1. COMMUNICATION FROM GOD
a. While Moses was tending Jethro’s flocks, what was happening in Egypt? Exodus 2:23–25.
b. What experience did Moses have at the burning bush? Exodus 3:1–5.
c. What important lesson can we learn from this experience? Psalm 89:7.
“Humility and reverence should characterize the deportment of all who come into the presence of God. In the name of Jesus we may come before Him with confidence, but we must not approach Him with the boldness of presumption, as though He were on a level with ourselves. There are those who address the great and all-powerful and holy God, who dwelleth in light unapproachable, as they would address an equal, or even an inferior. There are those who conduct themselves in His house as they would not presume to do in the audience chamber of an earthly ruler. These should remember that they are in His sight whom seraphim adore, before whom angels veil their faces.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 252.
2. GOD CALLS MOSES
a. What was the Lord about to do in behalf of His people? Exodus 3:7–9.
b. How did Moses fit into God’s plan to accomplish this? Exodus 3:10; Acts 7:34, 35.
c. How did Moses respond to God’s call and what did the Lord want him to realize? Exodus 3:11–15.
“Amazed and terrified at the command, Moses drew back, saying, ‘Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?’ The reply was, ‘Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.’
“Moses thought of the difficulties to be encountered, of the blindness, ignorance, and unbelief of his people, many of whom were almost destitute of a knowledge of God. ‘Behold,’ he said, ‘when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is His name? what shall I say unto them?’ The answer was—
“‘I AM THAT I AM.’ ‘Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.’”—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 252, 253.
“Moses did not expect that this was the manner in which the Lord would use him to deliver Israel from Egypt. He thought that it would be by warfare. And when the Lord made known to him that he must stand before Pharaoh, and in His name demand him to let Israel go he shrank from the task.
“The Pharaoh before whom he was to appear, was not the one who had decreed that he should be put to death. That king was dead, and another had taken the reins of government. Nearly all the Egyptian kings were called by the name of Pharaoh. Moses would have preferred to stand at the head of the children of Israel as their general, and make war with the Egyptians. But this was not God’s plan. He would be magnified before his people, and teach not only them, but the Egyptians, that there is a living God, who has power to save, and to destroy.”—Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, pp. 189, 190.
3. GOD ASSURES MOSES
a. What message was Moses to give the elders of Israel? Exodus 3:16–20.
b. How was God going to fulfil His promise that His people would not leave Egypt empty-handed? Exodus 3:21, 22.
“The Egyptians had been enriched by the labor unjustly exacted from the Israelites, and as the latter were to start on the journey to their new home, it was right for them to claim the reward of their years of toil. They were to ask for articles of value, such as could be easily transported, and God would give them favor in the sight of the Egyptians. The mighty miracles wrought for their deliverance would strike terror to the oppressors, so that the requests of the bondmen would be granted.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 253.
c. As Moses was reluctant to accept God’s calling, what further evidence did the Lord give him of His providence? Exodus 4:1–9. How should we respond to God’s calling today?
“Moses saw before him difficulties that seemed insurmountable. What proof could he give his people that God had indeed sent him? ‘Behold,’ he said, ‘they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The Lord hath not appeared unto thee.’ Evidence that appealed to his own senses was now given. He was told to cast his rod upon the ground. As he did so, ‘it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it.’ He was commanded to seize it, and in his hand it became a rod. He was bidden to put his hand into his bosom. He obeyed, and ‘when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow.’ Being told to put it again into his bosom, he found on withdrawing it that it had become like the other. By these signs the Lord assured Moses that His own people, as well as Pharaoh, should be convinced that One mightier than the king of Egypt was manifest among them.”—Ibid., pp. 253, 254.
“Who is ready at the call of Providence to renounce cherished plans and familiar associations? Who will accept new duties and enter untried fields, doing God’s work with firm and willing heart, for Christ’s sake counting his losses gain?”—Ibid., p. 127.
4. GOD CONTINUES TO ENCOURAGE MOSES
a. What shows that Moses was still unwilling to obey God’s call? Exodus 4:10–13.
“But the servant of God was still overwhelmed by the thought of the strange and wonderful work before him. In his distress and fear he now pleaded as an excuse a lack of ready speech. . . . He had been so long away from the Egyptians that he had not so clear knowledge and ready use of their language as when he was among them. . . .
“These excuses at first proceeded from humility and diffidence; but after the Lord had promised to remove all difficulties, and to give him final success, then any further shrinking back and complaining of his unfitness showed distrust of God. It implied a fear that God was unable to qualify him for the great work to which He had called him, or that He had made a mistake in the selection of the man.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 254.
b. What help did God provide for Moses, as He patiently tried to encourage His servant? Exodus 4:14–17. How does God encourage His people today?
“Let [the members of God’s church] realize that the work in which they are engaged is one upon which the Lord has placed His signet. . . .
He bids us go forth to speak the words He gives us, feeling His holy touch upon our lips.”—God’s Amazing Grace, p. 275.
c. With what further assurance did God provide Moses? Exodus 4:18–23.
“A man will gain power and efficiency as he accepts the responsibilities that God places upon him, and with his whole soul seeks to qualify himself to bear them aright. However humble his position or limited his ability, that man will attain true greatness who, trusting to divine strength, seeks to perform his work with fidelity. Had Moses relied upon his own strength and wisdom, and eagerly accepted the great charge, he would have evinced his entire unfitness for such a work. The fact that a man feels his weakness is at least some evidence that he realizes the magnitude of the work appointed him, and that he will make God his counselor and his strength.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 255.
5. MOSES RETURNS TO EGYPT
a. As Moses accepted God’s call and went to Egypt, what happened along the way? Exodus 4:24–26. What solemn parallel can be drawn from this event?
“[Moses] had failed to comply with the condition by which his child could be entitled to the blessings of God’s covenant with Israel; and such a neglect on the part of their chosen leader could not but lessen the force of the divine precepts upon the people. . . . In his mission to Pharaoh, Moses was to be placed in a position of great peril; his life could be preserved only through the protection of holy angels. But while living in neglect of a known duty, he would not be secure; for he could not be shielded by the angels of God.
“In the time of trouble just before the coming of Christ, the righteous will be preserved through the ministration of heavenly angels; but there will be no security for the transgressor of God’s law. Angels cannot then protect those who are disregarding one of the divine precepts.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 256.
b. When Moses and Aaron arrived in Egypt and gathered together the elders, how did the people react to the message of deliverance? Exodus 4:29–31.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What does the account of Moses at the burning bush teach us regarding the manner in which we should approach God in prayer and in the sanctuary?
2. How did Moses expect God to deliver Israel from Egypt? Why didn’t God deliver Israel in this manner?
3. Why are we sometimes reluctant to accept God’s call to labor for Him?
4. What is a sign of true greatness in those who serve God?
5. In the time of trouble before us, what do those who disregard just one of the divine precepts forfeit?