Small Group Study Guide for Exodus: Lessons In Freedom

You're reading EXODUS: LESSONS IN FREEDOM, by Eric Elder, featuring fifty inspiring devotionals based on one of the most dramatic, yet practical books in the Bible.

You’re reading EXODUS: LESSONS IN FREEDOM, by Eric Elder, featuring fifty inspiring devotionals based on one of the most dramatic, yet practical books in the Bible.

I’m excited to offer this study guide for groups who want to study this material together!  While studying God’s Word on your own can be extremely rewarding, studying it with others can be even more so.  I’ve learned from my own experience that the words of Solomon are true:  “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).

This study is divided into fifty lessons, and the questions that follow can be used for personal reflection, group discussion, or a combination of both.

If your group wants to read and discuss each lesson together, they could meet once a week and complete this study in fifty weeks.  If your group wants to cover the material more quickly, group members could study several lessons on their own during the week, then discuss those lessons together with the group covering five lessons per week for a period of ten weeks.  A set of “summary questions” is also included for this approach.

However you choose to do it, I pray that God will speak to you through it!

Lesson 1

The Israelites may have felt weak since they were slaves in Egypt.  But the reason they were enslaved was because Pharaoh could see they would one day become incredibly strong, so he decided to suppress them before they could overpower him.

1. Is there an area of your life that God may want you to be strong, but because of circumstances or other situations, you feel weak in that area?

2. Could it be that God wants you to use that weakness for His glory somehow?

3. What are some ways He might be able to use it?

4. What are some steps you can take to start moving into what God may have in mind for you in this area?

Lesson 2

While the Israelite midwives faced threats from Pharaoh unless they killed all of the newborn Israelites boys, the midwives feared God more than they feared Pharaoh and decided to do what was right.  They let the boys live, and God blessed not only the Israelites, but the midwives, too.

1. Is there an area of your life where the “fear of man” is keeping you from fulfilling something that God might want you to do instead?

2. What’s the worst that could happen if you stepped forward in what you feel called to do?  

3. What’s the worst that could happen if you don’t step forward in what you feel called to do?

4. How might God bless you, and those around you, if you do step forward in what you feel called to do?

Lesson 3

When God was looking for someone to lead His people into freedom, He found someone in Moses whose heart was already committed to that end.  Even though Moses’ plans to set people free seemed to backfire from time to time, God eventually called Moses to set people free in a big way.

1. Is there something on your heart that you feel called to do, and may have tried to do in the past, but hasn’t yet been fulfilled?

2. If God were looking for someone to do what you feel called to do, what things in your past might show Him that you’re committed to that end, too?

3. What are some things you might do right now to demonstrate that commitment?

4. In what ways could you use some strengthening from God right now to help you carry out what He’s put on your heart to do?

Lesson 4

God came up with a plan to set the Israelites free:  He saw their misery, He heard their prayers, He was concerned about their suffering, and He wanted to rescue them.  But part of His plan also included using Moses, if He was willing, to be His human instrument to bring about that freedom.

1. Why would God want to involve His people in His plans, instead of doing it all Himself?

2. Are there some things going on in the world that make you want to ask why God isn’t doing something about them?

3. If so, is it possible that He might be wanting to ask you the same question?

4. If God were to invite you to take part in His plan, would you want to?

Lesson 5

When God invited Moses to take part in His plan of rescuing the Israelites, Moses protested:  he gave God many good reasons why he wasn’t the best choice for the job.  But God countered all of Moses’ reasons with just one reason of His own:  “I will be with you.”

1. What difference do you think it made to Moses to know that God would be with Him?

2. What difference do you think it would make to you if you knew that God would be with you in what He’s calling you to do?

3. What do you think about the statement, “It’s not a matter of whether you can or can’t, but whether you will or won’t”?

4. What are some things you could do to help you clarify whether God is calling you to do something or not, and whether or not He will be with you or not?

Summary Questions – Lessons 1-5

The book of Exodus is one of the most dramatic books in the Bible.  You may already be familiar with some of the stories contained within it, either from reading it before, or from famous movies based on various aspects of the story.

1. Flip through the pages of the book of Exodus, looking at just the headings of each section if you’d like, and share with the group a topic or two that you find.  (For instance, “the parting of the Red Sea,” or “baby Moses gets put in a basket.”)

