Chapter 4 – Moses: Let My People Go
In chapter 3, we looked at how God rescued his fledging people from a famine by moving them to safety in Egypt. However, after Joseph and the Pharaoh who knew Joseph died, things started going downhill for the Israelites.Class Discussion Questions for Chapter Four - Deliverance
Reflection on Chapter 4 - Deliverance
As we pick up the story, four hundred years have passed since Joseph’s family came to Egypt, and the Israelites were suffering as slaves under the current Pharaoh. Moses, the one whom God will select to deliver God’s people from Egypt, was born during the rule of a Pharaoh who required that all baby Hebrew boys be killed. However, Moses life was spared when Pharaoh’s daughter rescued him from the Nile and then raised him as her own son.
Moses grew up in the palace but was seemingly still sympathetic to the plight of his people. When he killed an Egyptian taskmaster and was forced to flee, Moses became a refugee in the land of Midian where he married and began tending his father-in-law’s flocks. After 40 years (when Moses was about 80), he encountered a burning bush, through which God spoke to him and commissioned him to be Israel’s deliverer. Moses doubted his own qualifications and abilities, but God responded with the guarantee of God’s presence.
Moses returned to Egypt with the promise of God and the support of his brother Aaron. As expected, Moses’ demands of freeing the Hebrews were met with Pharaoh’s stubborn refusal. So God sent a series of plagues and a cycle of challenge began: the plague strikes, Pharaoh relents; the plague stops, Pharaoh changes his mind. Then a final plague – the death of the firstborn – occurred throughout Egypt except in those Hebrew households where the doorposts of the house were covered with lamb’s blood. That night the angel of death would come and “pass over” the blood stained houses, preserving the lives of those inside.
The Hebrews left Egypt, but later an enraged Pharaoh took off in pursuit. Trapped between his powerful army on one side and the Red Sea on the other, Egypt’s victory appeared certain. But God split the sea in two and the people walked to safety on dry land. When Pharaoh’s army followed, the seas returned and the army was destroyed.
Israel then embarked on what turned out to be a very long journey to the Promised Land. Early on, the people began grumbling over the lack of water and food, but God again proved `faithful by providing water, manna, and quail to sustain them.
The story of God’s people had just begun. And in God’s deliverance of his people from Egypt, we see a hint of things to come, as many years later, Jesus would come as God’s perfect Passover Lamb and secure deliverance for all people.