These small group studies take us through almost twenty of the key events in the Old Testament. Our Old Testament Survey contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, and applications.  Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.

Old Testament Survey Lesson 5 – Call of Moses


  1. The Call of Moses (Exodus 3)

    1. The miraculous sign (1-3)

    2. God speaks (4-6)

      1. It is a holy place (5)

    3. His answer to their prayers (7-10)

      1. The problem (7)

      2. The promise (8)

      3. The plan (9-10)

    4. Moses’ first objection: insignificance (verse 11)

    5. God’s reassurance (12)

    6. The name of God: I AM WHO I AM (13-15)

    7. The command: “Go” (16)

    8. The message (17-22)

      1. Deliverance (17)

      2. Abundance (17)

      3. Request (18)

      4. Rejection (19)

      5. Judgment (20)

      6. Spoils (21-22)

  2. Moses’ objections (Exodus 4:1-17)

    1. Moses’ objection: acceptance (1-9)

      1. God’s answer: snake miracle (2-5)

      2. God’s answer: leprosy miracle (6-8)

      3. God’s answer: water to blood miracle (9)

    2. Moses’ objection: slow of tongue (10-12)

      1. God’s answer: sovereignty (11-12)

    3. Moses’ objection: send somebody else! (13-17)

      1. God’s answer: team Aaron with Moses (14)

      2. God’s answer: I will be with you (15-17)

  3. Moses’ obedience (4:18-31)

    1. Departure (18-20)

    2. Expectations (21-23)

      1. Mighty miracles (21)

      2. Stubborn opponent (22-23)

    3. Moses’ incurs God’s wrath (23-26)

      1. Didn’t circumcise his son (23-25)

      2. Zipporah does it to save him (25)

      3. God relented (26)

    4. God sends Aaron (27-28)

    5. Moses and Aaron speak to the people (29-31


What background did Moses have?

Who is the “angel of the Lord”?

What is the significance of Moses removing his sandals?

What does it mean a land flowing with milk and honey?

What can we learn about God’s character from these chapters?

Why was Moses so well suited to this task?

What did Moses did when God told him He wanted him to go to Egypt?

What should he have said the first time?

What should we do when God commands us?

What is the significance of God’s name, “I AM”?

What are the implications of this name for us?

Was Moses task going to be easy?

How about the tasks that God gives to us?

What were Moses’ objections?

What can we learn from Moses’ objections and God’s responses?

Can you think of anytime when you knew God wanted you to do something, but you made many excuses?

What did it mean that Moses would be like God to Aaron?

How did Moses deal with the situation with his father-in-law?

What is going on in verse 23?

What were the elders’ of Israel’s first reactions to Moses and Aaron?


Acts 7:18-36 (brief summary of the Exodus and Moses)

Acts 7:22-23 (Moses was trained in the Egyptian court for forty years)

Hebrews 11:23-29 (Everything that was accomplished was by faith. Moses chose God’s way instead of the passing pleasures of sin.)

Verse by Verse Commentary

1-3 (Miraculous sign)-

God has spoken to His people in a lot of different ways. In a cloud, a still quiet voice, in a burning bush, and in a flaming lamp to name a few. Moses was a well-educated man and such a sight as a burning bush that wasn’t consumed would have really intrigued him and shown him the power of God. God knew it would get His attention and it achieved the desired effect. The “angel of the Lord” is generally a theophany or sometimes a Christophany. He accepts worship at times, which angels do not do (since worship is due only to God). God is the one who takes the initiative. It was not Moses’ idea to save his people or to go back. It was completely God’s plan and Moses was His chosen instrument. God is the initiator. It is our job to follow Him quickly and with our whole heart.

4-6 (God speaks) –

God called Moses from the bush. Again He took the initiative. The place was holy ground. We remove our shoes as a sign of respect when we enter somebody’s house. How much more should we remove them when we walk in God’s holy place! This was a sign of respect to a superior (according to Ryrie). God then identifies Himself the God of Moses’ ancestors. This was God Almighty who watched over the patriarchs and established a covenant with Abraham. He was the one who chose Israel and set it apart to Himself. A long time had passed, but they were still His people.

7-10 (His answer to their prayers) –

God was not blind to His people’s cries. He saw it. He knew it. He heard their cries and intended to answer. A lot of time may pass, but He never forgets His people. If we are suffering God is right there with us and in some sense “feels our pain” (just as parents do for their children). The people of Israel were slaves in Egypt. They were groaning under the burden. There are so many in the world who are slaves of sin. Jesus offers deliverance for them as Moses (through God) offered deliverance for the people of Israel. 1 John 5:14.

How was God planning to answer their prayer? He was going to save them from under the Egyptians’ hands and bring them to a new and abundant land. God answers big! He richly supplies our needs with more than we ask or even think. Few of the Israelites were probably asking for their own country. Fewer still for such an abundant one. But this is what God purposed to give them.

What was His plan for doing this? Moses, trained for 40 years in Egypt, formerly a prince, a murderer, an exile, a man slow of tongue, a shepherd; he was God’s chosen instrument.

11-12 (Moses’ objection and God’s answer)–

Here is the first of Moses’ objections. He says that he is too insignificant. In a way it is understandable. He could perhaps even be considered humble if this was his only objection. However, if God chooses us for something we should humbly accept it. It doesn’t mean that we are great or have the power to accomplish something. God is the one with the power. We should humbly trust and rely on Him to carry us through. The right response would be something along these lines, “God, I am nothing and have no power of my own to carry out this task. Yet I trust in You and in Your power to help me do it. May all the glory go to You.”

God promises to be with Moses each step of the way. This should be enough to silence Moses. If God is for us who can be against us? He also gives Moses a sign to strengthen his faith.

