At the beginning of Exodus we pick up a story of slavery. God had promised the forefathers of the Israelites that they would be his people, yet at this point in time, God was nowhere in sight. To escape a famine the Israelites had moved to Egypt, the most powerful nation in the region. But as 400 years passed, they grew in numbers and became enslaved by the Egyptians, the very people they originally sought help from.
The situation seemed hopeless and their chances of freedom were crumbling. But as we read through the book of Exodus, we will see God rescue and restore his people, flipping this story of tragedy to one of freedom and hope, as He reveals Himself to His people.
God first reveals His name to a man named Moses, an Israelite that murdered an Egyptian slave master and ran away in fear. God gives Moses a mission and uses him to set His people free.
Do you think names reveal anything about someone?
If you wanted to get to know someone what questions would you ask them?
Find out what your name means: https://www.babynames.com/Names/search.php
Names had a much greater significance during the time of Exodus than they have in today’s context. As we read Exodus, we will see God revealing the essence of His character to His people and to us.
Exodus 3- Moses and the Burning Bush
1Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. 3 So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”
4 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.”
5 “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” 6 Then he said, “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.
What would God have to do to stop you in your tracks and get your attention, like he did with Moses?
Why do you think God’s presence is shown through flames and fire?
What does it say about God’s character when he claims to be the God of multiple people born generations apart?
Exodus 3 continued…
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.”
What kind of image do we get from the God of Abraham in this passage?
Is this a God you would want to know?
What is revealed about the state of God’s people?
If you want freedom from something who do you go to?
Do you think it would be believable for the Israelites that God could offer them freedom?
Exodus 3 continued…
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. 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 will worship God on this mountain.” 13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” 14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.[c] This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.” 15 God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’
“This is my name forever,
the name you shall call me
from generation to generation.
God calls Himself “I am” which can be translated from Yahweh. What do you think “I am” reveals about God’s character?
Do you think we have seen enough of God from this passage to be hopeful that he can free the Israelites from slavery?
If you were in the Israelites’ shoes, what questions would you have for Moses?
Exodus 3 continued…
16 “Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—appeared to me and said: I have watched over you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt. 17 And I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—a land flowing with milk and honey.’
18 “The elders of Israel will listen to you. Then you and the elders are to go to the king of Egypt and say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God.’ 19 But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand compels him. 20 So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them. After that, he will let you go.
21 “And I will make the Egyptians favorably disposed toward this people, so that when you leave you will not go empty-handed. 22 Every woman is to ask her neighbor and any woman living in her house for articles of silver and gold and for clothing, which you will put on your sons and daughters. And so you will plunder the Egyptians.”
If you were in Moses’ shoes would you be willing to give up everything for this God?
Would God need to do more before you would be willing to accept his call?
This may be the first time that you have heard of the God of Abraham, who says “I am, who I am”, ask him this week to reveal himself to you, through his name but also his power.
We often do not get a burning bush, but this passage shows us that God is wanting to get to know us and is wanting to call us to something, but it falls to us to ask God to reveal himself to us.
Things you could pray for:
- That God would reveal himself to us like he did to Moses, that he would draw alongside us and close to us
- Thanksgiving for God’s love and the freedom we have
- Pray for those in slavery