May 15, 2022 | Doug Sauder
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Have you ever had to take a big step of faith? Something that required boldness and courage? As we unpack Exodus 4–6 in part five of the Book of Exodus, we’ll see Moses confront Pharaoh with a simple message: “Let my people go.” Learn how to walk in faith and follow God’s call on your life.
Below, you’ll find some key discussion points to consider, questions to personally reflect on and/or discuss in your small group, with your family, or in your circle of friends, and some action points for the week.
Memory Verse of the Week: Exodus 6:6–8 (NIV)
“Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my own people, 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 the Egyptians. And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord.’”
READ: Exodus 5:1–18 (NIV)
“Excuse me?” Have you ever said something to someone—perhaps your parents—that elicited this response? Or maybe someone said something disrespectful and upsetting which caused you to utter these two little words? As a dad in his 30s, I can tell you I’ve been on both sides of the excuse me game. And I’ve found that more often than not, what causes this reaction in me is feeling disrespected. And if I’m being honest, the majority of these offenses are in some form born out of pride. And the same is true here in this conversation between Moses and Pharaoh.
In Exodus 5:1–18, Moses has returned to Egypt and confronts Pharaoh with a demand: “Let my people go.” But it’s what came before this that’s key. “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says.”
As David Guzik explains, “To appreciate how audacious Moses’ request was, we must understand the power and authority the Pharaohs claimed. Each Pharaoh was said to be the child of the sun; he was a friend to the greatest gods of Egypt. . . . His power and authority were supreme.”
You see, Pharaohs believed themselves to be more than a man—they believed themselves gods. Consider this inscription by a Pharaoh found on an ancient Egyptian temple: “I am that which was, and is, and shall be, and no man has lifted my veil.” Sound familiar? It should! These words are strikingly similar to the words used by the Lord to identify Himself to Moses earlier in Exodus. So, it’s no surprise that he recoiled at Moses’ demand, asking, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord and I will not let Israel go.”
While Pharaoh’s heart was all wrong, he did ask the right question. Whereas Moses asked, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11 NIV), the important question wasn’t who Moses or Pharaoh were, but who God is!
This was true for Pharaoh, for Moses, and for the Israelites who were now in a much worse place than they were before Moses returned as they were given much harder, unfair, unjust labor. Who we are or our circumstances doesn’t matter because God is who He says He is! And if He is who He says He is, then challenges and hardships should not drive us to despair, hopelessness, or to seek refuge and help from anything or anyone else (as the Israelites did in pleading their case to Pharaoh). Instead, these things should cause us to press in more into the true I AM!
May we be a people that run to the Lord for relief and not to the world and its prince. The enemy will only provide us with more bondage and pain, but the Lord has victory awaiting us on the other side of our trouble!
Discussion Question 1: What can you learn from this exchange between Moses and Pharaoh?
Discussion Question 2: Who do you look to when things get hard? A vice of some sort? To someone else? To the governing authorities? To yourself? How can you be more intentional to put it all in the hands of the Lord and press into Him?
Discussion Question 3: What hardship have you been enduring that has strained your relationship with Christ?
READ: Exodus 5:1–6:5
Tunnel vision is the loss of peripheral vision that results in a constricted, circular tunnel-like field of vision. Truthfully, we spend most of our lives seeing the world through a tunnel-vision mentality. What do I mean? Well, it’s rare for us to see beyond our little circle, to see the big picture and gain some perspective. We only see two feet in front of us. This is true of non-believers and believers, and it was true of Moses!
Exodus 5:1–6:5 comes on the heels of Moses’ first encounter with Pharaoh. He demanded Pharaoh let God’s people go, but Pharaoh not only rejected his demand, he also made their labor harder and treatment worse. Obviously, the people weren’t happy with Moses, so much so they prayed the Lord would judge him (Exodus 5:21)!
Next, Moses confronts the Lord about the whole thing by basically saying, “God, you got my friends in trouble and made me look bad in front of them!” You see, Moses and the Israelites were looking strictly at their circumstances and struggles. They had major tunnel vision—especially Moses, who had seen God perform amazing wonders.
Did Moses think the God who spoke in the flames and turned the staff into a snake was all of a sudden neutered because a man He created said no? Who knows. But what we do know is that his eyes and heart were focused on the wrong thing.
So, God reminds Moses of who He is: “I am the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty . . . I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan.” And He reiterated that by His “mighty hand,” Pharaoh would let the people go. And all Moses has to do is trust and allow the Lord to use him—and the same is true for us!
Discussion Question 4: What can you learn from Moses’ confrontation with the Lord here?
Discussion Question 5: How can you move away from the tunnel-vision mentality and move toward trusting in Him even when things get worse before they get better?
Journal about your hardship. Be honest with the Lord about your questions, your difficulties, and your desires, and do not be afraid to pray about the hardship. After, take time to remember who He is and praise Him for that regardless of your current circumstances.
In our next study, we’ll explore Exodus 7:14–10:20 as we dive into the 10 plagues of Egypt and what they represent.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.