Bible Study Review – Exodus 3:1-4:17

Need to know what’s going on before Exodus 3? Check out previous reviews to get caught up

Exodus 3: 1-9, God Appears to Moses

Some amount of time has passed since Moses left Egypt – not told how much, but its long enough that he has established a new life with his new family

Moses is out with his flock and sees a bush on fire

  1. Burning bushes are not a rare occurence in the desert (dry climate, extreme heat, only a few plants in an otherwise flat surface all contribute to lightning strikes which lead to fire).  What it is rare about this bush is that although it is on fire it does not burn up
  2. Moses notices this and goes to investigate
    1. Moses sees a familiar thing but notices a subtle difference. That difference is God getting his attention
    2. What’s our burning bush? What is the thing from our everyday life that God is using to get our attention

For the first time in the book of Exodus, God speaks in verse 4

  1. God declares the ground holy and Moses responds in reverence and awe to the presence of God
  2. God’s message: “I have seen the people’s suffering, I have heard their cries, I am concerned, and I am going to act
    1. God says “I have come down” – this is the difference between Israel’s God and the other gods of their world, this God comes down and acts on their behalf because of their suffering
    2. Obviously an important statement for Christianity as well.  Just as God came down to save the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt God came down in the incarnation of Jesus and saves us from slavery to sin
  3. God promises to lead the people to land that is the opposite of their current condition – the land will be good and spacious and flowing with milk and honey – they will have space and abundance

Verse 10 – Everything Changes – Moses is going to be the one to go to Pharaoh and get the people out

  1. Keep in mind, this Pharaoh is of the same family that ordered the murder of babies just to try to break the will of slaves, he’s probably not going to respond too well to Moses’ request
    1. Signing up for this mission probably means embracing a real danger – Moses could easily wind up being killed
  2. We can assume Moses was in favor of what God was doing until he found out he was going to have to take a risk – Too often we’re all about the things of God until it costs us something.
    1. Reality – truly embracing God’s call will mean giving something up and risking something.  It may not be our lives, but it could easily be our wealth, our comfort, or our relationships.  We can’t truly dedicate ourselves to the things God desires and not give something up

3:11 – 4:17 – Moses’ Excuses and God’s Response

Moses gives five reasons/excuses why he’s not the one for the job.  God responds to each one, but not in the way we might think.  God doesn’t try to solve Moses’ fears, God tells Moses why those things won’t matter because of who God is.

  1. 3:11-12:
    • Moses’ reason – “Who am I to do this thing” – false humility, “there’s probably someone better.”
    • God’s response – “I will be with you.” It doesn’t matter who Moses is, God is the one who will be working
  2. 3:13-22
    • Moses’ reason – “They’ll want to know your name, what do I tell them”
    • God’s response – “I am who I am.”  Then reminds Moses of the ways God has already been faithful to the people and gives promises of what will happen.  God’s name isn’t what matters, who God is is defined by what God has done and will do
  3. 4:1-9
    • Moses’s reason – “What if they don’t believe me?”
    • God’s response – gives Moses the ability to perform three signs, each one more impressive then the next
  4. 4:10-12
    • Moses’ reason – “I’m not a good speaker”
    • God’s response – “Who gives anyone the ability to speak? I will give you the words to say.”
  5. 4:12-17
    • Moses’ reason – “Please send someone else!” – He just comes out and says he doesn’t want to do it
    • God’s response – “Take your brother Aaron with you.” God gives Moses help but makes it clear that Moses is still the one in charger


Takeaway: It is an intense and possibly dangerous thing that God is calling Moses to do, but it actually isn’t anything Moses hasn’t done before.  Three times in Exodus 2 Moses stands up to the powerful to protect the powerless.  His life has already been defined by siding against the oppressor and defending the oppressed.  The great work of his life that God calls him to in this moment is just what his life has already been about on a larger scale.  The things God calls us to can be intense.  They may be dangerous.  They will almost assuredly cost of something.  But they aren’t going to ask of us something that isn’t already inside of us.  Despite his excuses Moses is always going to end up going because that is who he is.  When we figure out what the passion is inside us that drives us we can begin to see where God is calling us to go.


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