BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 3, Day 5: Exodus 4:18-31

Summary of passage:  Moses returned home and told his father-in-law he was going to return to Egypt to check on his people.  He left with his wife and sons with the assurance from God that those who wanted him dead are now dead themselves.  He took the staff of God with him.

God told Moses to go before Pharaoh and perform all the wonders God gave him the ability to perform but Pharaoh will have a hard heart.  Therefore, Moses must tell Pharaoh God will kill his first-born son since he won’t let Israel go free.

On the journey, God was about to kill Moses’ son but his mother, Zipporah, circumcised him so the Lord let him alone.  God told Aaron to meet Moses in the desert.  Together they gathered the elders of the Israelites and revealed God’s words to them and the signs from God.  They believed and bowed and worshiped the Lord.

Questions:

8 )  He asked permission from his father-in-law first.  He put his wife and sons on a donkey and started back to Egypt.

9)  “Israel is my firstborn son and I told you, ‘Let my son go, so he may worship me.’  But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son.”

10a)  He didn’t circumcise son.

b)  His wife, Zipporah

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Not sure.  Nothing that I know of.

11)  Aaron is a Levite who can speak well.  He will be glad to see Moses.  He will speak to the people for Moses.  He is obedient to God.  He helps Moses by bringing together  the elders and speaking to them.

12)  They followed all of God’s instructions.  They called together the elders, performed the signs, and spoke with them about what the Lord had told them.  The Israelites believed in the Lord again and that He had seen their misery and they bowed down and worshiped God.

Conclusions:  My favorite part was how Moses didn’t circumcise his son.  It makes sense cause his son was born in a foreign land so Moses probably thought “I don’t need to do this”.  Yet following God’s laws was so important that Moses’ indifference almost cost him his son’s life or his own.  Great example for us.  Just because we think it’s not important God may think otherwise.  I also like how his wife took up Moses’ slack.  Perfect picture of marriage!

End Notes:  Moses asked his employer as well for permission to leave.  He just didn’t shout out “I saw God!  Gotta go!!”  He followed the custom of the land as well as God.

Pharaoh could have had a soft heart if he had so desired.  But Pharaoh was given over to sin.  God withheld his mercy.

God exchanged the life of his firstborn (the nation of Israel) for the life of Pharaoh’s firstborn.

God is threatening to kill Moses (or some translations say his son) because he didn’t circumcise him.  Before Moses can return to the land of God’s people, all must be right with all members of the family.  Some scholars suggest his son was not circumcised because Zipporah was not a Hebrew and objected to the custom.  Perhaps this is why she herself had to perform the circumcision and not Moses.  Of course, this is all speculation since we are not told.  What is clear is that Zipporah is not happy afterwards, calling Moses a “bridegroom of blood”.  Whoever was at fault, it had to be put right before Moses could continue with his calling.  This shows the importance of following God’s laws–even ones that we may consider trite.

Everything happens as God promised Moses–Aaron helping him and the elders accepting him. God keeps his promises.

About these ads

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 3, Day 4: Exodus 4:1-17

Summary of passage:  Moses, still doubting God and asking what happens if the people don’t believe him, is given three signs by God to use to show the people that God indeed appeared to him.  These signs are:  Moses’ staff turning into a snake when he throws it on the ground, his hand becoming leprous and then healing in his cloak, and Nile River water turning into blood.

Moses still says he is not eloquent enough to lead.  God says He will help him speak and teach.  Moses asks God finally to choose someone else as a rescuer of his people.  God got angry with Moses for his lack of faith and doubting him.  God tells Moses his brother Aaron will come and help him and God will help both to speak and lead but Moses will be the one in charge.

Questions:

7a)  The people would not believe or listen to him when he told them God appeared to him and that he isn’t eloquent enough to lead and that he doesn’t want to do it.

b)  God gave Moses miraculous signs to show the people (staff turning to a snake–verse 3, his hand turning leprous and then miraculously healing–verses6-7, Nile River water turning to blood–verse 9).  When Moses said he wasn’t eloquent enough, God said He would help Moses speak and teach–verse 12.  When Moses said he doesn’t want to go, God told him his brother, Aaron, would help Moses and God would help both of them to speak and teach–verses 14-16.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  He closes the door when I veer off the path.  Sometimes when I insist on doing it anyways, the door slams harder!  God lets me do it, but then it closes anyways and I learn it wasn’t for me.

