Have you ever felt stuck, trapped, not where you want to be or expected you’d be at this time in your life?
The last few years for many have been times of lockdowns, isolation, disruptions of all sorts.
Current challenges aside, at any time of life we can become trapped, emotionally, physically, or spiritually.
The book of Exodus and the life of Moses can encourage, inspire, and give us freedom and hope as we’ll see in our lesson today, EXODUS, A new beginning for Moses, Israel, and us.
This lesson covers not only the basic events in Exodus, but it has a bonus video on The Faces of the Pharaohs, where you can see the images of the men (and a woman!) who ruled during the times related to the Exodus.
In addition to the fascination of being able to see the same face that Joseph or Moses faced, this underscores the truth that our Bible is based on historical realities, not fanciful stories.
Following are the PDF of the NOTES & QUESTIONS for the lesson, the podcast on it, and then the two videos related to it.
Have you ever felt stuck, trapped, not
where you want to be or expected you’d be at this time in your life?
• The last few years for many have been times of lockdowns, isolation, disruptions of all sorts.
• Current challenges aside, at any time of life we can become trapped, emotionally, physically, or spiritually.
• The book of Exodus and the life of Moses can encourage, inspire, and give us freedom and hope as we’ll see in our lesson today.
EXODUS, A new beginning for Moses, Israel, and us
Teacher: Yvon Prehn
Where we are in the Bible
• At the end of Genesis, Jacob, who was now called Israel, took his family to Egypt to escape the famine in Canaan.
• God prepared the way by sending Joseph ahead though He used the means of his brothers selling him into slavery to get him there.
• But as God so often does, God took an impossible situation when He took Joseph out of prison and made him a ruler in Egypt.
• And through Joseph God gave Jacob’s family a safe, protected, and privileged place in Egypt, where for the next 400 years they could grow into a nation.
• But then things changed….
As the book of Exodus begins
• In the Bible, the new Pharoah no longer protects the Jews, but forces them into slavery.
• For us also, our experience reading or listening to the Bible changes with the book of Exodus.
• Up to this point, it has been somewhat easy reading or listening to the true stories of Creation, about Job and Abraham, the Flood, the start of the family of Jacob that becomes the nation of Israel.
• But about half-way into the book of Exodus, after the incredible story of the Exodus, things change.
• And you will start reading complex laws and rules and about building the Tabernacle.
I’m going to give you an overview of what happens in the rest of the book in a little bit
• Because if you are using our reading through the Bible in Chronological Order, you won’t have covered all the content I’m going to be talking about in the rest of the lesson.
• This is a challenge as we go through the books.
• To help, I will do a better job of summarizing the content that you will read before covering the BIG IDEAS that we talk about in each lesson.
• This also emphasizes the importance of using the book, With the Word, the Chapter-by-Chapter Bible Handbook by Warren W. Wiersbe for understanding as you read.
• Another HIGHLY recommended resource for content overviews are the videos from the Bible Project, www.thebibleproject.com
• These two resources will give you the basic CONTENT overview of the material—but I want to give you more…..
That’s why we are doing a multi-level, multi-media approach to teaching you through the Bible
• Level ONE—you need a basic understanding of the CONTENT of the Bible. If you grew up going to church, this is a good review; if you didn’t it is essential foundational information.
• For everyone, since most have not done this, reading through the entire Bible in chronological order will help you understand God’s authorship of it and His messages in it in a deeper way.
• LEVEL TWO—you need basic commentary to orient you in that reading step-by-step. That is what With The Word, the Chapter-by Chapter Bible Handbook, will provide.
• But we don’t stop there, because that makes it just one more YouTube level— “This is the Bible Course” (though there is nothing wrong with them). But I want to go on to—
• LEVEL THREE—historical, archeological, and other content, beyond the basics that enriches your understanding of the subject matter.
• At this level also I place my teachings on how the current lesson ties in with themes throughout the Bible along with suggested overall challenges and applications.
• LEVEL FOUR—YOU have the opportunity to interact with the content and make personal applications through the questions provided and discussion times.
With those 4 Levels in mind, check out this additional lesson on—
Back to our overview—
It’s been 400 years since the sons of Jacob arrived Egypt
(USA only a country for 247 years)
• We’ll go into more detail in a few minutes, but as a quick overview—
• Exodus opens 400 years after the ending of Genesis and in a very brief summary then tells us the story of how God used Moses to lead the people out of Egypt, how God saves them from Pharoah’s armies, and finally leads them to Sinai where they enter into a covenant, an agreement with God, to be His people, his representatives to the world.
• But as we learn, they almost immediately rebel, Moses pleads for mercy, they are forgiven, and God gives them instructions on how to build a tabernacle where He will once again dwell with His people as He did in Eden.
• But access to God was not as simple as it was then and we get into lists of rules and regulations, building of the tabernacle, feasts, laws, all sorts of ancient history in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
• These books can be a challenge to read, and here is where many people bail out.
• But don’t stop!
