Friday, November 1, 2013

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary

For Sunday November 3, 2013
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Exodus 3

The book of Exodus is the second, of the five books in the Bible, known collectively as the “Pentateuch”. The others are Genesis, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. It is widely accepted by scholars that Moses is the author of all five books. Exodus begins with the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob being trapped in Egypt and enslaved by a Pharaoh, who is not educated about the help that had been given to his Egyptian progenitors by Joseph, the son of Jacob, some 430 years earlier. 
The dates provided in Old Testament Scripture, suggests that Moses was born around 1527 B.C., which means that his flight to Midian in Exodus 2, after killing the Egyptian, would have been around 1486 B.C., and his return and confrontation with the Pharaoh, would have occurred around 1447 B.C. And so, according to biblical dates, the Pharaoh, at the time of Moses’ escape, would have been Thutmose III, who, according to Egyptian records, reigned in Egypt, from 1483-1450 B.C., a span of 33 years. However, before that, he also co-reigned with Hatshepsut for 22 years (1504-1482 B.C.), who is the princess that is believed to have found Moses in the Nile River.
Thutmose’s long reign explains why Moses had to stay out of Egypt for so long (40 years), before returning. We, also learn through ancient Egyptian records that the Pharaoh in power, at the time of the Israelites exodus from Egypt, was Amenhotep II, an arrogant youngster, who had been installed three years earlier, following the death of Thutmose III.
Exodus is divided into two sections. The first section, chapters 1-18, deals with the tribulations and deliverance of the descendants of Jacob from their oppressive existence under the policies of Thutmose III and Amenhotep II in Egypt. The second section, chapters 19-40, deals with the worship of a redeemed Israel, and their preparation by their leader Moses, on how to become an obedient, submissive nation under GOD.
Exodus 1, verses 1-7, provide the connecting link between the “Patriarchal Period” of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, which are chronicled in the last chapters of the Book of Genesis, and, the events that are written about here in the pages of Exodus.
Here in Exodus 3, verses 1-12, almost forty years after Moses had fled from Egypt and started a new life in the land of Midian, we are given the circumstances by which he was called by GOD to return to Egypt, and lead the Israelites out of their state of mental and physical oppression.
Here GOD uses the inconsumable “burning bush”, one of five “Old Testament theophanies of CHRIST”, (also see Genesis 16:7-14, Numbers 22:22-35, Joshua 5:13-15 & Judges 2:1-5), to get HIS servant Moses’ attention. HE assured Moses that HE had heard the cries of HIS people whom HE cared deeply for, and HE was now ready to move to end the struggles they had faced for almost 400 years.
Moses was to face many challenges in his upcoming journey for CHRIST, and in order to meet those challenges, he had to first get to know GOD better for himself. He needed to know what GOD had done for his ancestors and he also needed to know what GOD could do for him personally.
Moses went on for a while, debating with GOD, trying to convince HIM of his inability to do what GOD had commanded him to do. But GOD already knows that we can’t do anything without HIM, and HE is just waiting on us to come to that realization for ourselves.
Like Moses, we all face doubts about ourselves that keep us from being where GOD wants us to be in our service to HIM, and, to each other. During his first forty years, Moses lived as a prince in Egypt where he learned many of his “leadership skills”. During his second forty years he lived as an outcast in Midian, where he learned “humility” while working as a shepherd in his father-in-law Jethro’s fields and pastures. And finally, in his last forty years, he accomplished his life work by leading the nation of Israel out of bondage in Egypt with the help of the almighty GOD of Heaven.
When Moses was a prince in Egypt, he was “confident and sure of his abilities to lead people”. However, here in Exodus 3 we see an almost unbelievably humble man, doubting he could tackle such a huge undertaking as the one GOD was now assigning to him. Here we can see quite clearly, GOD’s plan of humbling Moses has surely shown itself to be successful. And now, Moses is about to learn something that men continue to learn in this day and age, and that is that, it is GOD’s strength, not ours, that makes us successful in our struggles through the storms of life. Before GOD could use Moses, HE had to, first, “strip him of his attitude of self confidence”. Here we see that the LORD has replaced that attitude of self confidence, with an attitude of “faith and confidence in HIM”.
GOD is able to handle all of our struggles, and HE will faithfully be with us in our times of need, weather it is leading us out of grief and oppression, or, just simply leading us out of debt and other issues of the human experience. And HE does it just because HE cares, and is concerned and involved in all of our everyday issues, weather we realize it or not. HE truly is “The GOD WHO sees us” and knows what we are facing, and HE wants very badly to help us to get through it, and grow from our rough experiences. Through divine intervention, our struggles are made easy, but only when we rely on, and believe in, the ONLY WISE GOD, our savior, through JESU CHRIST.
The book of Exodus, besides being one of the greatest non-fictional adventure stories of all times, is also particularly foundational in developing the Christian view of who GOD is, and understanding morality and the nature of worship (which is clearly something that the modern-day professed Christian churches need to work on).
Even though Moses was highly stressed by his assignment from GOD in the beginning, we see him eventually making a firm commitment to his calling. He began to steadily rely on prayer, and he learned, through “an experiential relationship (walk) with GOD”, how to have the greatest trust in HIM, and even today, Moses’ life stands as one of the greatest examples of leadership, that can be found, anywhere in all the annals of Scripture.
Remember, GOD does not forget, nor neglect, HIS commitment to us, and therefore, as professed Christian, we should not neglect, nor forget, our commitment to the Covenant that was ushered in by CHRIST JESUS, and then signed, in HIS OWN blood. All for us, JESUS set the greatest example of suffering the world has ever seen, and we who profess to follow HIM, in return, should set the greatest example of worship, service, and obedience to GOD, that the world has ever seen.


A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander 





                                 
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