Conclusions:  I can almost hear the Lord’s frustration at Moses.  It’s ok to question God but I think when He answers you should believe and not keep doubting as Moses does.  We finally learn Moses doesn’t really want to go and God punishes him for it.  How many times have we said “not me” to God and we end up paying the price?  Nice short lesson.

End Notes:  Moses doubts God and “buts” Him.  Severe lack of faith.

God uses what you have (a staff in your hand).

The tail of the snake is the most dangerous place to pick a snake up.  Here, Moses has faith in what God is saying.

The first two signs (staff and leprosy) has to do with transformation from good to bad and back to good.  The third sign is the sign of judgment–the water turns to blood and stays that way.  Either you turn to God and are transformed or you are judged.

Still, Moses protests.  He doesn’t believe in himself anymore that he can do the job.

Finally, Moses just says he doesn’t want to go.  “Send someone else,” Moses says.  He is unwilling to answer God’s call.  The other reasons were merely excuses.  Truly, Moses doesn’t want to go.

God brings Aaron as a punishment rather than help.  He will cause trouble for Moses the entire trip to the Promised Land.  This is God’s judgement for Moses’ unwillingness to go.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 3, Day 3: Exodus 3:11-22

Summary of passage:  After God calls Moses to go to Egypt and rescue His people, Moses asks “Why me?”  God assures Moses He will be with him and he will return to this mountain again in worship.  Moses, still questioning, asks what should he tell the Israelites about who sent him.  God replies “I am has sent you and the Lord, God of your fathers–Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob”.

God says to assemble the elders of Israel and tell them of his commission to bring them up and out of Egypt.  Then take the elders and go to Pharaoh and tell him.  Pharaoh will not let you go but I will strike the Egyptians with all the wonders until they do.  God will turn the Egyptians’ hearts so that they will leave with silver and gold and clothing and plunder.

Questions:

5a)  Moses asks “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”  He asks God what should he say once he tells the Israelites he has been sent by God and they ask who is God?  What is his name?

b)  Verse 12 reassures Moses that God will be with him and a sign will be that Moses will worship God on this same mountain afterwards.  Verse 14 & 15 says that Moses should tell the Israelites that “I am has sent him” and that he is the God of their fathers–Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  That God is with Moses on his journey because I know God is with me on mine.

6a)  Both Jesus and God call themselves “I am” and both existed before Abraham was born.

b)  Jesus says that he existed like God has existed and they are one and the same “I am”.

Conclusions:  It’s not hard to understand Moses doubt here.  After all, he tried once before 40 years ago to rescue the Israelites and they rejected him so Moses is confused.  He doesn’t quite understand yet that Moses needed God and God’s timing and that he couldn’t rescue the Israelites without God so he asks God “Are you sure you want me?”  God says yes.  He also wants to know what to tell the Israelites once he gets there so he’s not rejected again.

Again, I thought not a lot of meat to these questions.

End Notes:  The Israelites probably number around 3 million people now.  Can you imagine leading 3 million people out of slavery, across desert, to a Promised Land?

I read pages and pages of commentary on the revelation of God’s name here to Moses.  Fascinating.  But for me it came down to one point:  God says “I am” and then you fill in the blank with your need.  “I am the light” when it is dark.  “I am the bread of life” when we are hungry.  “I am your comforter” when you mourn.  God is everything to us and that is what He is saying here when He says “I am.”

Jesus calls himself “I am” as well (John 8:28; 8:24; 8:58; 13:19).

I found it fascinating that God tells Moses first to go to his people (the elders) and then go to Pharaoh.  God often starts with His people first and then the rest of the world.  Like Jesus who revealed the Good News first to the Jews and then the Gentiles.

God promises the people will listen this time around.  This must have been huge encouragement for Moses.  Note too the Israelites probably didn’t desire to leave Egypt.  After 400 years, they probably just wanted to improve their lives but not leave everything they’ve ever known.  All around, Moses did not have an easy task before him and he knew it; hence, his doubts.

