Saturday, March 6, 2010

Moses at the Turning Point

Moses had a lot of turning points in his amazing life.  But the big turn to me is the Burning Bush.  The first part of his life seems like it is about getting him to Mt. Horeb.  (Later called Mt. Sinai... for some reason.)

Moses – Life and Times
The Turning Point:  Exodus 3:1-15

1)    What do you know about Moses?

Introduction:  A couple of weeks ago the church reading was about Moses coming down from the mountain after meeting with God.  His face was glowing so much he had to wear a veil.  And what we read from Corinthians was Paul sharing how now all believers are like Moses, with a personal relationship with God.

That always makes me interested in Moses, because I feel like by studying him I can learn better how to spend my time with God.  This is the story of the Burning Bush, where Moses first met God. 

Moses’ Life:  Sort the big events in Moses’ life into order.  (Cards attached, click for full size.)

The Reading:
Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.

2)    What was Moses’ job?  What’s Midian?  Where’s Horeb?  Any other questions?

There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. Then Moses said, “I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.” When the LORD saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then he said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” He said further, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

3)    What’s so amazing about a burning bush?  Why not just appear in glory?  Why remove sandals?  Why does he describe himself as “God of…” all those people?  Who are they?  Any other questions?

Then the LORD said, “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the country of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them. So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.”

4)    How did they get to Egypt?  What’s so bad about it?  What other questions can you think of?

But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” He said, “I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.” But Moses said to God, “If I come to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?”

5)    Does Moses want to go?  What other questions can you think of?

God said to Moses, “I AM Who I AM.” He said further, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ” God also said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘The LORD, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you’:  This is my name forever, and this my title for all generations.”

6)    What does that mean “I am who I am”?  How will that help the Israelites know who sent Moses?  Why is he worried about what they think? What other questions can you think of?

7)    What’s one thing you take away from studying this?

The Name: God refers to himself here as I AM WHO I AM.  The word for this in Hebrew is below (in ancient and modern form, read right to left) and is sometimes called the Tetragrammaton (four letter written word).  For the last 2500 years it is never spoken by Jews.  Instead they say Adonai (which means Lord).  That’s why in some translations of the bible you see LORD in all caps instead of the actual word.  The letters for this in English are (usual left to right) YHWH.  When Christians first started reading the Old Testament they had never heard the word (since it is never spoken) and mispronounced it JeHoVaH, but correctly it is YaHWeH (Yahweh).  It’s rude to use it out loud in front of religious Jews since they do not.

Game:  Then as time allows we'll try out Apples to Apples - Bible Edition.  It seems really fun, and might give me the chance for sneaky assessment.  Apples to Apples is perhaps the best social game ever, and this is a good variant.

Jewish Encyclopedia - combines Old Testament scriptural references with archaeology and history.  Great Info.

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