2. The word Exodus means to flee or to “exit,” and the book of Exodus describes how God helped the Israelites escape from their bondage in Egypt.  What are some other bondages from which God might want to help His people escape?

3. In what ways did the “fear of man” enslave the Israelites, and in what ways can the “fear of man” enslave us today?

4. In what ways did the “fear of God” help the Israelites step into their divine destiny, and in what ways can the “fear of God” help us today to do the same?

5. What are some things that you see in the world around you that you hope God would do something about–and that He might be hoping you would get involved in doing something about, too?

6. Although it seems like God could have rescued the Israelites all by Himself, He chose to use Moses as His human instrument to accomplish His plan.  Share why you think God would rather work through His people than doing everything Himself?

7. Although Moses and God were on the same page regarding what they hoped would happen, what seemed to hinder Moses in jumping into God’s plan, and what seemed to help him finally agree to do it?

8. Look through the rest of the questions and your answers for Lessons 1-5, and share with the group one or two that might be particularly significant to what you’re going through in life right now.

9. Read 2 Chronicles 16:9a again, and share in what ways you might hope that God would strengthen you in the days ahead?

10. Close in prayer for each other, remembering that if God has called you to do something, He will be with you to help you do it.

Lesson 6

When Moses first approached Pharaoh about letting the Israelites go free, Pharaoh did just the opposite and increased the workload on the Israelites.  Moses could have been discouraged and even wondered if this was God’s plan at all, until he stopped to ask God again about the situation.

1. What does a home-improvement project usually look like when the remodeling begins?

2. How can knowing beforehand that things might get messy help you to keep your faith when you step out to do what God has called you to do?

3. When Moses saw the workload increase for his people, instead of setting them free, what did he do to make sure he was still on track?

4. Why is it important to win the battle of faith first, before even attempting the battle in the flesh?

Lesson 7

When Moses returned to God to make sure he was still on the right track, God assured him that he was.  God continued to promise Moses that it would be “because of my mighty hand” that Pharaoh eventually let the people go.

1. Have you ever had something in your life backfire, even when you were pretty sure it was God’s plan prior to that point?

2. What did God say to Moses to reassure him that Moses was still on track (see verses 2-8)?

3. If God has spoken to you about something you’re to do in life, is there something tangible that you could use as a visible reminder of what he’s called you to do, to help you through those “hump days” in your life?

4. There’s a phrase in the military that standing orders are good orders, meaning that if no new direction has been given, to continue doing the last thing you were told to do.  How might this apply right now to anything you’re going through in your own walk with God?

Lesson 8

In the process of setting the Israelites free, God sent plague after plague against the Egyptians who were holding them in bondage.  Although He might have been able to set them free instantly, He chose instead to use this lengthier, and more difficult process.

1. Which of the plagues do you think would be hardest on you personally, if you were an Egyptian living in Egypt in those days (not counting the final plague on the firstborn)?

2. Why does the Bible say God used this particular process to set the Israelites free?  

3. How can this story, and the stories of Daniel and David and Jonah, be an encouragement to those going through difficult trials in their lives?

4. If God had the choice to set you free in an instant, but you were the only one who would praise God in the end, or He could set you free in another way that might even painful to you, but many would praise God in the end, which would you want Him to do?

Lesson 9

Of all the plagues to strike the Egyptians, none struck as hard, it seems, as the one that took the life of every firstborn male in the land.  Even the Israelites had to make a sacrifice before getting their freedom.

1. Why do you think Moses didn’t take Pharaoh up on his initial offers to let the people go out in the wilderness and worship God for a few days, but leave the women and children, or animals behind?

2. Why do you think God required the sacrifice of the firstborn on the part of the Egyptians, and the sacrifice of an animal on the part of the Israelites, too?

3. How do you react to the idea of “plunging your will into the depths of God’s will, there to be lost forever”?

4. How does the sacrifice in this story correspond to the sacrifice of Christ on the cross?

Lesson 10

When the Israelites celebrated their first “Passover,” it was a night marked by weeping and wailing in the Egyptian streets, as God’s Spirit passed over the houses that were marked by the blood of a lamb.  It was such a memorable event that even today, 3,500 years later, people still celebrate it.

1. Have you ever been through something that has been so difficult, that when you finally came through it, you’ve remembered it ever since?