Why it’s important to keep reading
• In what follows—the laws, rules, and regulations aren’t just for people in the past but for us as Paul reminds us in
1 Corinthians 10:
• For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. 2 They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3 They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.
• Oh, that’s not good, we would say; Paul goes on telling us why this happened….
Reasons they died and what it teaches us
• 1 Cor. 10:6 Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. 7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.” 8 We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. 9 We should not test Christ, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. 10 And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel.
• 11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!
• These books are a warning for us all, especially if we think we don’t need it. The warning works in these ways….
Some of what these books will teach us
• First, they underscore that God always has a people and not everyone on earth is automatically his child, his people.
• To be his people the Israelites had to believe Moses and move out of Egypt; today we must accept Jesus as our Savior. Doing these things makes us individually His child and part of His people.
• Second, they tell us that God is the author of our salvation. For Israel it was salvation from slavery in Egypt. For us, it is salvation from the penalty of our sins because of the death and resurrection of Jesus
• They did not do it in their own power—and we are totally dependent on the mercy and grace of God for our salvation.
• Third, after salvation, we belong to God and He has expectations for us as His children and representatives.
• There are serious consequences to our choices, and these books tell us what makes live-giving choices and the cost of choices when we don’t obey or trust God.
Other verses remind us
• Psalm 100:3 Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
• Romans 14:8 for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.
• 1 Cor. 6:19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies.
• But this doesn’t come naturally—
We need to learn how to live
• We can’t just do what we want.
• What was acceptable in Egypt was not always acceptable to God and God is very specific about His requirements.
• That’s why every part of life is covered in these books and though the specifics do not apply to us today, the overall idea that God is interested and has expectations for all of life does.
• The rest of the Old Testament will make sense in the cycles of blessing and judgement for Israel and individuals when you understand the ground rules presented in these books.
• The material you will be reading is complex and quite honestly sometimes challenging to get through, (you do also have Psalms and Proverbs each day that are easier to understand) but I’ll be sharing overviews, insights, commentary, and applications for you each week, so let’s get jump into more detail about what happened in Exodus and some applications for us from it.
As the story often is, it starts with the story of one man, Moses
• Exodus opens after 430 years of silence since Joseph’s death.
• It begins with story of Moses, born an Israelite, but raised by Pharoah’s daughter, most likely Hatshepsut, an extremely powerful woman.
• Somehow, when we meet him as an adult, he knew his calling was to be the deliverer.
• And like Joseph, who bragged to his brothers about God’s calling on his life and got sold as a slave for it,
• Moses decided to do things his way and killed an Egyptian who abusing his fellow Israelite.
That did not go well
• Moses was labeled a murderer and had to flee.
• He spent 40 years in Midian.
• When we next see him, he is now an old man, 80 years old. Maybe one filled with regret. Maybe complacent.
• He may have thought his days were winding down.
• But one day a bush was burning.
• And when he turned to look at it, he heard a voice.
As Exodus 3:7-10 tells us
• “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.
• 7 The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. 8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 9 And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”
Moses was hesitant
• When God told him he was to deliver His people.
• 11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
• 12 And God said, “I will be with you.
• A KEY in any calling from God: It’s not about you, it is about the God who calls you.
• God goes on to tell Moses a new name for Himself:
• 14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’
Comments and application
• God can call you at any time in your life from any place, no matter how isolated or shut in you might be.
• God is incredibly creative in His callings. He called Abraham out of an advanced civilization into the desert and relative isolation for the rest of his life.
• God called Moses out of the wilderness back to an advanced civilization, from isolation to lead over a million people.
• What God calls you to He has prepared you for. Moses was educated, literate, well-acquainted with Pharoah’s court and he also knew what a nomadic life was like.
• Age does not matter in God’s call, young or old, we are an eternal people.
• After much complaining, questions, hesitations, Moses submits and though he didn’t know it….
He goes on to do things and write materials that will change the course of human history
• What first comes to mind when we think of what Moses accomplished is the deliverance of the people, but equally important was the writing of Job and the first five books of our Bible, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy
• These books are the foundation for human life and law, for our understanding of God, the rest of his Message to us, and ourselves.
• Imagine if that had never been written—we can’t—as they are a core of human history.
• These books form, even if we aren’t as familiar with it as we should be, all who we are.
• Think of the time he will spend listening to God to write it all, all during the time serving as leader of a complaining, ungrateful multitude of people—he had no idea what the call involved.
Back to the Story
• God does not forget his people or his promises –He is at work even if we don’t see it.
• After his preparation and call, God sends Moses to Egypt.
• He confronts Pharoah who refuses to let the people go.
• The plagues against gods and pride of Egypt last 10 months.
• The final one is the death of the first born of Egypt, while those under the Passover blood on their doorways are safe.
• People leave Egypt at last.
Early challenges after being freed
• Pharoah changes his mind and goes after them.
• The Israelites are hemmed in by the Red Sea.
• For 10 months they’ve seen incredible miracles of judgement against Egypt.
• They are going free with riches given to them by the Egyptians after 400 years of slavery.
• They have ample reason to trust God.