Not only will the Israelites follow Moses, they won’t go empty-handed–the Egyptians will shower them with gifts.  This is fitting pay after 400 years of hard labor.  Deuteronomy 15:12-14 says to give slaves gifts when they leave your service.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 3, Day 2: Exodus 3:1-10

Summary of passage:  Moses was tending his father-in-law’s flock when he came to Horeb, the mountain of God.  In the bush, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire but the bush did not burn.  When God saw that Moses had investigated, God called out to Moses and told him to remove his sandals for he was standing on holy ground.  When God spoke, Moses his is face because he was afraid to look at God.

God told Moses how he has seen and heard his people cry out to Him and seen their suffering.  So He is going to rescue them from Egypt and send them to a land flowing with milk and honey.  He sends Moses to  Pharaoh to bring his people out of Egypt.

Questions:

3a)  To get Moses to investigate the bush closer so God could speak to him.  Otherwise, I’m wondering if Moses would have ignored the bush (how you could with an angel in the bush I’m not for sure.  I would think it would be the angel that attracted Moses but the Bible says it’s the bush).  Hence, we must assume a burning bush in the desert is no big deal.  It’s the fact the bush was not consumed that was the big deal.

b)  God.

c)  “For the place where you [Moses] are standing is holy ground”  Moses was now in the presence of God.  Taking off one’s shoes shows humility as servants often went barefoot in ancient times.  It was a symbol of taking off your sins to be close to God.  Note only close:  we can never be equal with God as God is holy and man is sinful.

d)  God in the person of Jesus.

4a)  Go to Egypt and bring my people out.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God cares about His people’s suffering and oppression and wants to rescue them.

Conclusions:  Right away, here’s God in week 3!  Funny how it’s known as the “Burning Bush” but it never burned.  I wonder why man is instinctively afraid to look upon God.  I know I’d love to see God but I’m wondering if God’s greatness is such that we are afraid of it since man himself is so evil.  I’m wondering if all of our sins flash before us in God’s presence and out of shame we hide.

Interesting how time is nothing to God and it is a lot to us.  Here’s Moses at the age of 40 where his life suddenly changes and he has to flee his old life.  Next thing we know, 40 years have passed and Moses is an old man who is now called to do God’s work.  Nothing is recorded about those 40 years except for God’s concern for His people.  This should encourage us:  nothing will be recorded about my life but God is watching me with concern!  Awesome!

For such a meaty passage, I expected much more meatier questions.

End Notes:  Note how Midian here is described as desert (BSF Lesson 2, Day 3 Question 6).  I picture this as Moses leading a completely obscure life in the middle of nowhere–as far from Egypt and his calling as could be.  In 40 years, he doesn’t even have his own flock of sheep (it’s his father-in-law’s) so Moses is as far from riches and nobility as anyone could be as well.

The mountain of Horeb is later called Mount Sinai where Moses receives the Ten Commandments.  So same place; different points in time.

Some say the burning bush represents Israel:  afflicted but not destroyed.  Some also say it represents the cross as well.

God does not speak to Moses until he has Moses’ attention.  How often do we miss God cause we aren’t paying attention?

God’s first words to Moses:  Moses’ name.  God knows Moses.  He knows his name.  He is important in God’s world even though he’s a nobody in our world.

Note also how God doesn’t just say Moses’ name once.  He calls him twice.  This shows the urgency of God’s plans.  God calls Abraham (Genesis 22:11), Samuel (1 Samuel 3:10), Simon (Luke 22:31), Martha (Luke 10:41), and Saul (Acts 9:4) all in the same manner.

God then said he is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  He is the One, True God, the God of the covenant.  He has not forgotten His promise to His people.  He was reminding Moses of this.

God chooses Moses as His instrument to rescue His people.  God could do all of it himself.  But instead He chooses people.  (2 Corinthians 6:1:  we work with God).  I think God does this to increase our faith in Him and in other people.

Other places Jesus appears in Old Testament:  Genesis 16:7-13, Judges 2:1-5, Judges 6:11-24, Judges 13:3-22

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 2, Day 5: Exodus 2:23-25

Summary of passage:  The Pharaoh died and the Israelites continued to suffer under oppression.  God heard their cries and was concerned.