2. What thoughts do you think were going through the Israelites minds during the night of that final plague in Egypt?

3. What thoughts do you think were going through the Egyptians minds during that night?

4. If you’re going through something difficult in your life right now, what hope might you take from this story?

Summary Questions – Lessons 6-10

The process of coming out of bondage in Egypt was a painful one, both for those who were in bondage and for those who were keeping them in bondage.  But in the end, there was something about the process that focused everyone’s attention on the One who was setting them free, making it a memorable event still for people today.

1. Flip through the pages of Exodus chapters 6-12 and have each person in the group mention one or two things that either the Israelites or the Egyptians had to go through that made their lives harder once Moses showed up, rather than easier.

2. How did Moses handle each of these seeming setbacks to God’s plan:  with superhuman faith, or with something more like what each of us might have felt, or some combination of the two? 

3. Why is it important to gear up for two battles when doing God’s will: the battle of faith (believing God will do what He says He will do), and the battle of flesh (doing the hard work itself).

4. Is there something you do, or something you have done in the past, to help you through the “hump days” of your life?

5. What did you think of excerpts from the stories about Moses, Daniel, David, and Jonah that indicated why God sometimes sets people free in the way that He does (so that all will come to know Him)?

6. What do you think of the idea of plunging your will into the depths of God’s will, there to be lost forever?  Is it an appealing, a frightening, or some combination of the two, and why?

7. The freedom the Israelites received was nothing short of remarkable.  The entire nation of slaves was set free on a single day, with the full permission of everyone in Egypt.  How did God bring such a remarkable event to pass?

8. Look through the rest of the questions and your answers for Lessons 6-10, and share with the group one or two that might be particularly significant to what you’re going through in life right now.

9. Read 1 Corinthians 11:24-25 again, and share in what ways communion, for the Christian, is in some ways related to the Passover Feast for the Jews.

10. Close in prayer for each other, remembering that God often sets people free in a way that all will know that He is the Lord.

Lesson 11

God asked Moses and the Israelites to mark the date that they came out of Egypt in a way that they could remember, and their descendants could remember, the event forever.  The Passover is still celebrated annually all of these generations later, reminding them of the freedom they attained on that remarkable day.

1. What are some memorable dates in your life, dates that you would hope to remember for the rest of your life?

2. What value is there to you, and those around you, of remembering and even celebrating such dates?

3. And in particular, how might commemorating a date you were set free from something be helpful to you, or those around you?

4. In what ways might you want to commemorate for yourself, or share with others, an important date in your life?

Lesson 12

When God brought the Israelites out of Egypt, He put them on an indirect path to the Promised Land, rather than a direct path that led straight to it.  God said that this wasn’t a mistake, but that He did this on purpose, for their benefit.

1. What reason did God give for taking the Israelites the long way around to the Promised Land (verses 17-18a)?

2. Why do you think it’s sometimes true that “the shortest route in the long run is the longest route in the short run.”  Why or why not?

3. Is there anything going on in your life right now that God might be taking you on the longer route to get there so that the outcome in the end will be far better than taking you on a more direct route?

4. What did the Apostle Paul do, as he recorded in Philippians 3:13b-14–that you might do to–to help him keep moving forward on the path God had placed Him?

Lesson 13

After fleeing from Egypt, Moses and the Israelites came up against a wall of sorts:  the Red Sea was in front of them, and the Egyptian army was pursuing them from behind, as Pharaoh had once again changed his mind about letting them go free.  When God told Moses to “Stand firm,” he did, even though there seemed to be no possible way of escape.

1. Why is “standing firm” so hard to do sometimes?

2. What was the people’s reaction when they found themselves trapped in this fretful situation?

3. What did God say in response to their fears?

4. How can this story encourage you when you’re facing something in life where the odds seem insurmountably against you?

Lesson 14

After standing firm for just the right length of time, God told Moses to raise His staff and stretch out his hand over the sea.  Although it may have seemed pointless to Moses, he did it, and the sea parted in front of him, and the Israelites crossed over on dry ground with a wall of water on each side of them.

1. Why do you think God asked Moses to raise his staff and stretch out his hand over the sea, when the text says that it was God who drove back the sea with a strong wind?

2. While God certainly encourages us to pray about the situations in our lives, why is it that prayer alone may not always accomplish what God wants to accomplish?

3. Can you think of some other stories in the Bible where people put their faith in action and saw remarkable results, even though it was clear that it was God who was doing that which was remarkable?

