Grades 3-6 Lesson for Sunday School:
Moses: Egypt…Meet Almighty God! (Part 1)
Teacher’s Notes: Today’s lesson will be the first in a mini-series of lessons on God revealing Himself to the people in Egypt. Moses is on the move to Egypt, getting ready to introduce the Egyptians to Almighty God, and to deliver a solemn message from Him – that it’s time to let the Israelites go. God promises Moses that the Israelites will listen and believe…and that Pharaoh will not! And God is sure to keep both promises.
How do you think you would feel if your mom gave you a new responsibility? Let’s imagine that she’s going to let you get a new puppy! She told you that taking care of a puppy was a very important job, and that you’re the only one who is able to do it? Do you think you would be excited to get started? But what if she then told you that puppies are a lot of work. That sometimes they don’t listen to you. And sometimes they chew on things that they shouldn’t, or make messes in places that they shouldn’t. And that, for awhile, the puppy will probably whine and cry all night. And that is going to make the entire rest of the family mad at you, for bringing this puppy into the house in the first place. Now how do you feel about your new responsibility? Do you think it will be worth it in the end, when your new puppy is trained, and has learned to love and obey you?
In our lesson this week, we’re going to find that God has given Moses a new responsibility. This task is very important, and Moses is the only one for the job. But Moses is going to find that, for awhile, this new responsibility is going to make others angry with him. Do you think he’ll decide it’s worth it, in the end. Let’s find out…
Last week we listened in as Moses threw every possible excuse back to God, for why he couldn’t possibly be the right choice to go back to Egypt and deliver the Israelites out of slavery. We saw God bear patiently with Moses, and answer the arguments that he presented.
And when Moses was all out of excuses, we saw God’s anger fire up as Moses finally just begged God to send somebody else. Moses was God’s choice. Not because of anything special Moses had ever said or done. Simply because God had made him, knew all about him, and chose him anyway to lead His people.
But it wasn’t until God offered to send Aaron (Moses’ brother) along to help him that Moses finally packed up his family, saddled up his donkeys, and set out toward Egypt and his destiny.
And in his hand, Moses carried the very staff that God had used to prove to Moses who He was, and what He was able to do. That staff will come in handy, as this week’s lesson will look at Moses’ big return, where he will be greeted first by Aaron, then by the leaders of the tribes of Israel, and finally the Egyptian Pharaoh.
Do you remember that God promised Moses that the Israelites will listen to him, and believe that God really did send him? Well, God made a promise to Moses about how the Pharaoh will react, too. Only this was a promise Moses was not so eager to hear. God promised that the Pharaoh’s heart is going to be hardened. And he’s going to reject Moses’ plea to let the people go.
But God has ways of persuading people to see things His way. And He’s going to use Moses teach the Egyptian people just how powerless their gods are; and show them who, exactly, the real God of the universe is.
And in case anyone here isn’t sure of that either, let’s take a look at today’s memory verse -
Memory verse: (Have the children repeat this verse with you several times, until they are able to say it themselves. And encourage them to repeat it to others several times during the week, so that it’ll have a place in their hearts.) This will be the memory verse for the next several lessons.
“Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the LORD he is God; there is none else beside him.” Deuteronomy 4:35
Opening prayer: Lord, thank You for each student who’s here, today. And thank You for the many lessons we can learn through studying the life of Moses, in Your Word. Please help us today, Lord, to have ears ready to listen and learn about who You really are. And open our hearts to obey, when You ask us to go and share this good news with others. Amen.
This Week’s Lesson: (Moses: Egypt…Meet Almighty God) from Exodus 4:27 – 5:
We’ve now seen Moses go from a baby floating in a basket in the Nile River, to a shepherd standing before a Holy God in a burning bush. And while he did so reluctantly, Moses finally chose to obey God’s call, and headed for Egypt. Can anyone tell me what God has asked Moses to do? Yes, in Exodus 3:10, God said to Moses, “Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”
And what was Moses’ response? In the very next verse, Moses responded, “Who am I, that I should go?” That was Moses’ way of saying, “why me?” So God gave Moses some very special signs to prove to Moses that He was Almighty God, and to give Moses some confidence as he would speak to the Israelites and the Egyptians. We read about those signs last week in our lesson. There were three of them. Does anyone recall what they were?
The first sign was the rod that Moses carried with him. God told Moses to throw the rod to the ground. And when Moses obeyed, the rod turned into a snake! (And like most of us would do, Exodus 4:3 tells us that Moses ran from it.) But then, God told Moses to pick that snake up by its tail. Do you think you would have the courage to do that? This was a good test to see if Moses would obey God. And he did! The next verse tells us that as soon as Moses caught the snake, it once again became a rod. That must have been a great relief!
