From the Palace to the Pasture

 

Moses’ life is divided into four segments of 40 years.  For 40 years he enjoyed all the privileges of a prince, but was forced to flee after murdering an Egyptian.  He married Zipporah and worked as a shepherd for his father-in-law Jethro. He moved from the palace to the pastures; watching over sheep day after day, decade after decade. 

 

One day he noticed a burning bush and went to investigate.  It was there that Moses heard the voice of the Lord calling him to a new assignment.  God asked Moses to lead the people of Israel out of bondage and return to the land of Canaan. So Moses would spend the remainder of his life wandering through the wilderness, leading a stubborn and pessimistic people to the very perimeter of God’s promise.

 

Today’s lesson will focus on the call and misgivings of Moses. Have your group review the story of the burning bush paying particular attention to Moses’ misgivings.

·         The Misgivings of Moses (Ex. 3:11–4:23)

o   (Ex. 3:11–12) Moses says that he is not important enough to appear before Pharaoh.

o   (Ex. 3:13–15) Moses complains that he holds no authority.

o   (Ex. 4:1–5) Moses insists that the people will not believe him.

o   (Ex. 4:10–17) Moses complains that he is not a good speaker.

 

Before we become critical of Moses for resisting God’s call we need to keep a few things in mind.

·         Moses was being asked to return to the very place where he had committed murder.

·         Some believe that the new Pharaoh may have been the same age as Moses.  This would imply that Moses knew the Pharaoh, and could have been raised in the palace as his brother.  Notwithstanding how would he convince and evil monarch to commit political and economic suicide by freeing 600,000 slaves?

·         Six hundred thousand men were living as slaves in Egypt.  Add women and children and you have over one million people.

o   How do you convince one million people to leave Egypt and go to an unknown place?

o   Who would organize them?  What would they eat?  What about clothing and shelter?  Who would take care of the live stalk?  What about health care?  We are talking about a major undertaking.  Much more than one person could begin to imagine?

o   The Lord tells Moses that he will be with him and will bring him back to Mount Sinai.

1.      If I were Moses I would have the same questions:

·         God is that really you calling me?

·         How am I going to convince others to follow?

·         Are you sure I am qualified for this?

 

2.      Read the story again and list the ways God answered Moses misgivings.

·         (Ex. 3:11–12) Moses says that he is not important enough to appear before Pharaoh.

·         (Ex. 3:13–15) Moses complains that he holds no authority.

·         (Ex. 4:1–5) Moses insists that the people will not believe him.

·         (Ex. 4:10–17) Moses complains that he is not a good speaker.

3.      Consider the following questions:

·         If Moses was so reluctant, why didn’t God just find someone else? Why didn’t he just ask Aaron?

·         Why was God so patient with Moses?

·         As we consider God’s reaction to Moses, what do we learn about his patience and grace?

4.      Life Application

·         Has God ever called you to a task that seemed impossible?  What was your reaction?

·         How your understandings of God’s patience and grace for Moses impact your willingness to follow his call?

·         Does God ever call people to a task as large as the one he gave Moses?  What would it take for a person to say yes to such an enormous and overwhelming assignment?

·         How can you encourage the members of your class to continue on serving the Lord when they get discouraged?

 

 

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