I have heard them cry out because of their slave drivers. I am concerned about their suffering.

“So I have come down to save them from the Egyptians. I will bring them up out of that land. I will bring them into a good land. It has a lot of room. It is a land that has plenty of milk and honey. It is the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.

“And now Israel’s cry for help has reached me. I have seen the way the Egyptians are beating them down. 10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh. I want you to bring the Israelites out of Egypt. They are my people.”

God told Moses that He had chosen him to lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt and take them back to the land which God had given to Abraham.

The Lord chooses whomever He pleases to do His will, and when the time comes for the Lord to fulfill His plans, no one can stop Him.

Exodus 3:11
But Moses spoke to God. “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh?” he said. “Who am I that I should bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

Moses had failed when he had tried to help his people previously so he knew that he was not able to confront the king and deliver the Israelites from slavery by his own strength.

Exodus 3:12
God said, “I will be with you. I will give you a miraculous sign. It will prove that I have sent you. When you have brought the people out of Egypt, all of you will worship me on this mountain.”

God told Moses that He would be with him, and He gave Moses a sign. God promised Moses that He would bring him back to the mountain on which he was standing. This mountain was named Mount Sinai or Mount Horeb.

4.     God is the “I AM.”

Exodus 3:13
Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the people of Israel. Suppose I say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you.’ Suppose they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what should I tell them?”

   Moses wanted to know God’s name.

Because his own people had rejected him when he had tried to assist them previously, Moses did not think that they would believe him when he went to them and told them that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had sent him to deliver them from slavery. So he asked God His name. Moses intended to use the name of God as proof to the Israelites that God had sent him.

   Names in the Bible have meanings.

A person’s name emphasized some personal characteristic or quality. For example, Moses’ name meant “to draw out of” because he was taken out of the water when the king’s daughter found him.

What name could God use that would express His characteristics? Think about the characteristics of God.

o  God is supreme; He is greater than everyone and everything.

o  He is the mighty and holy Creator.

o  He is everywhere and sees everything.

o  He knows everything.

o  He is almighty.

o  He is faithful and unchanging.

o  He is the judge and avenger of all evil.

o  He is loving, kind and gracious.

God has all of these characteristics and many others.

Therefore, what one name could God use to identify Himself that would tell the Israelites all of His characteristics? It could not be done.

Exodus 3:14
God said to Moses, “I am who I am. Here is what you must say to the Israelites. Tell them, ‘I amhas sent me to you.’”

   God told Moses to tell the Israelites that “I AM” had sent him.

This name, “I AM,” includes so much that we cannot understand it completely. But, we do know that it means that God never had a beginning and cannot have an end. God has always lived and will always live completely by His own power and wisdom. He never has been nor will He ever be dependent on anyone or anything. The name “I AM” means that God is the self-existent One.

The first words in the Bible are, “In the beginning God.” God was already there in the beginning. He had no beginning and will have no end.

God was never dependent on anyone or anything, and He will never be dependent on anyone or anything. He created everything and everyone, and all depend on Him for everything.

God has control over the heavens and the earth. He has control over all things. Because God is the great “I AM,” He is greater than all.

Pharaoh, the Egyptians, and even Satan could not hold God’s people when the Lord, the “I AM,” decided to deliver them.

Exodus 3:15-18
15 God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord is the God of your fathers. He has sent me to you. He is the God of Abraham. He is the God of Isaac. And he is the God of Jacob.’ My name will always be The Lord. Remember me by that name for all time to come.
16 “Go. Gather the elders of Israel together. Say to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, appeared to me. He is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
“‘He said, “I have watched over you. I have seen what the Egyptians have done to you. 17 I have promised to bring you up out of Egypt where you are suffering. I will bring you into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. It is a land that has plenty of milk and honey.”’
18 “The elders of Israel will listen to you. Then you and the elders must go to the king of Egypt. You must say to him, ‘The Lord has met with us. He is the God of the Hebrews. Let us take a journey that lasts about three days. We want to go into the desert to offer sacrifices to the Lordour God.’

5.    God knew what the king would do.

Exodus 3:19-20

19 “But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you and your people go. Only a mighty hand could make him do that. 20 So I will reach my hand out. I will strike the Egyptians with all kinds of miracles. After that, he will let you go.

God knew exactly how the king of Egypt would react.

