A Scripture study from Caring, part one of four.
The day things went wrong in Eden, God showed his mercy (a fancy word for not getting what you deserve) by sending Adam and Eve out of The Garden. You might be wondering why God sent them away or if he forgave them for making such a mistake. It can be hard to understand, but this place of perfect peace (shalom) was changed. There were consequences for Adam and Eve’s disobedience because God keeps his word. But, he’s also a God of great compassion. He loved Adam and Eve and would love their children, and their children’s children, and so on and so on.
Remember—he created humanity and called it good. Because God created you and me to show the world how great he is (we were created to be like him!), God refused to stop showing his love for us. There are many stories in the Old Testament about God’s people turning their backs on him, choosing to be selfish, ignoring God’s rules and forgetting about how good he is. No matter how many times God tried to provide a way for his people to know, follow and love him, they devised their own plans, grew distrustful and let their selfish desires get in the way.
God did rescue some people—a group called the Israelites—from a life of slavery in a land that was not their own. The Israelite people worked hard for Pharaoh but had few rights of their own. They were provided for, had homes and food, but were living in a foreign land. At the end of the day, they were settling for less than God’s best.
After a while, Pharaoh started getting worried because the Israelites were increasing in number. As families grew, so did Pharaoh’s concern. Would the Israelites overthrow the Egyptian people? Would they try to be in charge? What would happen to Egypt? Out of fear, Pharaoh devised a plan to get rid of all the Hebrew baby boys; he grew distrustful and let his selfish desire get in the way. Sound familiar?
The Israelites needed rescue. And God had a plan.
You could imagine the Israelites felt worried, confused, afraid, even out of control. Pharaoh was powerful and had mistreated them for a long time. What was going to happen? Had God forgotten about them? Did he even care?
Now, there was a man named Moses who lived in Pharaoh’s home (you could say he had been adopted by Pharaoh’s family…see more in Exodus 2). Moses ended up making a big mistake that would have horrible consequences. He knew he had to leave, but he didn’t know where to go. Confused about who he was (an Israelite who grew up in an Egyptian home), Moses found himself in the desert. That’s when God met him in an unusual place, in an unusual way.
Read About It
Finish the rest of the story by reading from Scripture in Exodus 3:1-12 here.
Talk About It
1. What is something that surprised you in this story?
2. What was Pharaoh afraid of? What were the Israelites afraid of? What was Moses afraid of?
3. Sometimes fear can make us feel hopeless. Have you ever felt hopeless? Share about it.
4. How do you think Moses felt when God spoke to him through a burning bush?
5. How was God going to use Moses to help the Israelite people? What promises did God make to Moses?
6. What is something you are hoping for?
Just like God used Moses to free the Israelites and lead them into a new life far beyond what they could ever hope for, God sent Jesus to our world to do the same. This week, we are focusing on Jesus as our hope. While the Israelites were free, they had a long journey ahead to the place God prepared for them. God used Moses to help the Israelites stay hopeful during their journey, particularly when they did not know how God would provide for them along the way.
Sometimes we worry. Sometimes we’re afraid. Sometimes we have hard questions that go unanswered. Sometimes we struggle and don’t feel like anyone is able to help us. When we experience the “hard stuff” of this life, it’s important to have hope. And Jesus came that we might cast our cares on him because he cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).
The Israelites had to rely on Moses and then Joshua to help lead them to the Promised Land—a 40-year journey! That’s a long time to trust without having all the answers. That is hope! This was years before Jesus was even on the scene, but in the generations to come, God’s people would continue to struggle to stay faithful to him. And still, God made a way for all humanity to know him and love him: and his name is Jesus.
Pray About It
Spend time in prayer. Ask God to help you experience and know him as your source of living hope this season.
Excerpted from The Light Will Come: A 28-Day Advent Journey for Families. It’s not too late to join! Get on the list now and start following along today for a simple, meaningful Advent celebration with your family.
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- You’ve probably seen the red kettles and thrift stores, and while we’re rightfully well known for both…The Salvation Army is so much more than red kettles and thrift stores. So who are we? What do we do? Where? Right this way for Salvation Army 101.