Archive for the ‘Exodus’ Category

Exodus 11-12 bible study

Exodus 11-12

Thought Starter:  If you have 90 seconds to explain the cross to a friend, what do you say?

RecapLast time we looked at the first nine plagues on Egypt.  These were judgements that revealed the LORD as Saviour of His people and Judge of His enemies.  Each plague seemed to get more and more dangerous until we come to the final plague – the plague on the firstborn.



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Exodus 7-10 – The Plagues


We saw last time that the LORD is a God of Promise.  Read Exodus 6:6-8 to remind yourself of His seven-fold “I will” to the people.


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Exodus 4-7: Bible Study

Exodus 4-7 Bible Study


In chapters 1-2, how was God at work through the suffering of the Israelites?

Every hardship was turned by the LORD into some kind of blessing:

1:1-14 – they multiplied under oppression;
1:15-22 – the midwives were blessed for helping the Israelites;
2:1-10 – Moses was
saved by being cast into the Nile;
2:11-25 – Moses fled Egypt but found a wife.


In chapter 3, what was the LORD’s response to the suffering of the Israelites?

The LORD comes down to rescue them from the Egyptians with a mighty hand and bring them out to a land flowing with milk and honey.


Moses and His Calling

Moses is a reluctant leader to say the least.  How does he react to God’s call and what then is God’s response?

Moses’ reaction God’s response
Exodus 3:11-12

Who am I??

I will be with you

Exodus 3:13-14

Who are you??


Exodus 4:1-9

What if they don’t listen?

3 signs

Exodus 4:10-12

I’m a poor speaker!

Who gave man his mouth? I’ll help!

Exodus 4:13-17

Please send someone else!

Burning anger – provides brother


Thinking back over Moses’ life, why do you think he might have been reluctant to ‘take up the reins’?

He’d tried to save his people before (Ex 2:11ff; cf Acts 7:25) and it ended in total failure and 40 year exile!


How would you characterize God’s response to those who resist His call?

Patient, reassuring, equipping, but in the end our resistance deserves anger.  Even so our disobedience doesn’t thwart God – He always has His own ways (eg Aaron).


Are there areas of service God has called you to and for which you feel unprepared?  What do these verses say to us?




Exodus 4:18-31

We haven’t got time to go over these verses but people may have questions, especially about vv24-26.  If they are raised, here’s my best stab at those verses:

  • Moses was about to lead the nation of Israel and declare God’s word
  • Yet he’d not been leading his household properly nor keeping God’s word
  • He should have circumcised his boys or been cut off himself.  (Gen 17:10-14)
  • The LORD has sacraments (external signs of His gospel) in both testaments:
  • In the OT: circumcision and Passover; In the NT: baptism and Lord’s Supper
  • The LORD clearly takes these outward signs seriously and so should we.
  • Moses is shown yet again to be a very flawed and weak vessel!
  • Verse 26 reveals the nature of circumcision: “Bridegroom of blood”
  • The LORD pledges Himself to us in blood as our true Bridegroom.
  • Circumcision is the sign of this and the LORD wants us to honour His signs.
  • As an analogy: being careless with your wedding ring will anger your spouse!


Read Exodus 5:1-23

Any idea how old Moses and Aaron are as they address the most powerful man in the world? (Have a guess – the answer is in chapter 7:7)

80 and 83 respectively


How did their demands sound to Pharaoh’s ears?

First of all, absolutely ridiculous (v2).  Then as cover for idleness (v4ff)


Later, when the Israelites were rescued and living in the wilderness with the LORD, they would reminisce about their time in Egypt: “we sat round pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted” (Ex 16:3).  But what are their conditions really like as described in this chapter?

Labour, work (v4)
Slave-drivers (v6)
“don’t reduce the quota, They are lazy, that’s why they’re crying out” (v8)
“Make the work harder for the men so that they keep working” (v9)
“Your work will not be reduced at all” (v11)
The people scattered (v12)
The slave drivers kept pressing them (v13)
The Israelite foremen were beaten (v14)
“Lazy, that’s what you are, Lazy!” (v17)
They were in trouble (v19)
“We are a stench to Pharaoh” (v21)
Trouble (v22,23)


Jesus said that we are naturally slaves to sin (John 8:34ff).  How is this chapter a good description of that slavery too?

Egypt is the place where harsh taskmasters make you work harder and harder for less and less.  And even as you do more and more, you are branded as idle.  Our bondage to sin and Satan is just like this.  We chase after moving targets and never get the verdict we’re looking for.


