What comes to mind when you think of Moses? I can remember sitting in Sunday School as a child and hearing the story of Moses’ being placed in the Nile River and being rescued by Pharaoh’s daughter. We sat in a semicircle of little chairs and the teacher had a picture which included not only Moses but also Moses’ sister, Miriam, with whom I identified. Maybe this is the story you remember or perhaps you picture Moses and the children of Israel at the crossing of the Red Sea with the walls of water on each side and with the Egyptians in pursuit. This week we’ll look at another well-known story about Moses—the one about Moses and the burning bush.
1. Where was Moses and what was he doing when the angel of the Lord appeared to him? (3:1-2)
2. Who called to Moses from the burning bush and how did He identify Himself? (3:4-6)
Because Israel has frequently been in the furnace of affliction throughout history, though not consumed, Jews have identified the burning bush as a symbol of their race. This symbol often appears on the walls of synagogues or in other prominent places not only in modern Israel but also in settlements of Jews around the world. The fire also probably symbolized the presence of God dwelling among His people (cf. Gen. 15:17; Exod. 19:18; 40:38). God was with His people in their affliction (cf. Deut. 31:6; Josh. 1:5; Dan. 3:25; Heb. 13:5). This was the first time God had revealed Himself to Moses, or anyone else as far as Scripture records, for over 430 years (v.4).6
3. What did God tell Moses He had come down to do for His people? (3:8) Through whom was God going to bring His people out of Egypt? (3:10)
4. The exchange between the Lord and Moses consists of a series of questions and responses. Look up the questions Moses asked (and his excuses) and the responses God gave him. Use the chart below to record what you find.
Who am I?
Who are You?
5. Which of the questions did God not answer directly? Why?
6. In Exodus 3:16-22, God gave Moses His plan. What response would the following groups have to Moses’ message?
7. Can you identify with Moses and with his feelings of inadequacy? What are some areas in which God might want to use you, but in which you are holding back, perhaps out of fear?
8. Read Jeremiah 1:4-9. How did Jeremiah feel when God called him to be a prophet? What were his hesitations? How did God answer him?
God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM"; and He said,
"Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, `I AM has sent me to you.' "
Exodus 3:14 NASB
In Exodus 3, we read how God announced his name to Moses as “I AM WHO I AM” (v.14) - a phrase of which “Yahweh” (Jehovah, “the LORD”) is a shortened form (v.15). This name is not a description of God, but simply a declaration of his self-existence and his eternal changelessness, a reminder to mankind that he has life in himself, and that what he is now, he is eternally.7
After looking at Moses’ reluctance, it’s hard to believe that this is the same man who stood before Pharaoh and who led the children of Israel as they crossed the Red Sea. Perhaps you are reluctant to follow God. What do the following verses, written to those seeking to trust God, tell you that might help you and encourage you to be God-confident?
2 Timothy 1:7
Are you surprised to learn that some of the great leaders in Scripture struggled with the same feelings of inadequacy that you do? I am certainly encouraged to know that I am not alone in believing I can’t do something. What is the real problem with this kind of thinking? I am looking at myself and comparing myself to the task to which God has called me. No wonder I feel inadequate. I am inadequate. Yet God does not call me to do anything for Him out of my own resources. He calls me to be faithful and to allow Him to work through me. Yes, this involves stepping out in faith. Yes, this is scary. Yes, I don’t always know the entire plan or the outcome. But He is always faithful.
For several years, the winter student retreat at our church was called “It’s Not All about Me.” As parents, we all loved that title. What a great message to emphasize with students in junior high and high school! But we moms need to hear that message as well. It’s not all about us. It’s about Him. It’s about His will, His plan, His enabling, and His faithfulness. The reason we cannot see clearly is because our focus is on ourselves and not on Him.
God gave Moses what he needed to be the leader and the deliverer of the children of Israel. As believers, we have been given what we need to accomplish the task God has assigned us to. Let’s look together at Ephesians 1 to see what we have been given “in Christ.”
1. Read Ephesians 1 and notice the blessings you have been given because you are in Christ. (Look for the words like “in Christ”, “in Him”, and “through Jesus Christ,” Record at least 5 blessings and the verse from which you found each blessing.. Be sure to thank the Lord for what He has given you!
v.3 every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places
v.4 chosen, holy, and blameless
How can I teach my children to be God-confident? Certainly the first way we teach anything to our children is by example. As we moms learn to allow God to work through us instead of allowing feelings of inadequacy to hold us back, our children will watch us step out in faith. The second way we can teach our children to be God-confident is to teach them from their earliest days that God created them and He has designed them uniquely. He knew them and the plans He had for them before they were ever born. Our children are special because they are created in God’s image.
We taught the idea of being created by God to our children when they were very young. We wanted to make sure they knew the truth first. Later when someone told them they just happened or that they evolved by chance, that person would be contradicting the truth they already knew and believed. In other words, we wanted them to know the truth first so they could recognize a lie.
1. Psalm 139:13-18 tells us that God designed us before we were born. Read these verses and write 2 or 3 sentences that summarize them in language you could use with a small child to explain how God created him or her.
2. Look again at the call of Moses and the call of Jeremiah. How does God remind each of them of His design?
Moses had asked, "Who am I?" implying his complete inadequacy for his calling. God replied, "I am who I am!" (Exodus 3:14) implying His complete adequacy. The issue was not who Moses was but who God is. I believe God meant, I am the God of your forefathers who proved myself long ago as completely adequate for all their needs, so it really doesn't matter who you are, Moses. Moses would learn the complete adequacy of God himself in the events that followed. Later, Pharaoh would say, "Who is the LORD?" (5:2), and God's response was, "I am the LORD!" (6:2, 6, 8). Pharaoh, too, then learned God's complete adequacy. The real issue, then, was, and is, who God is.8
Do you know the I AM, the God who is adequate? Have you experienced His sufficiency? If you are feeling inadequate for the task He has called you to, cry out to Him and step out in God-confidence because you know and rely on the great I AM.
7 J.I. Packer, Knowing God (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1973), 78.
8 Constable, “Notes on Exodus”.