Does anyone recall the next one? The second sign God gave Moses was to put his hand inside his cloak. Moses did, and when he pulled it out again, it was covered with leprosy. Do you remember the ten lepers we learned about in The New Testament? Leprosy was a very serious disease. And it leaves the skin looking white. So no doubt Moses was frightened by the sight of his hand being covered with it! But God told Moses to put his hand back inside his cloak, and when he did, then pulled it back out, the leprosy was gone.
And what about the last sign…does anyone want to remind us of what it was? The third sign God gave Moses was that he should take water from the river, and pour it out on the dry ground. He told Moses that when he did this, the water would turn to blood.
Then, as a final boost for his courage, God promised to send Aaron, Moses’ brother, to help him. Aaron was to be a spokesman for Moses when he went before the Israelite leaders, and before Pharaoh. And our opening verses for today’s Scripture passage have Aaron heading down the road to meet up with Moses.
“And the LORD said to Aaron, Go into the wilderness to meet Moses. And he went, and met him in the mount of God, and kissed him. And Moses told Aaron all the words of the LORD who had sent him, and all the signs which he had commanded him.” Exodus 4:27-28
Don’t you think this must have been a very interesting reunion? These brothers probably haven’t seen each other in forty years. And before that, Moses was living in the Egyptian palace. Yet, God had prepared them both for the new roles they were about to take on. And it seems as if they are eager to get to work. So Moses shared with Aaron how God had called him. And he showed Aaron the signs God had given him. Then together, they set out to share an exciting message with the leaders of Israel – God had heard their cries, and Moses and Aaron were there to deliver them!
Now it might seem like the Israelites would be a little reluctant to claim Moses as their leader. The last time they saw him, he had killed an Egyptian, and run away into the desert. And before that, he had grown up with the Egyptian Pharaoh. Do you think they wondered if he really knew how it felt to be a Hebrew slave? If they were looking for someone who had been where they were, and could identify with their suffering, then Moses would not be the right leader. But if they were looking for the deliverer God had chosen, then Moses was it! And as He promised, God was at work in the hearts of the Israelites. Exodus 4:31 tells us that when Moses and Aaron told them what God had said to Moses, and after Moses showed them the miraculous signs God had given to him, “the people believed; and when they heard that the LORD had visited the children of Israel, and that he had looked upon their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped.”
God’s plan was now in motion! Moses had obediently gone back to Egypt. And with the help of Aaron, his brother, he had convinced the Israelites that God had sent him to lead them out of Egypt. Now came the hardest part. Moses and Aaron needed to convince Pharaoh that it was time to free the Israelites.
Now, we know that Moses and Aaron are supposed to go and speak with Pharaoh, because that is precisely what God told them to do. So if they were being obedient to God, and following His plan, wouldn’t you think that God would also make Pharaoh believe Moses, and be ready to let the Israelites go? Do things always work out easily just because we’re doing the right thing? Sometimes God’s plan is to do things the hard way, so we can learn some good lessons about Him along the way. And that’s just what’s going to happen with Pharaoh. Exodus 3:21 tells us that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart. So when Moses and Aaron presented Pharaoh with God’s request, Pharaoh practically laughed in their faces. “And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go.” (Exodus 5:2)
Pharaoh admitted that he did not know Moses’ God. Do you think he saw this as a great opportunity to get to know Him? Not at all. In fact, as Moses and Aaron began to explain to him what God had said, Pharaoh became angry, and accused them of having too much time on their hands.
Have you ever tried to tell another person about God, and have them become angry at you? There are people who are happy to just keep right on living the way they always have. If they chose to believe there might be a God, then perhaps He would want something from them, and their lives would have to change. So rather than really considering whether or not you might be right about God, some people will just get angry with you, instead, and send you away. If that happens, you can remember Moses and Pharaoh. And you’ll know it’s not the first time it’s happened.
Now, not only did Pharaoh not free the Israelites, does anyone know what he decided to do? He decided he should make their lives even more miserable, so they wouldn’t have any extra time or energy to be thinking about or talking about their God. One of the Israelites’ primary jobs was to make the bricks that were used to build the Egyptians’ homes, cities, and pyramids. They needed straw in order to make these bricks. And up until now the straw had been provided for them. But in his fury, Pharaoh commanded that the taskmasters no longer provide the needed straw for the Israelites. Instead, they would have to go out and gather the straw for themselves. But they were not given any extra time to do this. They were still supposed to produce just as many bricks as before, even though they now had to spend of their work time getting the straw, too.
This put a lot of pressure on the Israelites, as it made it nearly impossible for them to do the job they were being asked to do. And when the report came that the Israelites were now not keeping up with the task, the Israelite officers in charge of the workers were beaten and yelled at by their Egyptian taskmasters. And when these Israelite officers complained to Pharaoh, they were told it was Moses’ and Aaron’s faults, for making it look as if the people were idle.