Questions:

10a)  By preparing Moses and by bringing the Israelites to a point of total dependence on God–to the point of hardship beyond bearing because in the desert they will have to have total faith in God to survive.

b)  Cried out to God

11a)  Heard, remembered, looked, concerned

b)  They tell us just what the verbs mean:  That God heard his people, remembered them, looked on the, and was concerned.  His people are important to Him.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Yes

Conclusions:  Again, thought the last three days should have been combined into one.  I’m not a fan of “yes” or “no” personal questions.  I just don’t get a lot out of those.  Thought Question 9d and 10a should have been together as both have the same answer of relying totally on God.

End Notes:  We must remember God remembered his people and turned his attention to His people because of the covenant with Abraham and not because of any other reason (like suffering or the people deserved it).  If it not for Abraham, God would probably have let the people suffer in Egypt.  But because of God’s goodness and love and because he chose Israel, He rescued them.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 2, Day 4: Exodus 2:15-22

Summary of passage:  Pharaoh tried to kill Moses for killing the Egyptian but Moses fled to Midian instead.  He rested by a well where a Midian priest had come with his seven daughters to water his flock.  Some shepherds came and hogged in but Moses drove them away so the girls could water their flock.

The girls returned to their father, Reuel and told him what happened.  He told them to invite this Egyptian to dinner.  Reuel gave Moses his daughter, Zipporah, to Moses as a wife.  She had a son whom Moses named Gershom, meaning “alien”.

Questions:

8 )  Presumably because he met a woman and got married.

9a)  He didn’t feel at home.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  When we moved to North Dakota.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I learned to be happy there but never content.  I fit in (kind of).  I endured.

d)  Letting him grow older and wiser.  Living as an Israelite also gives Moses credibility with the people and proves to them he is willing to give up all his advantages in life to help them.

Conclusions:  Like yesterday, not very meaty questions and not sure why this needed to be two days worth.

End Notes:  I’m sure Moses felt defeated and deflated, sure he was doing God’s work only to be rejected.  Little did he know he just needed more preparation.

Why did Moses go to Midian in the first place?  Moses was now a fugitive on the run and if indeed the Pharaoh during this time was Rameses II (whom scholars say was the most likely candidate), then during this time Egypt had an agreement with the Hittites in the north to return any fugitives caught (like our extradition treaties we have with some nations).  Hence, Moses fled to Midian where he would be safe from extradition.

Did Moses marry an infidel?  Odds are highly unlikely.  Since Reuel was a priest, he was most likely a descendent of Abraham through Keturah (Genesis 25:1-2) and worshipped the One, True God.  Hence, God brought Moses to this family specifically.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 2, Day 3: Exodus 2:15-22

Summary of passage:  Pharaoh tried to kill Moses for killing the Egyptian but Moses fled to Midian instead.  He rested by a well where a Midian priest had come with his seven daughters to water his flock.  Some shepherds came and hogged in but Moses drove them away so the girls could water their flock.

The girls returned to their father, Reuel and told him what happened.  He told them to invite this Egyptian to dinner.  Reuel gave Moses his daughter, Zipporah, to Moses as a wife.  She had a son whom Moses named Gershom, meaning “alien”.

Questions:

6)  From these verses, I can’t describe the country of Midian.  All we get is there was a well where some girls watered their father’s livestock.  That’s it.  Let me know if you can infer from these verses the geography of the land.

However, as most of us know, the Sinai Peninsulas is a desert just like all of this area of the world.  On a google search, I found that it has two principle regions: high mountains and a sloping plateau.  There is a narrow coastal plain where some farming occurs.  Mostly Bedouins live here still, migrating with their flocks with the seasons.  It is arid and hot with rain in the winter.  The vegetation is sparse and it is an area that is sparsely populated due to the arid climate.

7a)  Coming to the defense of the helpless, doing what was right.

b)  No

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Patience.  Less apathy, more sympathy.

Conclusions:  Not much here to go on.  Question 6 annoyed me because it was impossible to answer just using the verses.  Most of us use our background knowledge of the area to picture these scenes.  I saw no change in Moses (Question 7b).  He characteristically helped the girls like he did the Hebrew being beaten by injecting himself in the thick of things.  No one died this time is the only difference.  I still see him as driving the bullies away.  I think this is one of Moses’ greatest character strengths:  his desire to help others no matter the cost.  I wish I had that sometimes.

This lesson should be combined with fourth day.  Would have made a stronger impact.