4. Are there situations in your life where God might be calling you to “raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea,” even though doing so might seem unlikely to accomplish much of anything unless God intervenes?

Lesson 15

When the Israelites came through the Red Sea, having seen the waves part before them, then close in behind them on the encroaching Egyptian army, they sang a song to the Lord.  The song helped them express their love for their God, and has been sung and remembered for generations so others can express their love to God as well.

1. Have you ever written a poem or a song in honor of someone special, and if so, what was their reaction?

2. How might God react to such a song or poem, whether or not you wrote it yourself or sang one that someone else had written?

3. How might remembering what God has done for you in a song or poem help to solidify the event in your mind, as well as to others in the future?

4. Why not take some time right now to right down a few words or phrases of something you’d like to express to God about what He’s done for you in your life, then keep writing until they come together in a poem or song?

Summary Questions – Lessons 11-15

When God brought the Israelites out of Egypt, He did some specific things to help them to stay free, such as putting them on the longer path to the Promised Land, and to ask them to commemorate the event with an annual feast.  He also gave them some additional signs of His power among them by having them stand firm when things seemed to be caving in, and parting the sea in front of them when Moses raised his staff.

1. If you’ve seen the movies “The Ten Commandments” or “The Prince of Egypt,” share with the group your thoughts on how faithful those movies were to the story you read in the Bible about the parting of the Red Sea.

2. Look again at the story of the parting of the Red Sea in the Bible, and share what aspects of the story make you think this was not just a little creek or river they crossed, nor that the water simply receded on its own for a short period of time, like a tide that goes in and out with the phases of the moon.

3. What are some reasons that God wanted the Israelites to commemorate their coming out of Egypt year after year?

4. Why did God want to take the Israelites to the Promised Land on an indirect path, and why might God sometimes put us on indirect path in life as well?

5. What feelings might you go through if God set you free from something, only to find yourself backed up against a seemingly impassible wall–and then He told you to just “stand firm”?

6. When God is clearly the one who does some of the miracles in our lives, why is it that He still wants us to take some step of action toward bringing it about?

7. If you’ve written a poem or song about something God has done in your life, maybe you’d want to share it with the group at this point, so they can rejoice and be encouraged along with you!

8. Look through the rest of the questions and your answers for Lessons 11-15, and share with the group one or two that might be particularly significant to what you’re going through in life right now.

9. Read Proverbs 3:5-6 again, and share where you feel you are, on a scale of 1-10 (ten being the highest), in trusting the Lord with all your heart for the situations you’re facing in life.

10. Close in prayer for each other, remembering that when we trust in the Lord with all our heart, He will make our paths straight.

Lesson 16

Three days after their dramatic flight through the Red Sea, the people were desperate for God again:  they grumbled against Moses for they had not found water in the desert for three days, and when they did it was undrinkable.  So Moses cried out to the Lord, and the Lord answered his prayer, showing him how to make the bitter water sweet.

1. What kinds of things cause people to go from praising God for one deliverance to grumbling against Him again in such a short time?

2. How would you describe the difference between “grumbling” and “crying out to God,” if there is any difference?

3. How, specifically, did God answer Moses’ cry?

4. If you were to cry out to God today with a specific prayer request, how confident are you that He might give you a specific answer to your prayer?

Lesson 17

Having discovered water and manna in the desert, the Israelites began to tire of the daily provision God had given them and they cried out for more.  God heard their cries, and in an effort to remind them that He was still the Lord their God, their provider, He told them to expect meat to eat every night and every morning.

1. God is our provider, yet sometimes we don’t connect our prayers with His provisions.  Have you ever taken time to write down your prayer requests, then gone back later to see how God answered them?

2. If so, share your experience.  (If not, you might consider trying it!) Have you ever had God answer your prayers in a way that you know that He’s the Lord, that He’s the only one who could have orchestrated the answer you received?

3. Even though God answered the Israelites prayers in this story, what is it about their request and God’s answer that seems to fall short of the beautiful relationship God wished to have with them?

4. What might we do in our prayer time that would both honor God for who He is, yet also express our practical needs to Him?

Lesson 18

When the Israelites ran out of water again, they took out their anger on Moses.  But instead of taking it personally, Moses took it to the Lord, and the Lord reminded them all that He was indeed still with them.

1. Have you noticed that people can be fickle at times, swaying from fully supporting something to fully opposing it on what seems like a moment’s notice?

