The Call of Moses and the Exodus

Discovery for Teachers

The Call of Moses and the Exodus


Exodus 1:1 through 11:10

“And I will stretch out my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in the midst thereof: and after that he will let you go.” (Exodus 3:20)


Approximately four hundred years had passed since Joseph had brought his family to dwell in Egypt. The Children of Israel were in Egypt from about 1800 B.C. to approximately 1400 B.C., and while the early part of their stay had been favorable, the latter years were spent in slavery. The Pharaoh ruling Egypt at the time of Moses’ birth was greatly concerned because the Hebrew population had increased to nearly two million, so he took steps to control their expansion. Oppressed and afflicted, the heart’s cry of the Hebrews was for deliverance.

The theme of Exodus is just that: deliverance. The opening chapters give an account of how the Children of Israel were forced into slavery in Egypt, the birth of Moses, God’s calling of Moses to leadership, Moses’ dealings with Pharaoh, and the plagues that God sent against the Egyptians. Time and again, we see what a special relationship Moses had with God. Initially, God spoke to him through a burning bush, and communicated with him directly several more times during the process of the release of the Children of Israel. God performed many miracles in leading His chosen people out of Egypt. In so doing, He displayed His awesome power.

It is interesting to note that many of the plagues sent upon Egypt were a direct insult to the gods the Egyptians worshipped.

• Hapi, the god of the Nile River, could not prevent the river from turning to blood.

• Hathor, the cow goddess, could not prevent the Egyptian cattle from dying.

• Osiris, the god of vegetation, could not protect their crops.

• Ra, the sun god, could not stop the three days of darkness that God sent upon the land.

• Seth, the god of chaos, was supposed to protect from anything that threatened the harmony of Egypt, but clearly was unable to withstand the power of the God of the Hebrews.

• Isis, the protective goddess, was supposed to bring help to those in need, but the dire results of Pharaoh’s defiance could not be lessened.

The plagues showed the inadequacy, and in fact, the non-existence of these purported gods.


  1. Through what series of miraculous events did a Hebrew baby become a prince in the palace of the Pharaoh of Egypt? Exodus 1:22; 2:1-10

    Lead your class in summarizing how, in spite of Pharaoh’s decree that all Hebrew baby boys were to be killed at birth, God preserved Moses. His mother kept him hidden for three months, and when that could not be done any longer, she made an ark of bulrushes and placed him in the river. There the infant was discovered by the daughter of Pharoah, whose heart was moved with sympathy. Moses’ own mother was summoned to be the baby’s nursemaid, and the child Moses was raised as the son of Pharoah’s daughter.

    Ask your class if they ever feel surrounded by the enemy and powerless against his forces. In such times, what lesson can we learn through the miraculous preservation of Moses? Discussion should bring out that God can intervene to protect and preserve His own, no matter how impossible the circumstances may appear to our finite understanding. We must focus on God and trust Him for deliverance, or for grace to endure if deliverance according to our hopes is not His divine purpose.

  2. After spending forty years tending sheep in the desert, God spoke to Moses from a burning bush that was not consumed. What was God’s command to Moses in Exodus 3:5, and what did Moses’ response signify?

    God’s command to Moses was that he was not to come near, but was to put off his shoes, because the place where he stood was holy ground. Moses’ response indicated that he realized he was in the presence of God. The symbolic action of taking off his shoes was not only an act of obedience, but also one of reverence, and conveyed his own sense of unworthiness and humility before God.

    This question provides a good opportunity to discuss the fact that the places and the presence of God are to be honored and viewed as holy in our day as well. He is to be regarded with awe and respect. Ask your class: what are some ways we can show reverence and respect to God when we come into His house?

  3. Read Exodus 3:7-8. What did God promise Moses He would do for the Children of Israel? How can we find encouragement when we apply these verses to our own lives?

    God promised to deliver the Children of Israel from Egyptian bondage and to bring them into a land that flowed with milk and honey. Focus class attention on the three key words in verse 7: God let Moses know that He had seen the afflictions of His people, He had heard their cry, and He knew their sorrows.

    God is the same today. We will face challenges in life, but God sees our afflictions, He hears our cries, and He knows our sorrows. As we follow the Lord in obedience, we can be assured of His care and provision. We may not experience physical deliverance from every trial, but God will be with us. We can be assured of ultimate deliverance and victory in the hereafter.

    You may wish to encourage your students to share experiences in their personal lives of when God was near in a time of difficulty, and ultimately brought victory.

  4. In Exodus 3:12, God promised Moses a token. What was that token?

    The token God promised Moses was that, when the people came out of Egypt, they would serve God “upon this mountain,” the very place where the burning bush incident took place. Mount Sinai (also referred to as Mount Horeb), is located between Midian and Egypt. This promise, and its realization, would give an assurance both to Moses and the Children of Israel that God was leading them.