Under pressure, the Israelites would later re-imagine their life in Egypt as ‘a land of milk and honey’ (Num 16:3).  Are you tempted to think of non-Christian life as ‘the good old days’?   What should we remind ourselves of?



Let’s read about the LORD’s response…

Read Exodus 6:1-12

When someone vows “I will” over and over again, what does it bring to mind?



Find all the “I will”s in verses 6-8.  What are the promises attached to these “I will”s?

I will BRING you out (v6)
I will FREE you (v6)
I will REDEEM you (v6)
I will TAKE you (v7)
I will BE your God (v7)
I will BRING you (v8)
I will GIVE it to you (v8)


Are there any conditions attached to these promises?

None!  The LORD WILL do it!


How were these promises received at the time?

V9: the people are too discouraged to hear
v12: Moses is unbelieving again!


What is the point of declaring promises to discouraged and disbelieving people?

It shows us what kind of God the LORD is!  The promise making God!  And He will declare His marriage-like promises even over completely unresponsive people.


Application time:

We know that Jesus is our LORD and Bridegroom and He has promised us salvation through His mighty redemption from sin and Satan.  But sometimes we can be too weighed down with sin or suffering to really hear His word of promise.

Split up into pairs and spend a couple of minutes discussing a current struggle you have with sin or suffering.  In what ways do you feel the oppression of chapter 5?

Then take it in turns to read out Ex 6:6-8 to one another – personalizing it if you like:

`I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of ________. I will free you from being slaves…, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. 7 I will take you as my own… and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of ________. 8 And I will bring you to the land [of promise]. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the LORD.’

Pray for each other.


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Sermon audio

“Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11)

Here is Moses full of self-doubt.  So what does Moses need?  Ask anyone today and they’ll tell you: the solution to self-doubt is self-confidence.  That’s the modern cure-all for whatever ails you.  Have more confidence in yourself.

That’s what the world says.  What does the LORD say?

Verse 12: I will be with you

Do you see what the LORD is doing?  Not trying to instill self-confidence, but God-confidence.  “I will be with you.”  The LORD doesn’t say “Moses, don’t do yourself down.  You were such a beautiful baby, and a powerful prince, and you’re in my top three all-time shepherds.  I think you’ve got what it takes.”

The LORD doesn’t turn Moses’ eyes back on himself.

Do you ever do that when someone’s full of self-doubt?  We often say, “Have more confidence in yourself, you’re so talented, you’re brilliant…”   But if someone’s fishing for compliments, how many compliments are enough?  The WORLD is not enough to fill our need for affirmation.  Just speaking for myself: the WORLD could not satisfy my black hole of self-obsession.  If you get me started, I’ll never be satisfied.

Which is why God does something very different.  He fights self-doubt with GOD-confidence.  Essentially the LORD says, “Who are you??  Who are you??  That’s not the point Moses.  I will be with you.”

There used to be a saying in tennis that the greatest doubles team imaginable was John McEnroe and anyone.  John McEnroe and anyone could win Wimbledon.

Well imagine if you were that anyone.  Imagine if you were John McEnroe’s partner going into the Wimbledon final and you spent the whole pre-match press-conference saying “Who am I to win a tennis match?  Who am I to win Wimbledon?  I am not a brilliant tennis player!!”

What would John McEnroe say?  Apart from ‘You cannot be serious?’  He’d say, “I will be with you.  I will be with you.  Enough about yourself, really it’s irrelevant.”…

…In a deep sense Moses is going to be just like that staff in his hand.  The staff by itself is nothing.  We call it a staff, that’s just fancy name for a stick.  But through that stick, miracles would be wrought.  Through that stick the plagues would fall.  Through that stick the Red Sea would be divided.  By that stick the Rock would be struck and the waters would come out.  Why, because it’s such a great stick?  Because the qualities inherent in the stick can call forth the powers of heaven??  No it’s nothing to do with the stick and everything to do with the eternal I AM who uses the stick.

He can use a stick to unleash the powers of heaven, He can use an octogenarian shepherd to defeat the most powerful man in the world.  Later in the bible He uses a bunch of fishermen to turn the world upside down.  Because where does the great I AM really show His power?  On the cross.  (John 8:28)  The great I AM bleeds and dies on a rugged wooden cross, and that’s the power that saves the world.  Can He deal with weakness?  Can He use weakness?  That’s His speciality.  2 Corinthians 12 verse 9, the Lord says to a weakened Paul, “My power is made perfect in weakness.”

Full script below


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Exodus 1-3 – A bible study

Exodus 1-3

A non-Christian friend asks you how you square belief in God with the existence of suffering.  What do you say?