2. When people oppose you, how well do you do, on a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being you do great) at taking it to the Lord instead of taking it personally?

3. What effect might if have on your heart and attitude if you knew that the Lord was with you in situations like this?  (Not that He is necessarily “siding” with you, but that He is indeed with you, nonetheless).

4. How did God answer Moses when Moses came to Him, and how might God answer you when you come to him?

Lesson 19

When the Israelites went into battle, Moses told Joshua to choose some men and go fight the battle, while Moses went with Aaron and Hur to the top of a hill.  Each man had to take his position and maintain his position in order to see the victory.

1. Why might Moses have sent Joshua into the battle, while Moses himself went up to the top of the hill with the staff of God in his hands?

2. What benefit did it seem to give Joshua and his men for Moses to hold his staff high in the air during the fight? (and why might they have faltered when Moses lowered the staff?)

3. Are there some ways in which this statement applies to you, too?  “It’s not a matter of whether or not you want to be a role model.  You are a role model.  The question is whether you’re going to be a good role model or a bad one.”

4. If you’re currently facing any battles in your life, what position has God called you to take, and how can you better take your position and maintain your position?

Lesson 20

In many ways, Moses has been almost totally alone in his efforts to set the Israelites free.  But in chapter 17, God begins setting the stage for others to join him in his efforts, when God tells Moses to take the elders with him as he takes his next step of faith.

1. What are some of the pros and cons of taking your steps of faith in public, versus taking them in private?

2. How is the challenge Moses faces in this chapter the same as some of the challenges he’s faced earlier?

3. What level of confidence do you think Moses felt in going and doing what God had called him to do, at least compared to the Israelites needed help with their water supply?

4. If God were to call you to take a few others with you on your next step of faith, who might you take, and how might they benefit from being with you?

Summary Questions – Lessons 16-20

Even after helping to set the Israelites free, Moses faced several battles in the desert:  battles of faith, battles within the camp, and battles outside the camp.  But whenever Moses cried out to God, God answered his prayers with miraculous provision and practical steps that Moses could take to meet the needs around him.

1. As much as the Israelites wanted to be free from their bondage, there were times when they seemed to wonder if it would have been better to have stayed in Egypt.  Why is that, and have you ever felt that way?

2. Having read about the Israelites fickleness about going back and forth in their view of their situation, what would you say is one of the keys to remaining firmly on course?

3. While we are always dependent on God for every breath we take, what happens that makes us feel like we can sometimes live without Him?  And what usually happens to make us realize our utter dependence upon Him once again?

4. Is it possible to express our practical needs to God in a way that still honors Him and expresses our trust in Him, rather than our frustration in Him?  If so, how?

5. How was Moses able to not take it personally when the people grumbled against him, and how can we not take it personally when people grumble against us?

6. In what areas of your life do you feel like your life is on display?  And how does what you display affect those around you?

7. Are most of your steps of faith ones that you’ve taken privately, or have you ever had to take steps of faith in public, in one way or another?  If so, what has been the effect of taking a public step of faith?

8. Look through the rest of the questions and your answers for Lessons 16-20, and share with the group one or two that might be particularly significant to what you’re going through in life right now.

9. Read Matthew 28:20b again, and share what difference it would make in your life if you believed Jesus’ statement and took it to heart, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

10. Close in prayer for each other, remembering that Jesus is with you always, to the very end of the age.

Lesson 21

After some time in the desert, Moses began to feel the strain of Moses being the sole judge over the people’s disputes.  On the verge of wearing himself out, as well as the people, Moses’ father-in-law urged him to get help in the form of putting a system in place of additional leaders who could help Moses judge the people’s disputes.

1. How well can you relate with these words of Mother Teresa, who said, “I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish He didn’t trust me so much.”

2. What do you think about the question, “Why would God give you more to do than one person to do?”

3. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all you have to do, what do you think of these two options:  1) either God hasn’t give you all of those things to do and you might need to back out of some of them, or 2) God has given you all those things to do and you might need to find a new way to do them?

4. What kind of solutions might God be showing you right now about how to accomplish all that He’s given you to do?

Lesson 22

When the Israelites reached the mountain to which God told them to go, God also told Moses that He would allow the people to hear Him speaking to Moses, so that they would always put their trust in him.  God wanted to establish Moses in the eyes of the people, so that they would listen to and follow his lead for the rest of their time together.

