Moses (Exodus 3:1-17)

While Moses was looking after the flock belonging to Jethro (his father-in-law, and a priest of Midian), he found himself near Mount Horeb. An angel of God appeared to Moses in a burning bush (which wasn't burning up, despite the flames). Moses decided to inspect this strange sight, and God called to him from the bush telling him to take off his sandals because he was walking on holy ground; then he identified himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Moses covered his face in fright. God expressed concern for the plight of the Israelite slaves in Egypt and promised to rescue them and lead them to a land "flowing with milk and honey" - the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. God told Moses that he was sending him to the Pharaoh, and promised to be with him. He said that, once Moses had led the Israelites out of Egypt, they would worship God on the very mountain where he was standing.

Moses was worried that, if he told the people "The God of your fathers has sent me to you", they might demand to be told his name; God replied, "I am who I am". He instructed Moses to tell the people that "I am has sent me to you". God said that this was his name for ever, from generation to generation.

God told Moses to assemble the elders of Israel and explain to them God's knowledge of, and concern for, their present distress. He was also to pass on God's promise to free them and lead them to a new and better land flowing with milk and honey.


Themes

  • Mountains - God often spoke to/via his prophets on mountains (e.g. Elijah).
  • Miraculous sight - the bush appeared to be on fire, but it wasn't burning up.
  • Fear and Respect - Moses removed his shoes as a sign of respect for God, and covered his face because he was afraid to look at him.
  • God cared for the Israelites - he wanted to free them from slavery and lead them to a new and better land, the one to which Abraham had originally been led.
  • I am who I am - God's name for himself seems mysterious and unfathomable. It suggests God's transcendence, eternal existence and other-worldliness.

Contemporary Issues

  • God can be caring; God can also instil fear.

  • Miraculous visions.

     

Revision

On which mountain did Moses talk to God?




What was unusual about the burning bush?

 



How did God describe himself?

 

 

How did God describe the land to where he would lead the Israelites?

 

What does this story teach you about the nature and character of God?


Do Christians in the twenty first century have a responsibility to help those who are suffering and oppressed? Explain your thoughts, briefly.


 


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