International / Uniform Adult Sunday School Lesson for November 3, 2013
Purpose: To understand and overcome our resistance to God’s call
Background: Exodus 1 - 4
Exodus 3: 7-17
7 Then the Lord said, "I’ve clearly seen my people oppressed in Egypt. I’ve heard their cry of injustice because of their slave masters. I know about their pain. 8 I’ve come down to rescue them from the Egyptians in order to take them out of that land and bring them to a good and broad land, a land that’s full of milk and honey, a place where the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites all live. 9 Now the Israelites’ cries of injustice have reached me. I’ve seen just how much the Egyptians have oppressed them. 10 So get going. I’m sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt."
11 But Moses said to God, "Who am I to go to Pharaoh and to bring the Israelites out of Egypt?"
12 God said, "I’ll be with you. And this will show you that I’m the one who sent you. After you bring the people out of Egypt, you will come back here and worship God on this mountain."
13 But Moses said to God, "If I now come to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ they are going to ask me, ‘What’s this God’s name?’ What am I supposed to say to them?"
14 God said to Moses, "I Am Who I Am. So say to the Israelites, ‘I Am has sent me to you.’" 15 God continued, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your ancestors, Abraham’s God, Isaac’s God, and Jacob’s God, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever; this is how all generations will remember me.
16 “Go and get Israel’s elders together and say to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has appeared to me. The Lord said, "I’ve been paying close attention to you and to what has been done to you in Egypt. 17 I’ve decided to take you away from the harassment in Egypt to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, a land full of milk and honey."
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter
Our lesson this week spans the time between Jacob/Israel and Moses. Some of my comments are strictly speculation on my part, because there is limited scripture to back it up.
Jacob/Israel’s son Joseph had become a very powerful individual in Egypt. He was a national hero to most Egyptians. Joseph had the foresight, with God’s help, to build large granaries so Egypt could withstand a horrific famine. The famine spread over much of the area including the land God had given to Abraham. Joseph had used his power to provide for his father and brothers and enabled them to also survive this awful famine. Joseph’s family not only survived but became prosperous. ( Genesis 47:3 Pharaoh said to Joseph’s brothers, "What do you do? "They said to Pharaoh, "Your servants are shepherds, both we and our ancestors." 4 They continued, "We’ve come to the land as immigrants because the famine is so severe in the land of Canaan that there are no more pastures for your servants’ flocks. Please allow your servants to settle in the land of Goshen."
5 Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Since your father and brothers have arrived, 6 the land of Egypt is available to you. Settle your father and brothers in the land’s best location. Let them live in the land of Goshen.) So the family of Joseph grew and prospered in the land of Goshen in Egypt.
During these 400 years there is a void in scripture, until we get to Exodus 1:(8 Now a new king came to power in Egypt who didn’t know Joseph.) Joseph’s influence was gone. No one recalled what Joseph had accomplished, they only knew that this group of immigrants had grown into a sizable community and occupied the best land in all of Egypt. The present Pharaoh felt threatened and took extreme measures to stop the growth of these immigrants. In addition to his unique form of birth control, he also made them slaves to do the menial labor for the Egyptians.
My conjecture comes on what had transpired during those 400 years. Our text reads like God just let them suffer for 400 years, I doubt that presumption. During those 400 years I think God was involved in the daily lives of all those that loved Him and served Him. The text as recorded in the first few chapters of Exodus shows how God continued to work among his people.
From the first few chapters of Exodus we learn a little bit about Moses. His father and mother were both from the tribe of Levi. He had an older brother and sister. (Aaron and Miriam) He was raised in Pharaoh's household by Pharoah’s daughter. While he was a prince, he also realized he was an Israelite/Hebrew by birth and one day while he was walking around he saw Israelites/Hebrews being beaten by Pharaoh's soldiers. In defending the Israelites/Hebrews he killed an Egyptian soldier. Not able to hide this from Pharaoh he left Egypt and went to the Sinai and settled in Midian. Married the daughter of a priest and became a shepherd.
God’s timing is always perfect, Moses had forty years to mature. God needed someone familiar with the government in Egypt, who better than Moses to go back and become the one who would lead God’s people out of the bondage of Egypt and into the land that had been promised by God to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Moses had all of the qualifications God required except one, he was not that willing to go.
When Moses questions God about his qualifications, God simply says, “it is not you, it is me.” Or as our text says, “I’ll be with you.”
In verse 13 we have an interesting exchange between God and Moses. 13 But Moses said to God, "If I now come to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ they are going to ask me, ‘What’s this God’s name?’ What am I supposed to say to them?"
14 God said to Moses, "I Am Who I Am. So say to the Israelites, ‘I Am has sent me to you.’"
I find it interesting that Jesus uses the same terminology when He talks about himself, saying “I am the light of the world,” to the woman at the well he says, “I am the one who speaks with you.” “I am the bread of life” or “If you don’t believe that I am, you will die in your sins.” or “When the Human One is lifted up, then you will know that I Am.” He also says “I am the gate.” “I am the good shepherd.” I am the way, the truth, and the life” “I am the vine.” All of these can be found in the Gospel of John. I hope this gives you a better understanding of what God was saying about Himself to Moses.
God closes this discourse by saying it is time to go to work, take what you have learned and what I have taught you and go bring out these immigrants, and take them to the land I have promised.