By Luke Johnson | October 25, 2016
Take some time to see how everyone is doing, and to pray for each other.
Who is someone in your life you really respect? Someone whose opinion matters a lot to you?
Have you ever set out to do something, but it went horribly, horribly wrong?
(Or something you did that didn’t turn out the way you expected?) What happened?
Our Big Questions
As we read, keep these questions in mind:
Who is God? // What does it mean to belong to God’s people? // Where is Jesus?
READ Exodus 5:1-6:13 and 6:28-7:7
What popped out to you? Anything weird / game-changing / cool / encouraging / interesting?
At the end of chapter 4, Moses is back in Egypt and has proven to the Israelites that God has sent him, and that God plans to deliver them. On a scale of 1-10, how confident do you think Moses would be as he marches off to confront Pharaoh? (Why?)
Put yourself into the story. You’ve never read about the plagues or the Red Sea -- all you know are the things God told you in chapters 3-4. How might you expect this to play out?
How does it go? Chart out their showdown with Pharaoh in chapter 5: How does it escalate?
M/A: “Let my people go!” (5:1) → Ph: “No!” (5:2) → M/A: “Let us go into the desert.” (5:3)
→ Ph: “Get back to work! And get your own straw!” (5:4-14) → Overseers protest (5:15-16)
→ Ph: “You’re lazy! Keep working!” (5:17-18) → Israelites turn on Moses (5:19-21)
→ Moses doubts his mission (5:22-23)
The big question of Exodus is, “Who is Israel’s master? Pharaoh or Yahweh?” And it’s heating up!
What kinds of things do you see Pharaoh doing or saying to show that he is Israel’s master?
Look at 5:2 - What does Pharaoh think of Yahweh? (“I don’t know him! I won’t obey him!”)
Look at 5:5 - What kind of relationship does Pharaoh have with the Israelites?
(Regards them as a people to be used as he sees fit -- his property.)
Compare 5:8 vs. 3:7 - Why does Israel cry out? (Ph: “They’re lazy!”; God: “They’re oppressed!”)
Look at 5:9 - How does Pharaoh describe the LORD’s command? (“Lies”)
Look at 5:10: Do you notice anything familiar about the way Pharaoh introduces his new commands for his slaves? (“This is what Pharaoh says:”)
Where have we heard something like this before? (5:1, “This is what the LORD says:”)
Nerd note: Pharaoh is working really hard to prove he is the rightful master. But he’s doomed, and the writer of Exodus wants us to know it. When Pharaoh refuses Moses’ and Aaron’s request, he tells the Israelites, literally, to “Go, serve!” (as in “Go, serve me!”) These words will come back to haunt him. Later, when God destroys Egypt and Pharaoh finally releases the Israelites, he says, “Go, serve Yahweh.” In Hebrew, it’s word for word:
What about God? What does God say or do to show he is Israel’s master?
Look at 5:1 - How does God refer to Israel? (Straight up, “my people”)
Look at 6:6-7 - What does God promise to do for Israel?
(3 things: i. Frees them from their illegitimate master. ii. Takes them “as my own people”.
Iii. Gives them a land of their own “as a possession” -- reverses their fortunes! As Pharaoh’s people they are slaves owned by someone else; as God’s people they are free with a land of their own.)
Think about this story from Moses’ point of view. If you could hear Moses’ internal thoughts throughout this story, what do you think you’d hear when…
… God, from the burning bush, tells Moses he is sending him to Egypt.
… Moses performs the signs God told him to do in front of the Israelites, and they believe him.
… Moses and Aaron give their demands, “The LORD says, ‘Let my people go!’”
… Pharaoh refuses and makes the slaves’ lives horrible, and the Israelites turn on Moses.
Jesus in Exodus
Moses is nearly shattered by the end of chapter 6. But then God reassures him and tells him,
“I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and Aaron will be your prophet” (7:1).
What do you think that means for Moses? (How would you feel if you were in Moses’ place?)
How do you think Moses is like Jesus in this scenario?
Look at John 1:10-12 - Do you notice any similarities between Moses and Jesus?
Moses is a picture of Jesus. Moses is a suffering servant who faces down an Evil that enslaves God’s people. But Jesus is greater than Moses: he isn’t just LIKE God, he IS God. Both are rejected by their own people. Both face off with the oppressor. Both accomplish God’s rescue mission. But everything Moses does is a small picture of what Jesus will do. (Heb 3:3-6)