1. Have you ever stepped out in faith for yourself, only to realize later that your step of faith encouraged others to step out in faith as well?  Consider some of the people who are in your “sphere of influence,” the people you encounter in a typical week (such as family, friends and co-workers, as well as others you come in contact with: bank tellers, postal workers, doctors, nurses, people on the Internet, etc.)

2. How might they be affected by your thoughts, words and actions this week?

3. What are some ways that God may have already “established” you in their eyes, as an ambassador for Him?

4. How might God use your faith in God this week to help others grow in their faith in Him?

Lesson 23

God gave Moses and the people a set of rules to follow, the Ten Commandments.  Those rules weren’t meant to put limits on the people to keep them in a new type of bondage, but to allow them to live as freely as possible and still stay in harmony with one another.

1. What’s your feeling about the Ten Commandments in general?  Do you see them more as unnecessary restrictions on your life and putting you back under a new kind of bondage, or as words of wisdom to help you live more freely?

2. We often think of the Ten Commandments in terms of how they apply to us personally. But how do you think the Ten Commandments helped Moses as he began to include other leaders in helping him judge the people’s disputes?

3. In your own leadership of those around you, whether at home or work or other activities, how can rules help everything and everyone work more smoothly?

4. Are there any rules you might need to, or want to, put into place in the days ahead to help things run smoother in your life?

Lesson 24

The Ten Commandments are followed by over 600 more rules for living that God gave to Moses and the people in the desert.  The rules would allow Moses and the people to know and understand how they could best live together in the coming years, and also to help the new set of leaders decide any disputes that arose among the people.

1. Do you think the Ten Commandments and the 600 rules that followed were altogether “new” rules that God wanted to give the people, or more likely a “codification” of the rules that God had already been using to help the people live together in harmony, or some combination of the two?

2. If God has given you wisdom in certain areas of your life, how might sharing that wisdom with others help them in their lives?

3. Consider some of the questions asked in today’s message and write down your answers:  What topics in life has God spoken to you about the most?  Or the most often? Or the most clearly? What questions have you struggled with, wrestled through, and found God’s answers?

4. What are some ways you might be able to share what you’ve learned from God with others?

Lesson 25

God promised the Israelites that He would bring them into a “promised land,”  but He also knew that they weren’t yet able to occupy the entire land, that it would become desolate and the wild animals would overrun it.  So God told them He would give it to them little by little, until they had increased enough to take possession of all of it.

1. What are some things you’re praying about right now where it seems God is delaying the answer?

2. How might this passage help you in seeing God’s perspective on those situations?

3. While you may feel like you’re ready for God’s full answer to your prayers, in what ways might He still want to “increase you” so that when the answer comes, you’ll be ready for it?

4. Read Ephesians 3:20, and consider what it might look like if God really answered your prayers in a way that was immeasurably more than all you could ask or imagine.  How willing would you be to wait for an answer like that?

Summary Questions – Lessons 21-25

After setting the Israelites free from Egypt, God began to expand Moses’ ability to lead them through the desert by raising up more leaders to help him.  God gave Moses and the people the Ten Commandments and over 600 other rules to help them live in freedom with each other, and by which the leader’s could judge the people’s disputes.

1. Look through the list of rules God gave the people in Exodus 20-23.  Share with each one or two of the rules that stand out as particularly interesting or unusual to you.

2. Why do you think the laws of many nations around the world are still based on the rules God gave to the Israelites in the desert so many years ago?  And what is it about the Top 10 that make them stand out from all the rest?

3. With all the wisdom Moses already had, why was it that Jethro was able to see a way for Moses to lead the people even better, a way that Moses either never considered before, or at least never implemented?

4. How might it affect you–in terms of what you say and do in your life–to know that others are watching your walk with God and could be directly influenced by it in one way or another?

5. What do you think of the idea of rules being like the tracks that enable a train to go as fast as it does, or a kite string that enables a kite to fly as high as it does?

6. What is one topic that you feel God has taught you the most about in life–or about which you have wrestled with the most and found some of God’s answers?

7. What reason did God give the Israelites for why He wasn’t going to give them the promised land all at once (see Exodus 23:29-30)?  And how might that apply to any situations you’re facing in your life today?

8. Look through the rest of the questions and your answers for Lessons 20-25, and share with the group one or two that might be particularly significant to what you’re going through in life right now.

