The lesson reviews how God Prepares a People for
The study's aim is to help us discern the way God works
through people willing and unwilling.
The study's application is to be on alert us to the leading
of the Lord in our service to Him or worship of Him.
In our study of Genesis we saw God appear to Abraham
(Genesis 15), reaffirming his promise to make of him a
But God indicated that Abraham’s descendants would
have to remain in Egypt for 400 years (v. 13).
While the Israelites were enslaved there, a baby boy was
born. His mother hid him in a basket (a papyrus boat) and
placed it in the Nile River, hoping his life would be spared.
Pharaoh’s daughter found him and drew him out of the
water, giving him the name Moses.
Moses saw that, while he had comfort in the palace, life
for his people grew worse and worse. He wanted to help
them (Acts 7:25).
One day, thinking like the Pharaoh's son, he killed an
Egyptian in that attempt (Exodus 2:11-15). This made him
a fugitive. He fled to the land of Midian.
Some 40 years later, we find him taking care of sheep
there when today’s text begins. God appeared to him in
flames of fire from within a bush.
God called Moses by name when he came over to look.
Like Isaiah, he responded, “Here I am.” The Lord replied, “I
am the God of your father, the God of Abraham.”
The revelation of God in the burning bush showed that
though this God was unapproachably holy, he could dwell
among earthly things without destroying them (3:1-6).
That would serve Moses well when he would return back
to the mountain with the people of Israel.
Then the LORD said, “I have observed the misery of my
people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account
of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings,
God told Moses three things that should encourage him: I
see what is happening; I hear the cries of my people; and I
am concerned about them.
God was literally saying that he was experiencing the pains
of body they were put under and the inward grief and
trouble of their minds on account of them.
That is an amazing statement to imagine God can
experience our human pain and turmoil.
It might have been hard to convince the Israelites of this,
but it was true. Often we are much like them.
We complain, “Where is God when I need him?” Martha
told Jesus, “If you had been here, my brother would not
have died” (John 11:21).
God still sees, hears, and is concerned—even when we
don’t recognize the fact.
Lesson: God knows each of us and our circumstances
better than we know ourselves (Exod. 3:7; Ps. 139:1-6)
Who of us does not have a bias to our success or failure?
We spend a lot of energy explaining to others how they
should see our situation or appreciate us. Yet we know
they do not see the whole story but God does.
For better or worse, He understands our situation and us
as they truly are. Our gratitude should be that His
answers will reflect that truth and we will be more honest
with ourselves and others.
and I have come down to deliver them from the
Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good
and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the
country of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the
Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.
“I have come down to rescue them.” Often the Lord uses
people to do his work. He “comes down” through his
God would express that desire in His incarnation when
Jesus came into the world one night centuries later in
For now, he offers them a good and spacious land where
the people would be freed from their oppressive
confinement in Egypt.
The proverbial expression—a land flowing with milk and
honey—was often used to describe the fertility and
loveliness of Canaan (Deuteronomy 6:3).
God had seen the Egyptians oppress his people, even
though the Israelites were unaware of His compassion.
The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also
seen how the Egyptians oppress them.
The Israelites had been crying unto the Lord long before
this time but it was not a prayer of repentance for
The oppression of the Egyptians was growing so obvious
that the Israelites knew they must relent or they would
With Moses now prepared, God is able to respond to
that cry as He had planned.
So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my
people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.”
“I am sending you to Pharaoh,” the Lord told Moses.
Earlier Moses thought he was ready to be a deliverer and
judge for his people.
Now God tells him that he is assigning Moses that very
task. But this time, Moses was hesitant.
This was the first of several expressions of his reluctance
(3:13; 4:1, 10, 13). One has to wonder what changed
Moses so dramatically.
Lesson: In His goodness and grace, God usually enlists
people to accomplish His plans (Exod. 3:10)
As God knows the truth about us and our needs, He also
has access to those He will enlist to help us that we may
not imagine or worse, do not want. Not only do we want
the answers we want, there are others we would just as
soon not know our need.
God is not distracted by our personal preferences. He
sends just the people we need to meet that need. We
must be open to help no matter the hand that delivers it.
But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to
Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
Sometime before he had offered himself of his own accord
both as a deliverer and judge; but now he had learned
humility in the school of Midian, and was filled in
consequence with distrust of his own power and fitness.
Perhaps shame for his previous attempt that led to his
exile by the Egyptians and his rejection by the Hebrews
narrowed his view for the role he could play.
The Pharaoh could rightly have him executed and the
sheer number of Israelites who did not know him made
the chances to lead appear futile.
What Moses did not understand was that God was going
to redeem not just a nation but this man He had ordained
He said, “I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for
you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the
people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this
Moses had come to realize his weakness.
God, however, promised to add his strength (2 Corinthians
12:9). “I will be with you.”
What more could one ask? Jesus gave similar assurance to
his followers (Matthew 28:20).
