Moses is a fascinating character. His life, which can be divided into three sections of forty years each, had moments of outrageousness and ordinariness. His first forty years were in Pharaoh’s court. After his poor attempt to stick up for a fellow Israelite ended with him fleeing for his life, he spent the next forty years as a shepherd working for his father-in-law. His final forty years were as the leader of the nation of Israel. Though his years in Pharaoh’s household could be considered outrageous, they were nothing compared with his encounter with the living God in Exodus 3.
Divide your life into three equal parts (as equal as you can). Share with your group something that happened in each of those parts that made you into who you are today.
Read Acts 7:19-29, and give a brief biography of Moses’ life up to when he saw the burning bush.
Read Exodus 3:1-14. After Moses fled Egypt, he met Jethro and married one of his daughters. He is now about 80 years old, and makes his living as a shepherd. It seems that he must have known that God intended to use him to do something special (Acts 7:20a, 25), and yet for 40 years he had lived an ordinary life. How do you think he felt during those years? Lonely? Purposeless? Unfulfilled? ….?
Stephen’s account of Moses’ life in Acts 7 has some interesting additions. We learn in Acts 7:22 that while in Egypt, Moses “was powerful in speech and action”. Yet in Exodus 4:10, Moses says to God, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” How would you explain the discrepancy between the passages?
List below the five questions/objections Moses has for God (some are found in Exodus 4). Why do you think he was so reluctant to follow God’s call?
- ___________________________ (Ex 3:11)
- ___________________________ (Ex 3:13)
- ___________________________ (Ex 4:1)
- ___________________________ (Ex 4:10)
- ___________________________ (Ex 4:13)
When you know that God has asked you to do something, have you ever questioned Him or asked Him to use someone else? What happens when you respond to God’s prompting? What happens when you don’t?
God answered Moses’ question about Who He is with the statement, “I am who I am.” There are at least three possible translations for this statement – “I am who I am”, “I will be what I will be”, or “I am what I am”. Regardless of the translation, what does this statement mean to you?
After his personal encounter with God at the burning bush, Moses’ life takes an outrageous turn. He goes before Pharaoh to bring a message from God – “Let My people go!” He leads a nation out of slavery, performs many miracles, talks face-to-face with God, and introduced the people of Israel to the Ten Commandments. None of this was done through his own strength. Read Numbers 12:3, 6-8a and Deuteronomy 34:10-12 and discuss the ‘secret’ to Moses’ outrageous life.
1One day Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian. He led the flock far into the wilderness and came to Sinai, the mountain of God. 2There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush. Moses stared in amazement. Though the bush was engulfed in flames, it didn’t burn up. 3“This is amazing,” Moses said to himself. “Why isn’t that bush burning up? I must go see it.” 4When the Lord saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!” “Here I am!” Moses replied. 5“Do not come any closer,” the Lord warned. “Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground. 6I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” When Moses heard this, he covered his face because he was afraid to look at God. 7Then the Lord told him, “I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering. 8So I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and lead them out of Egypt into their own fertile and spacious land. It is a land flowing with milk and honey—the land where the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites now live. 9Look! The cry of the people of Israel has reached me, and I have seen how harshly the Egyptians abuse them. 10Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.” 11But Moses protested to God, “Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?” 12God answered, “I will be with you. And this is your sign that I am the one who has sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God at this very mountain.” 13But Moses protested, “If I go to the people of Israel and tell them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ they will ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what should I tell them?” 14God replied to Moses, “I am who I am. Say this to the people of Israel: I am has sent me to you.”
In his book, Outrageous, Aaron Tredway states that “It’s not always our ability that makes the difference; sometimes it’s just our willingness to try.”* Do you, like Moses, feel unqualified to do something God is calling you to do? If so, “Awake to God’s choice of the unqualified to accomplish His work.”* Share with your group something God has been calling you to, and then embrace the outrageous and take action.
* Outrageous, Page 133