God knows our thoughts, words and actions before we ever think or do them. He knows everything about us from birth to death and even what will happen to us after death.

6.    Moses was reluctant to go back to Egypt.

Exodus 4:1

Moses answered, “What if the elders of Israel won’t believe me? What if they won’t listen to me? Suppose they say, ‘The LORD didn’t appear to you.’ Then what should I do?”

Moses remembered how his people had rejected him when he was in Egypt, when he tried to help them. He didn’t think they would believe that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had sent him to be their leader and deliverer.

Read Exodus 4:2-9.
The Lord said to him, “What do you have in your hand?”
“A wooden staff,” he said.
The Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.”
So Moses threw it on the ground. It turned into a snake. He ran away from it. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Reach your hand out. Take the snake by the tail.” So he reached out and grabbed hold of the snake. It turned back into a staff in his hand.
The Lord said, “When they see this miraculous sign, they will believe that I appeared to you. I am the God of their fathers. I am the God of Abraham. I am the God of Isaac. And I am the God of Jacob.”
Then the Lord said, “Put your hand inside your coat.” So Moses put his hand inside his coat. When he took it out, it was as white as snow. It was covered with a skin disease.
“Now put it back into your coat,” the Lord said. So Moses put his hand back into his coat. When he took it out, the skin was healthy again. His hand was like the rest of his skin.
Then the Lord said, “Suppose they do not believe you or pay attention to the first miracle. Then maybe they will believe the second one.
“But suppose they do not believe either miracle. Suppose they will not listen to you. Then get some water from the Nile River. Pour it on the dry ground. The water you take from the river will turn to blood on the ground.”

God gave Moses miraculous signs for him to show as proof that he had been sent by God.

But Moses was still reluctant to return to Egypt, so he tried another excuse. Listen to what Moses said and what God answered.

Exodus 4:10-12
10 Moses spoke to the Lord. He said, “Lord, I’ve never been a good speaker. And I haven’t gotten any better since you spoke to me. I don’t speak very well at all.”
11 The Lord said to him, “Who makes a man able to talk? Who makes him unable to hear or speak? Who makes him able to see? Who makes him blind? It is I, the Lord. 12 Now go. I will help you speak. I will teach you what to say.”

All things are under the Lord’s control. He is the great Creator and is therefore King over the whole earth. All people, including Moses, were created by Him.

Even though God promised to help him, Moses was still reluctant so he suggested that the Lord send someone who was more suitable than he was.

Exodus 4:13
But Moses said, “Lord, please send someone else to do it.”

The Lord was angry with Moses for continuing to argue, but He promised to send Aaron, Moses’ older brother, to assist him.

Exodus 4:14-17
14 Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses. He said, “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you. He will be glad to see you. 15 Speak to him. Put your words in his mouth. Tell him what to say. I will help both of you speak. I will teach you what to do. 16 He will speak to the people for you. He will be like your mouth. And you will be like God to him.
17 “But take this wooden staff in your hand. You will be able to do miraculous signs with it.”

7.    Moses obeyed the Lord.

Exodus 4:18-20

18 Then Moses went back to his father-in-law Jethro. He said to him, “Let me go back to my own people in Egypt. I want to see if any of them are still alive.”

Jethro said, “Go. I hope everything goes well with you.”

19 The Lord had said to Moses in Midian, “Go back to Egypt. All of the men who wanted to kill you are dead.”

20 So Moses got his wife and sons. He put them on a donkey. Together they started back to Egypt. And he took the wooden staff in his hand. It was the staff God would use in a powerful way.

The Lord assured Moses that the king and all others who had previously planned to harm him were now dead. When Moses heard that, he obeyed the Lord and began his journey back to Egypt.


Questions

1.     Did God hear the Israelites when they cried out to Him, asking for help?

2.     What had God told Abraham would happen to his descendants?

3.     Had God forgotten the promises that He made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob?

4.     What unusual thing did Moses see?

5.     Why was the bush not being consumed even though it was burning?

6.     How were the people of Israel like the burning bush?

7.     What does the name of God, “I AM,” mean?

8.     Did God know how the king of Egypt would react?

9.     What did God give Moses to show to the Israelites as proof that he had been sent by God?

10.     What happened to Moses’ rod when God used it as a sign?

11.    What happened to Moses’ hand when God used it as a sign?

12.    Whom did God promise to send to speak on Moses’ behalf?