    The point should be made that God does not always give visible or physical tokens. It may be that such reassurances are more needed in an individual’s early walk with the Lord. As we grow and mature as Christians, we may be required to walk more by faith. However, wherever we are in our spiritual journey, we can be assured that when God makes a promise, it will be realized.

  5. God told Moses, “Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you” (Exodus 3:14). In the original Hebrew, the tense used could equally indicate past, present, or future. Why would that have been significant to Moses? What encouragement is found in this verse for us?

    “I AM” reflected more than God’s transcendent existence; it also indicated that His divine Presence would be with Moses and Israel in the present and future, just as He had been with Israel’s forefathers in the past (see verse 15).

    These verses speak to us of the eternal power and unchanging character of God. We live in a world where moral beliefs and civil laws are constantly changing, but we can find stability and assurance in the fact that God never changes.

  6. Moses saw the challenges of his assignment and was reluctant to accept it. What excuses did he offer God, and how did God respond? Exodus 4:1-17

    First, Moses protested that the people would not believe him, nor hearken to his voice. Then he offered the excuse that he was not eloquent, but was slow of speech. God responded by demonstrating His power, and then stating He would allow Aaron to accompany Moses as his spokesman.

    Class discussion of this passage should bring out that a lack of confidence, or an awareness of our own limitations, is never justification for avoiding God’s call. God understands when we feel inadequate for the tasks He gives us, but He does not change His mind. It is easy for us to focus on our weaknesses, but if God calls us to do something, we can be sure He will help us accomplish the task by providing what we need to obey Him.

  7. When Moses appeared before Pharaoh to request that the Israelites be allowed to leave to worship their God, the ruler refused. His stubborn disobedience brought terrible suffering upon himself and his entire country. What were the first nine plagues God sent upon Egypt? Exodus 7:14-25; 8:1-7, 16-19, 24; 9:1-12, 22-26; 10:12-15, 21-26

    You may wish to compile a list with your students.

    • Exodus 7:14-25 — Water turned to blood

    • Exodus 8:1-7 — Invasion of frogs

    • Exodus 8:16-19 — Plague of lice

    • Exodus 8:24 — Swarms of flies

    • Exodus 9:1-7 — Pestilence upon livestock

    • Exodus 9:8-12 — Painful boils

    • Exodus 9:22-26 — Hailstorm

    • Exodus 10:12-15 — Plague of locusts

    • Exodus 10:21-26 — Three days of darkness

  8. Pharaoh’s sorcerers were able to mimic some of Moses’ miracles through enchantments (see Exodus 7:22 and 8:7). Ironically, they only made matters worse. Why were the sorcerers unable to reverse the plagues?

    The sorcerers were unable to reverse the plagues because God did not permit them to do so. While Satan has power, he can only operate within the boundaries that God allows. Eventually, even the sorcerers had to acknowledge the plagues were from God (see Exodus 8:19).
  9. How did God demonstrate His concern for Israel during the plagues? Exodus 8:22-23; 9:4-7, 26; 10:23

    God prevented the flies from entering the land of Goshen, protected the livestock of the Hebrews, did not allow hail to fall upon Goshen, and did not allow the darkness to overspread the Hebrews in the land of Goshen — all things only God could do! Bring out to your class that, in Exodus 8:23, the word translated division means, “a distinction.” Because the Children of Israel belonged to God in a special way, God made a distinction between them and the heathen people of Egypt. God’s hand was over them and provided deliverance.
  10. What suggestion did Pharaoh make in Exodus 8:25, and how did Moses respond? What lesson can we learn from his response?

    Pharaoh suggested the Children of Israel sacrifice in the land of Egypt rather than traveling out of Egypt. Moses responded that this was not acceptable.

    Class response to the second question should bring out that God requires complete obedience. At times in our Christian lives, unbelievers may urge us to compromise or to only partially obey God’s commands. However, we must respond as Moses did and let it be known that we have no intention of giving only partial obedience to Him. The fact is, partial obedience is really just disobedience.

    You may wish to wrap up your class session with the thought that God was not done with Pharaoh and Egypt. In next Sunday’s lesson, we will study the final culmination of God’s dealing with Egypt, and the great deliverance He brought about for the Children of Israel.


The life of Moses should be an inspiration to all of us. Although he felt inadequate to face the challenges of the task assigned him by God, he ultimately followed. The lesson is plain: God knows us better than we know ourselves, so we must simply trust Him and obey. The command of God will never lead us where the power of God cannot enable us!