Exodus 2:11 through 4:17

Daybreak for Students

Exodus 2:11 through 4:17

Exodus 2
Exodus 3
Exodus 4
Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt. — Exodus 3:10

Harold Barrett was a young father when he repented of his sins and gave his life to God. His wife, Sally, was saved just a few days later. Harold would often testify that when the Lord saved him, he determined to put his whole heart into the Gospel and “pay any price that God might require.” He asked the Lord for a burden for souls, and shortly thereafter was given the privilege of visiting merchant ships in Portland’s harbor to invite the crewmen to church. That opportunity led to the couple entertaining crewmen in their home, and hundreds of contacts were made and friendships established. Many times the Korean seafaring men asked Harold if there was an Apostolic Faith Church in their country. When he would respond that there was not, they often asked, “Why don’t you come to Korea?”

In 1966, the Barretts made their first trip to South Korea and spent seven months visiting acquaintances all over the country. Harold’s heart was grieved when they were asked again and again why this organization did not have a church there. After they returned home, his pastor asked, “Harold, would you and Sally like to go to Korea as missionaries?” Harold later recounted, “There was no hesitation in my heart, and I knew not in Sally’s heart either, so I said yes. We rented our home, gave the family business to our sons, and were ready for the greatest adventure of our lives.” 

Harold and Sally Barrett lived in Korea for many years and made numerous trips back once they were again living in the United States. Today our organization has six churches in South Korea, and multiple generations there have heard the Gospel because of the Barretts’ willingness to answer the call and start sharing the Good News.

In our text today, Moses too received a call from God. Years before, he had felt the burden to help his people, but he had not waited for God’s direction and had taken matters into his own hands. However, as we can see in the focus verse, God in His own time called Moses to lead the Children of Israel out of Egypt. By then, having spent forty years in the desert, Moses was hesitant to answer. However, God was emphatic with His instructions, and Moses ultimately obeyed.

God calls each of us to serve Him. We may not be called to go far from home as missionaries, or to lead a nation out of slavery, but we are told to share the good news of God’s love wherever we can. Maybe God wants us to witness to a fellow employee, lend a helping hand to a neighbor, or teach a class in Sunday school. There are many callings, but what is important is our willingness to do what God wants us to do. By His grace, we can answer His call. 


This text block describes how Moses endeavored to defend a Hebrew slave and ended up fleeing to Midian and becoming a shepherd. It also describes his call from God at the burning bush, which took place about forty years after his abrupt departure from Egypt. 

Egypt at this time was a highly developed civilization, especially in the areas of mathematics, engineering, and astronomy. They had an accurate calendar and had constructed edifices whose remains exist to this day. Moses no doubt was trained in the most advanced schools, where his instruction would have included international relationships and military logistics. 

The training by his mother in his early years was reflected in Moses’ life as he grew to adulthood. He knew that he was a Hebrew by birth, and his heart was moved by his people’s persecution. When he was forty years old, he slew an Egyptian in defense of a Hebrew and then fled to Midian. The Midianites were descendents of Abraham and Keturah, who lived in the southern part of the Sinai Peninsula — east of what is now the Gulf of Aqaba. There, Moses was taken in by a priest named Reuel (also known as Jethro), which means “friend of God.” Moses married Reuel’s daughter and had children. The name of his first son was Gershom, which means “refugee,” indicating that his heart was still with the Israelites. Meanwhile, the Hebrews were becoming more and more desperate under Egyptian bondage.

After Moses had been in Midian for forty years, God called him as he was tending flocks near Mount Sinai (also called Horeb) and commissioned him to go before Pharaoh and deliver the Israelites from Egyptian oppression. Many scholars believe that the “angel” in the burning bush was the preincarnate Christ. Moses had many questions and hesitated to comply, but God continued to prod him toward obedience. 

Moses asked what he should say when the Hebrews inquired who had sent him. In ancient times, a person’s name expressed his character as well as his identity. Although the Lord’s name had been in use before, at this point He began to reveal what His name meant. “I Am” reflected more than just God’s transcendent existence; it also indicated that His divine Presence would be with Moses and Israel.

In Exodus 3:16-22, God told Moses what to do when he arrived back in Egypt, promising to show His power and to give the Hebrew people deliverance. The first verses of chapter 4 relate how Moses held back, so God gave him signs that would demonstrate His divine power to the people. When Moses pled an inability to speak, God promised that Aaron, Moses’ older brother, would serve as his mouthpiece. 


(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
I.   The oppression of Israel in Egypt
     B.   The deliverer for Israel
           1.   Moses in Egypt
                 c.   His murder of an Egyptian (2:11-14)
            2.   Moses in Midian (2:15 — 4:17)
                 a.   His exile (2:15-20)
                 b.   His marriage (2:21-22)
                 c.   His call (2:23 — 4:17)
                       (1)   The background (2:23-25)
                       (2)   The summons (3:1-12)
                       (3)   The struggle (3:13 — 4:17)
                              (a)   What shall I say? (3:13-22)
                              (b)   What if they don’t listen? (4:1-9)
                              (c)   What about my inability to speak? (4:10-17)


  1. What did God use to attract Moses’ attention in Midian so He could speak to him?

  2. How might God call us into service for Him?

  3. What can we learn from the signs God gave to Moses?


God’s call on a life never disappears, nor can it be fulfilled if it is based on our own wisdom and ability. God’s call is always about Him and not us.