Political Freedom for the Israelite

 

Welcome to class! 

In today’s class, we will be talking about political freedom for the Israelite. Enjoy the class!

Political Freedom for the Israelite

Political Freedom for the Israelite classnotes.ng

Bible Text: Exodus 3:1-15

  1. God grabbed Moses’ attention in a dramatic way. The burning bush is an example of a theophany. Theophany simply means the appearance of God, or to put it another way, divine disclosure to a human being. Moses’ experience on Mount Horeb was a theophany. Why do you think God chose to reveal Himself to Moses in this way and for what purpose?
  2. How did Moses respond and why?
  3. Have you or anyone in your group experienced God making Himself known to you? How did you respond? Were you surprised as Moses clearly was – he was looking for food for the sheep in his care (v1). Is the reference to sheep symbolic?
  4. This God who speaks from the burning bush goes on to further reveal himself to Moses. He “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” (V6). At this point, the true nature of the divine encounter becomes clear to Moses, evidenced in the way in which he responds to this information. On learning that this was no less than the God of the great Patriarchs, Moses hides his face in fear (v6b). Before he simply gazed at the bush in awe (v2-3). And then something tremendously important happens in this encounter, something that will have a deep and lasting impact on Israel and on all those who have followed the God of the Bible since. God refers to himself as ‘the God’ (v6). Not ‘a God’ but ‘the God’. The God who met with Abraham and promised that from him would come a nation of people so numerous as the grains of sand on the shore. Moses was used to a pantheon of Gods, local and household deities, regional and tribal gods, but this revelation of the divine presence is nothing less than ‘the God’, the one who met with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is now meeting with Moses. God has a history, and it is into this history that Moses now steps. q) Why do you think this is so important?
  5. From the self-revelation of God to Moses flows the call of Moses. To use the classical puritan formulation, ‘the initiative belongs to God. Thinking about calling, there is a tendency to think of calling in highly individual terms. For example, ‘God has called me to follow him. ‘God has called me to go to… ‘God has called me to do. Whilst this is on one level true, calling understood simply as an individual is a long way from the picture of calling in the Bible. This tendency to see the call as being first about the person who is called is ultimately damaging. Moses is called, personally, yes, but not in isolation.

    Moses’ call is not first and foremost about him or designed to ensure that he feels valued and important in God’s plan. His call, like the call to all disciples’, is a call to serve, and a call to and for others. Do you start to see some connections now? Moses’ call is to play a part in the work that God himself will accomplish. Yahweh will come down to rescue the Hebrews.

    The full force of this is lost in the English translations of the Bible. A literal translation of the verse in Hebrew is that God will ‘snatch’ his people from the Egyptians implying a certain level of force – and Moses’ call is to play a role in this divine action. In this sense, Moses’ call is a blueprint for the call of all Christians. This is simply to respond obediently and reverently to God and to be involved in the work that God is doing. To play a part in the action that God is talking.

    Behind this is the assumption that God is always active always working towards his final goal, the assumption that God is always active, always working towards his final goal, the redemption of creation, and the establishment of the kingdom reign of Christ. q) Do you think of God as always active and always working towards His eventual goal? Do you understand your calling in light of this ongoing work of God? Exploring Exodus: House group Notes Page | 8 q) Here’s a second challenging question – do you understand your call as being primarily about you, or is it a call to and for God and others?

  6. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob has made clear to Moses that He’s seen the plight of his people (v7). God is going to act, as He has promised long ago and He’s called Moses to be the one to lead His people into a ‘land flowing with milk and honey’ and a ‘good and spacious land. It is now Moses’ turn to respond. At this point in the narrative, Moses doesn’t cover himself in glory. We might expect that personally confronted with such a dramatic revelation of God’s presence that Moses would be full of faith and boldness, eager to embrace the divine call that he has received. But he’s not.

    What follows is a fascinating and immensely important exchange between God and Moses, which is built around a play on the words ‘I Am’ – the revelation of the name of God as Yahweh. Moses says “who am I…that I…” God says “I will…it is …” The point is simple – who Moses is, is not the issue. What matters is who is with Moses! Moses, his first question answered, then asks a second question (v13). It is one thing for God to be with Moses, but Moses wants to know who God is.

    This is not unreasonable in the circumstances. And so Moses responds “..what if they ask me, ‘What is his name?” What Moses asks here, is not so much what God ought to be known as, but whether God can accomplish the things He is promising. And so God reveals His ‘name’ – but it’s not so much a name as an assertion of authority and an essential reality. “I am that I am,” says God (v14). Meaning – continuing unfinished action – ‘I am being that I am being’ – not a conceptual or abstract being, but an active being – that God can only properly be referred to as ‘is’ or “The One Who Always Is”.

 

In our next class, we will be talking about Eminent Nigerians Obtain Freedom for Their People.  We hope you enjoyed the class.

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