13-15 (God’s Name) –

Moses has another objection, this one indirect. But from it we get one of the best insights into God’s name and character anywhere in the Bible. He says that His name is I AM WHO I AM. This name is extremely important.

      1. Implications (Ask people first what implications they can think of)

        1. God exists

          1. Application/Implication for us: Most people acknowledge God exists, but live as if He doesn’t. We will be judged for our conduct. We will have no excuse. For example you know God is watching you, but you still sin anyway; you ignore Him.

        2. God’s personality and power are not dependant on anything else. The come solely from himself His character is solely from His own and hasn’t been shaped by anything else or any law/standard outside Himself. People are shaped and formed by their upbringing, culture, and environment.

        3. God does not change – He is our foundation that doesn’t move and we can have complete confidence in Him. Family, friends, science, and our situation in life all change. God is the only one who doesn’t. He can’t improve because He is already perfect. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

          1. Application/Implication for us: Anyone ever have someone break a promise to you because they changed their mind? Most of us have. God will never change His mind. Circumstances don’t affect Him. He will keep His promises.

        4. God is what He is. He is not bound to our standards.

          1. Application/implication for us: We must conform to God and not God to us. He is the standard; we are not. Therefore we cannot question Him, His plans, or His wills. We often try to make God do what we want. We expect Him to deal with things the way we would. We sometimes doubt when He doesn’t. We don’t know why sin, death, pain, etc. are still in the world. Why doesn’t God just wipe them out? We would! He is perfect and His ways are too high for us to understand. Isaiah 55:8-9. We must have faith and trust Him because we know what kind of God He is. This fact should comfort us.

        5. This great, infinite God has drawn near to us sinful humans in Jesus Christ. John 8:58-59. We can approach Him freely through Christ. What a great privilege this is! We can be friends with I AM and have a special relationship with Him!

          1. Application/Implication for us: He has drawn near to us so we should rejoice in this and draw near to Him.

Verses 16-22 (The command and message) –

God commands Moses to “go and gather to elders of Israel together” and also to give them the message that He was telling Moses in verses seventeen to twenty-two.

See the outline for the contents of the message.

Chapter 4

1-17 (Moses’ objections) –

Moses was not very quick or willing to do God’s bidding. Perhaps he was scared of going back to Egypt where he was a wanted criminal. Perhaps he was enjoying a comfortable life and didn’t want to give it up. Maybe he didn’t want the responsibility. Or his faith was weak. He objected many times to God’s command. God was quite patient and answered his objections one by one. He gave Moses special power to do miracles to help the people believe. The snake must have truly been a fearsome sight for Moses’ was brave, as evidenced by his intervention to break up the fight 40 years before.

These miracles show several aspects of God’s power. The snake shows his “awesomeness”. He is great and terrible when His wrath is released. Second, He has power to inflict great harm on people (leprosy), but also He has the power to heal. Thirdly, He has complete power over Egypt. The Egyptian people depended on the Nile for survival. If God had power over the Nile to turn it into blood then surely He had power over all Egypt.

His third objection was that he was slow in speech. It means “heavy” or lacking a quick retort. His slowness of tongue was probably greatly exaggerated since he spent 40 years in Pharaoh’s court, where he would have learned such skills. Our objections are also often exaggerated and unreasonable. The point was that Moses didn’t want to do it. Are we willing to obey God’s commands?

Moses’ fourth objection was the strongest of all. He basically ignored all of what God had been telling him. He practically said, “Send somebody else”. Moses was very well qualified for this job. God had promised to be with him and give him His strength. Yet for some reason Moses just didn’t want to do it. Even though God was upset with Moses, He responded graciously and answered Moses’ previous objection again by agreeing to send a helper (Aaron) with him. Aaron became Moses’ mouthpiece. (That’s something that is incorrect about the movie. Aaron’s role is greatly reduced.) Aaron had a large role. God was really raising Moses up, saying he would be like God to Aaron. In other words everything that Moses said would come directly from God Himself.

18-31 (Moses’ obedience)

Finally Moses obeyed and he never looked back. Regardless of our past disobedience we can decide to serve God in the future, move on and never look back. Moses discussed it with his father-in-law and made the necessary preparations. He then went. God told him what to expect and said that He would harden Pharaoh’s heart. It wasn’t going to be quick or easy. Many of God’s commands aren’t.

Verse 24 suddenly changes the course of the story. Apparently Moses had disobeyed God by not circumcising his son. It appears that God struck Moses with some kind of illness that even threatened death. We know from other verses in Scripture that sin does bring about sickness and sometimes death. Zipporah averted God’s wrath and saved Moses’ life by performing the act herself. Then she got mad at Moses. Why? Perhaps she had to do such an unsavory task.

Then Aaron met up with Moses. Together they went to Egypt. Aaron spoke the words from Moses and Moses did the miracles. The people’s immediate response was good. They believed and they worshiped the Lord. This is a good response. As we will see later, when things got difficult for them, their faith withered.

Main Points-

  1. God heard the call of his suffering people. God may seem to us to take a long time to answer sometimes. However, He always has a perfect plan. He can always hear our prayers and He answers them at the perfect time (Psalms 34:17)

  2. When God gives a command to us He will also make the way for us to do it. Moses objected many times, but he was forgetting or ignoring the fact that since God told him to do it He would also provide the means for him to do it. (1 Corinthians 2:3-5)

  3. God is sovereign. He knows every detail of what will happen. Nothing can catch Him by surprise. Here He predicts exactly what is going to happen in Egypt. We should have complete faith in Him because He is in control. (1 Timothy 6:15-16)

Old Testament Survey #6 – Let My People Go
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