All that he has given

Bible study: Moses and the burning bush

In the book of Exodus, we revisit Egypt. Here we learn that the Pharaoh Joseph served as second in command, is no longer in charge.

As Israel’s descendents grow in number, the new Pharoah decides to take action.

Exodus 1 explains what steps he takes next:

  • ‘So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh.’ Exodus 1:11
  • ‘Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: “Every Hebrew boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.” Exodus 1:22

Then we learn of Moses...

WHO IS MOSES?

In your group, take turns reading the following passages from the Bible:
Read Exodus 2:1-10
DISCUSS: What do we learn about Moses from this passage?

  • He is a descendent of Israel
  • He is adopted by Pharaoh's daughter, who knows he is a Hebrew baby

Read Exodus 22:11-15
DISCUSS: What do we learn about Moses from this passage?

  • He is stirred by the injustice he sees.
  • He acts in a way which undermines his cause.
  • He becomes a target for Pharaoh when his actions are found out.
  • He runs away from Egypt.

WHAT NEXT?

Whilst Moses is away from Egypt, he marries, has a family and becomes a shepherd. His life in Egypt seems to have changed entirely…

MOSES AND THE BURNING BUSH

Read Exodus 2:23-25
Read Exodus 3. Choose different people to narrate:

  • the body of the text
  • what God says
  • what Moses says

DISCUSS:
How does God reveal Himself?

  • From the seemingly ‘impossible’ - in flames of fire from within a bush, which though the bush was on fire did not burn up [Exodus 3:3]
  • God shows that he knows Moses personally - ‘God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” [Exodus 3:4]
  • God explains who He is - “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” [Exodus 3:6],

What else God reveals?

  • God has invited Moses into a Holy space - “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” [Exodus 3:5]
  • God has a purpose for calling Moses - ‘So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.’ [Exodus 3:10]
  • God’s promise to Moses - ‘I will be with you’ [Exodus 3:12]

Why Moses?
There are many reasons God may have called Moses…

  • Moses has a heart for justice for the people of Israel
  • Moses’ is in a unique position as a son of Pharaoh’s daughter which gives him insight into the workings of the royal courts and government
  • Moses might still be known within the court, making him able to access Pharaoh more easily
  • Moses responds when God asks him to go - When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”
    And Moses said, “Here I am.” [Exodus 3:4]

ACTIVITY - WHO AM I?

Like Moses, we all have unique strengths which God can use. It can be difficult identifying them though. They might seem very ordinary - but they might just be something that helps restore a whole nation!

This is an activity in two parts. You will need…

  • Enough pens for the whole group
  • Paper

PART 1: WHO AM I?
Distribute the pens amongst the group and make sure everyone has a sheet of paper.
Time limit: 5 minutes
Task: Encourage each member of the group to write a list of the unique skills, gifts and talents that they have on their sheet of paper.

PART 2: WHO AM I?
Time limit: 10 minutes
For smaller groups: Encourage each member of the group to write 3 of the unique skills, giftings or talents that they see in the other members in their group. Once written, ask for these pieces of paper to be placed at the feet of the relevant person. At the end, each member should have a small pile of the characteristics that others see in them…
For larger groups: Ask the group to sit in a circle.
Give each team member a piece of paper.
Ask them to write their own name at the bottom of the piece of paper, then ask them to pass this to the person on their right.
Ask this person to write a unique skill, gifting or talent that they see in the person whose name is written at the bottom of the piece of paper. They then need to fold this note back on itself, and pass this to the person on their right.
Ask the next person to do the same, and repeat this, until the piece of paper reaches the person who wrote their name on the piece of paper at the start of the activity.

DISCUSS: Give the team a few minutes to read what has been written, and reflect. Ask…

  • How did the group find the activity?
  • Did they find one activity easier than the other?
  • Did they learn anything new about themselves by looking through another person’s eyes?

LET’S PRAY - A HOLY SPACE

Take a few minutes to consider all you have discussed.
Perhaps a few people would like to place the pieces of paper used in the ‘Who am I?’ task in the centre to help them reflect. Perhaps the brave amongst you would like to take off their shoes as a mark of this holy space.

Pray for one another. Pray for your community. Pray for your church as it seeks ways to respond to those around them.

Reflection
‘But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you[b] will worship God on this mountain.”
[Exodus 3:11 and 12]

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