• Instead, they immediately they start to complain and cry.
• God opens the Sea, and they go through.
You’d think after this, and all the previous miracles they would trust God when trials come.
But that doesn’t happen
• Three days into the desert and they can’t find water.
• Do they rejoice? Do they say, “Wow, an opportunity to trust God!” ?
• They grumble. They complain. They whine.
• God gives them water.
• Then they grumble about food.
• God gives them manna, which means, “what is it?
How God gave them the manna was part of a test
• On the sixth day they were to gather double the manna and on the seventh day to rest. No work even to gather food.
• God said he would use this to test them.
• Some obeyed; some didn’t.
• God was teaching them that the Sabbath was a gift along with the food.
• In their years as slaves, I imagine they had few days off and no free food.
• Historical note: Egyptian week was 10 days long and though there were periodic religious festivals, there is no record of a weekly day of rest, which would have been difficult in a primarily agrarian society—so probably they had little to no time off.
• Now the food they did not work for was freely provided and they were given a day of rest every 7 days.
Comment and application regarding the Sabbath
• Are we still living like slaves and not taking the rest we could and should take in Jesus?
• Here is not the place to argue about details of the Sabbath (Saturday or Sunday, and exactly what constitutes “rest”?)
• The Bible is not specific and consistent on the details.
• Jesus said, the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. He “broke it” to do good, to care for others. He infuriated the religious leaders about it that He didn’t follow their Sabbath rules.
• The Jews did not rest for 52 days when they were rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem. God commended them for their work.
• I think the main point is, do we trust God, or do we think that our success in everything, in work or our spiritual lives depends totally on us and how hard we work?
• Think and pray about it and ask God to help you answer how He wants you to rest.
Then came a big battle, an attack from the Amalekites
• They were constant enemies of Israel.
• Deuteronomy 25:17–19 tells us a little more about this situation: “Remember what the Amalekites did to you along the way when you came out of Egypt. When you were weary and worn out, they met you on your journey and attacked all who were lagging behind [typically women and children]: they had no fear of God.”
• Moses told Joshua to gather an army to fight them.
• Joshua leads the troops into battle and Moses is on the top of the mountain praying for them.
• So long as Moses’ arms are held up in prayer, they win; when he tires, they lose; then Aaron and Hur hold up his arms until the army is defeated.
Lessons from the story
• The primary one remembered and told about this event is from Charles Spurgeon who talks about the importance both of prayer and action.
• He reminds us that Moses is on the mountain praying, which we tend to emphasize.
• But at the same time Joshua is in the valley fighting bloody hand to hand combat—both actions are important and both needed.
• I’ve often used this illustration in my church communication ministry, but it is useful in all ministries in that yes, we must always PRAY.
• But usually there is also much work to be done.
And it is often detailed, boring, brutal work—
• No matter what He calls you to do, much of it probably won’t be “fun” to do.
• Sometimes the greatest things we can do for God are not fun, but involve faithfulness in the “little” things.
• Showing up; caring consistently; picking up after yourself; being kind when you are tired or cranky.
• AND CONTINUING to read through your Bible, even though some parts might be confusing, unpleasant, or frustrating the first time through.
The second important lesson
• They learned how to fight and win.
• They were slaves, newly out of Egypt.
• Yet they fought a formidable foe and defeated them.
• Comment/application: battles should teach us something, they aren’t simply a trial to get through and be done with.
• They should have remembered this as they were about to go into the land and were fearful of the battles ahead.
• Consider journaling how God has helped you in the past, to enable you to trust Him in future trials.
They finally arrive at Sinai
• When left Egypt they were simply a group of slaves. God now will work to make them into a people, a nation to serve Him.
• To do that, they needed to learn everything—
• How to worship.
• How to govern their nation.
• How to live in their interpersonal lives.
• Next, He will give them the 10 Commandments and other laws which is His right as the “I am” God who brought them out of Egypt.
God isn’t just “I am” for Israel in a story long ago
• I subtitled this lesson, “a new beginning for Moses, Israel, and us”
• Because God is also the great “I am” for us.
• And even more so than in the Old Testament because Jesus finished the start of that statement by when in the Gospel of John, He tells us….
I. I am the bread of life, John: 6:35, 48, 51
2. I am the light of the world, John 8:12; 9:5
3. I am the door of the sheep, John 10:7, 9
4. I am the good shepherd, John 10:11, 14
5. I am the resurrection and the life, John 11:25
6. I am the way, the truth, and the life, John 14:6
7. I am the vine, John 15:1
And because He is all these things at all times in our lives—
I am quite sure God has a bush burning for you.
• There is something or something more He wants you to do so you can serve Him more fully in the next chapter of your life.
• Take some time to think about it; pray about it.
• Our world has incredible needs.
• Many of the people around you still need Jesus.
• Whatever you do, your life, your family, and community will be blessed when you answer God’s call.
• Regardless of your age or situation, keep your eyes open for your burning bush.
Check out the notes from this lesson, Bible reading schedules, related resources, and helpful links at www.bible805.com