Well, how do you think the Israelites felt about their leader, now? Here’s what they had to say to Moses and Aaron, as they came back from talking to Pharaoh: “And they said unto them, The LORD look upon you, and judge; because ye have made our savour to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to slay us.” (Exodus 5:21) How hard that must have been for Moses and Aaron to hear! The people were asking God to judge Moses and Aaron for making their lives harder. But all they had done was exactly what God had commanded them to do.
And this made Moses begin to question God about what His plan really was. Perhaps Moses had not heard God right. Or perhaps he had misunderstood what his role was really supposed to be in bringing the Israelites out of Egypt. Listen to the words of Moses, as he pours out his confusion before God: “And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, LORD, wherefore hast thou so evil entreated this people? why is it that thou hast sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in thy name, he hath done evil to this people; neither hast thou delivered thy people at all. (Exodus 5:22-23)
Moses couldn’t understand why God would want to use him to make things even worse for the poor Israelite slaves. Surely that wasn’t the way God wanted the plan to go. Their lives were already very difficult. And now, because Moses and Aaron had gone to Pharaoh as God had instructed them to, their lives had just gotten a lot harder.
What could God possibly be thinking? Now we can’t read God’s mind. And we’ve learned before that His ways and thoughts are much higher than our own. But let’s think about this situation for just a moment. What if the Israelites were hoping to be freed from having to be slaves, but were also hoping they wouldn’t have to leave Egypt. After all, Egypt had the best of everything. Plenty of food and water, the latest technology, and everything they might need to live pretty comfortable lives. They just weren’t the ones in charge. If God were to help them overthrow the Egyptians, then they could just take right over, there in Egypt, and live happily ever after.
But God’s plan was for them to go back to the land He had promised to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their descendants. God didn’t want to give them a life of ease in Egypt. So perhaps He wanted them to see that staying in Egypt would only mean more and more work. He wanted the Israelites to want to leave Egypt. And no doubt all the extra work they were having to do was pushing them in the right direction.
But there was still one really big obstacle to the Israelites’ departure from Egypt, and that was Pharaoh. Not only did he not know the God of the Israelites, he had no desire to get to know Him, either. This God that Moses had talked to him about wanted Pharaoh to give up his slaves. And that, in Pharaoh’s mind, was out of the question. In fact, some ancient historians say that the Egyptians thought their Pharaohs were actually gods living on the earth. That would mean that this Pharaoh’s place of authority, as a god of the Egyptian people, was being challenged by some God he’d never even heard of.
But God already had a plan underway to move the hardened heart of Pharaoh. He will bring challenges to the very gods that the Egyptians worshipped, and prove once and for all who the only real Almighty God is. We’ll close this week’s lesson, and look forward to next week’s with the first verse of the very next chapter in Exodus. It says this:
“Then the LORD said unto Moses, now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh; for with a strong hand shall he let them go, and with a strong hand shall he drive them out of his land.” (Exodus 6:1)
What is God going to do that will cause such a big change in the heart of Pharaoh, so not only will he let the Israelites go, but he will want them to go so badly that he will drive them out of his land? Come back next week, and we’ll find out!
Closing Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for reminding us, today, that you are the one and only God, and that You have a plan for our lives. Thank You, too, for the reminder that just because we’re obeying doesn’t mean things will be easy. Give us the courage to follow through with Your plan, even during those times when it gets hard, or doesn’t seem to make sense. And remind us to be patient with others, too. Because they may be following a difficult path for You, too. Amen.
Class Discussion/ Activity:
Have the class fill in the blanks to complete the sentences in the handout. Each sentence will be a reminder of something we learned about today. Then go over the True of False questions, also to review today’s lesson.
Here are the answers to the questions:
Fill in the blanks: 1. Aaron, 2.three, 3.snake, 4.leprosy, 5.blood
True or False: only #2 is true
And if you have time, play a round of Bible Tic-Tac-Toe with questions you prepare from today’s lesson. (If needed, see lesson 13 for game instructions.)
Have you been given a responsibility that seems harder than you can handle? Perhaps you have a family member who needs extra care, and it’s your responsibility to help. Or perhaps you have to work to bring home enough money for the family. If God has put you in a place of such responsibility, you can be sure that He’s given you that task because He knows you’re able to do it, and because He knows it will help you to learn to trust Him more. This week, be sure to thank God for the responsibilities you’ve been given. Try seeing them as another opportunity to serve Him, while He teaches you to be the kind of Christian He already knows you can be.
There is a mighty God; He’s called you to a task.
He says it won’t be easy. “Why do it, then?” you ask.
And in His loving patience, He’ll smile and simply say,
“It’s just because I love you that we’re doing things My way.”
Lisa DeVinney, May, 2018