Break into four groups.  One group should take each of the following passages:

Exodus 1:1-14
Exodus 1:15-22
Exodus 2:1-10
Exodus 2:11-25

Answer these questions and then feed them back:

What’s going on?

How is the suffering described?

How does God redeem the suffering?


By the time we get to chapter 3, the people have been groaning for 400 years (Genesis 15:13) and Moses is 80 years old (Exodus 7:7), what does this teach us about how God works His salvation?

God is seldom mentioned in chapters 1 and 2, would it be fair to describe Him as ‘silent’ or ‘absent’ at this time?

Notice the verbs used of God in v24-25.  What are they?  What do they tell us about God’s relationship to His suffering people?


In chapter 3, the God who may have seemed very distant shows up in a powerful way.

Read Exodus 3:1-22

What do you think the burning bush symbolizes?
Think of the significance of plants (e.g. the vine) and of fire and furnaces (e.g. Deut 4:20).  Perhaps read Psalm 80 to see how Israel, the vine, suffering, fire and the Son of God relate.

“Him who dwells in the bush” is a title for the LORD (Deuteronomy 33:16).  What are the other titles for this Person? (v2,4,6,14)   What do each of these titles tell us?

What does it tell us that ‘The Angel’ is found in the midst of the bush in flames of fire?

Note the verbs again in verses 7-9 and 16-17: How does the LORD relate to the suffering of His people?

How does the great I AM use His power in this chapter?

We have seen in chapters 1 and 2 how the LORD redeems/works-through/transforms the suffering of the people.  In what ways do we see that here?



Compare this rescue to the great I AM’s rescue in the New Testament.  What are the similarities?

What do we learn about the Lord Jesus and His Father from these chapters?

What do we learn about God and suffering?


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All the Johns agree:

But let us inquire who this Angel was? since soon afterwards he not only calls himself Jehovah, but claims the glory of the eternal and only God. Now, although this is an allowable manner of speaking, because the angels transfer to themselves the person and titles of God, when they are performing the commissions entrusted to them by him; and although it is plain from many passages, and especially from the first chapter of Zechariah, that there is one head and chief of the angels who commands the others, the ancient teachers of the Church have rightly understood that the Eternal Son of God is so called in respect to his office as Mediator, which he figuratively bore from the beginning, although he really took it upon him only at his Incarnation. And Paul sufficiently expounds this mystery to us, when he plainly asserts that Christ was the leader of his people in the Desert. (1 Corinthians 10:4.) Therefore, although at that time, properly speaking, he was not yet the messenger of his Father, still his predestinated appointment to the office even then had this effect, that he manifested himself to the patriarchs, and was known in this character. Nor, indeed, had the saints ever any communication with God except through the promised Mediator. It is not then to be wondered at, if the Eternal Word of God, of one Godhead and essence with the Father, assumed the name of “the Angel” on the ground of his future mission.

He is expressly called an “Angel” Exod. 3:2 – namely, the Angel of the covenant, the great Angel of the presence of God, in whom was the name and nature of God. And He thus appeared that the Church might know and consider who it was that was to work out their spiritual and eternal salvation, whereof that deliverance which then He would effect was a type and pledge.  Aben Ezra would have the Angel mentioned verse 2, to be another from him who is called “God,” v 6: but the text will not give countenance to any such distinction, but speaks of one and the same person throughout without any alteration; and this was no other but the Son of God.

This redemption was by Jesus Christ, as is evident from this, that it was wrought by him that appeared to Moses in the bush; for that was the person that sent Moses to redeem the people.  But that was Christ, as is evident, because he is called ‘the angel of the LORD’ (Exodus 3:2).

Given such unanimity among our reformed forebears (who themselves appealed to ‘the ancient teachers of the Church’) our modern reluctance to identify Him who dwells in the bush is deeply concerning.  Martin Downes puts it well in a recent post:

It is somewhat ironic that the championing of progressive revelation has gone hand in hand with a diminished confidence in the revelation of Christ in the Old Testament.  Historically it is as if the church has regressed and not progressed in her confidence that it was “Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt” (Jude 5, ESV).

Amen!  Read his whole post here.

My sermon on Exodus 1-3 is here.


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Here is a bush that is burning.  Burning, but not consumed.  And, wonder of wonders, the Angel of the LORD, has come down INTO the bush – into the furnace of His people’s affliction.

…That has ALWAYS been His nature.  It has always been His nature to COME DOWN, to enter in, to suffer alongside, to suffer at our Head, and to rescue!

Sermon audio

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