God promised Moses a sign (v. 12).
Although he showed him other signs and let him perform
miracles for the Egyptians, this sign still required faith.
One day in the future, the Lord told Moses, the Israelites
would worship God at this very place, Mount Sinai, after
Lesson: God always enables those He enlists for His
service (Exod. 3:11 -12; Isa. 41:10; Phil. 4:13)
Man’s greatest habit behind blaming another is offering an
excuse. Blame may deflect the issue but excuses hope to
diffuse them. Adam may have invented blame but Moses
perfected excuses. God would have neither.
But for us, excuses have the greater danger. We may
actually believe our own excuses and step away from our
responsibilities. If not God, ask someone to validate any
excuse you may have for a moral responsibility.
But Moses said to God, “If I come to the Israelites and say
to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’
and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to
Moses raised an objection. When I tell the Egyptians that
God has sent me, they might ask, “’What is his name?’
Then what should I tell them?”
Moses knew they worshipped multiple gods.
God responded, “I am who I am.”
James E. Smith points out that this ‘name’ can be
rendered a number of different ways in English. “The
name basically emphasizes the timelessness of God.
He is the self-existing one, the Eternal, the one without
beginning or end.
The God of Israel’s ancestors was to be identified by the
name Yahweh (he who is) throughout the generations.”
God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” He said
further, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I AM has sent
me to you.’”
This signifies the real being of God.
It denotes his eternity and immutability, and his
constancy and faithfulness in fulfilling his promises, for it
includes all time, past, present, and to come.
The sense is, not only I am what I am at present, but I am
what I have been, and I am what I shall be, and shall be
what I am. It is hard even now to comprehend.
This is the name Ehjeh, or Jehovah, Moses is empowered
to make use of, and to declare, as the name of the Great
God by whom he was sent.
That would serve both to encourage him, and strengthen
the faith of the Israelites, that they should be delivered by
him who knew them before now, even now and in the
God further said to Moses, ‘You are to tell the Israelites,
“Yahweh, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham,
the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, has sent me to
you.” This is my name for all time, and thus I am to be
invoked for all generations to come.
God defines His name as LORD. In Hebrew meaning
Jehovah; a word of the same root and signification with I
This he adds, because God was best known to the
Israelites by that name; and to show, that though he had
given himself a new name, yet he was the same God.
It is the name we most use for God now.
Lesson: It is God's character that ultimately motivates men
to trust and obey (Exod. 3:13-15)
Sermons or books cannot change your life of faith. They
may inspire or encourage but your commitment cannot be
one of honest faith till you and God have wrestled over
the issue. Before you post it to your blog or lecture
another, come to terms with what you believe and what
Subject to God’s opinion as seen in His Word. Then
engage God in that honest conversation for which He is
Go and assemble the elders of Israel, and say to
them, ‘The LORD, the God of your ancestors, the God of
Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has appeared to
me, saying: I have given heed to you and to what has been
done to you in Egypt.
Before Moses would be sent to Pharaoh, however, God
sent him to his own people. They must first be told of the
Lord’s plan (Amos 3:7).
God directed Moses to begin by assembling the elders of
Israel and telling them how the Lord had appeared to him.
“I have watched over you and have seen what has been
done to you in Egypt. . . . I have promised to bring you up
out of your misery.” The Lord Himself will bring the people
into the Promised Land (see. v. 7).
I declare that I will bring you up out of the misery of
Egypt, to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the
Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, a
land flowing with milk and honey.’”
This was probably contrary to what most of the elders and
people of Israel desired. In four hundred years, you set
They probably had no desire to return to the Promised
Land; all they wanted was to be made more comfortable
But God is concerned with His immutable plan and
keeping His covenant with their forefathers. This is not a
multiple choice test.
They would be familiar with the promise and bounty of
the land being offered but they were also aware of the
ferocity of these tribes and the threat they posed.
They were less inclined to exchange one master they knew
for several they did not. They thought like slaves.
Lesson: To be effective, God's Word must be shared (Exodus
Personal time with God is critical to our relationship with Him
and our faith in Him. Yet that Word cannot take its fullest
form in our lives till we share it with someone. Otherwise, our
behaviors can be interpreted differently and our beliefs kept
We hesitate to share God’s Word given to us because sharing
it breeds accountability. We become that Word and God is
judged through us. One can understand the reluctance but
cannot excuse it. Salvation is still found through the lips.
Considered as a practical history, this sending away of
Moses into the wilderness, and his long sojourn there, is
full of instruction.
God shows Himself to us as destroying the hope of the
flesh and humbling its strength.
He makes of the adopted son of the Pharaoh a
shepherd, under the protection of a stranger for forty
years, before he can undertake God's work so that the
work might be a work of obedience and the strength that
of God so that Moses would not lean to his own
Moses will need this unseen strength for the task and the
people he would have to confront and those he would
lead which often were the same.