9. Read Exodus 20:1-3 again and share why you think God put this first commandment ahead of all the rest.  

10. Close in prayer for each other, remembering the One True God you serve, and how very much He loves you.

Lesson 26

From the very beginning, God told Moses why He wanted to free the Israelites:  so they could worship Him freely.  And in chapter 24, Moses and several of his leaders finally got to go up to the mountain God had called them to, and they ate and drank in the presence of God.

1. Why does God seem to love it so much when we worship Him?  What does it do for Him?  And what does it do for us?

2. Even though there are more times of worship coming up for the Israelites, where everyone will be involved, what might have made this time of worship so special to God, to Moses, and to the elders that came with Him?

3. How do you best like to worship?  With words? Your music? In your heart? In other ways?

4. Why not take some time right now to worship the Lord, whether it’s in your favorite way, or just in your heart, right where you are (which might be your favorite way!)

Lesson 27

God told Moses to have the people make a sanctuary for Him, a place where He would dwell among them.  Just as God had spoken to Noah about the specific details of how to build the ark for the animals, God now gave Moses very specific instructions for how to build this place of worship.

1. What would you say to someone who says that God only speaks in generalities, such as “Love one another”?  

2. Why might God want to speak so specifically to His people at times?

3. Do you believe that God could still speak so specifically to you about the situations you’re facing in your life?  Why or why not?

4. Is there something you’d like to ask God for wisdom about?  Take a few minutes to ask Him now, and listen for His answer.

Lesson 28

God told Moses make sacred garments for his brother Aaron to give him dignity and honor as he served as the high priest.  God wanted to consecrate him in a special way for this special work of service.

1. Why do you think God may have wanted to set Aaron apart with special garments for his duties as a priest?

2. As you read through Exodus 28:1-40, what other reasons did God have for creating Aaron’s ephod and breastpiece the way He did, and who else would He be honoring through the specific symbols and engravings that He used?

3. Can you think of some people in your life who might benefit from being honored for the work they’re doing?

4. If so, are there some specific ways you might be able to give them such dignity and honor?

Lesson 29

God called Moses to anoint, ordain and consecrate Aaron and his sons for the work of service God had called them to do.  Moses was to anoint them with a special mixture of oil and spices, blended specifically for this purpose of consecrating them for this work.

1. Can you think of other people in the Bible whom God anointed for the work they were to do? (see 1 Samuel 10:1, 1 Samuel 16, 1 Kings 1:39, for examples)

2. What purpose does anointing people with oil seem to serve?

3. What purpose might anointing people with oil serve today?

4. In Luke 4:18, Jesus quoted the words of Isaiah the prophet and said that God had anointed Him for a specific purpose.  What was that purpose, and how might God want you to serve others with that same purpose?

Lesson 30

Moses was able to accomplish all the work that God had for him to do because he was able to put a system in place, a system that involved other people in the work.  Thankfully, he didn’t have to do it all alone, and God showed him specific steps he could take to make it happen all along the way.

1. Consider what might have happened to Moses had he not gotten others involved in the work?  What would his life have been like, and what would the people’s lives have been like that he served?

2. By involving others in the work, how was he able to expand the work that God had called him to do?

3. What are some barriers that might keep you from involving others in the work that God has called you to do?  And what are some of the benefits of involving them in the work?

4. When you weigh the barriers against the benefits, are there some things you might do differently in your own life having seen the example of Moses in this study?

Summary Questions – Lessons 26-30

God called Moses and the Israelites out of Egypt so they could worship Him freely.  Once in the desert, God gave the Israelites specific instructions for creating a place of worship that was beautiful and enthralling, setting apart various people for various purposes.

1. Read through some of the verses about why God wanted to set the people free from their bondage:  Exodus 3:12, 4:23, 7:16, 8:1, 8:20, 9:1, 9:13, 10:3, 24:1.  Why does bondage sometimes keep people from being able to worship?

2. Some people seem to be able to worship even while they’re being held captive by others.  Are such people really in bondage or not?

3. What do you think of the statement: “The degree of freedom we have in our lives is directly proportional to the degree to which we’re able to worship God from our hearts.”

4. Some people think God only speaks in generalities, like “Love one another.”  While that’s certainly true, can you give some examples from the Bible where God spoke to people very specifically?

5. Just as Moses was called to make sacred garments for the priests who served God alongside of him, are there some specific ways you can give “dignity and honor” to those whom God may have called to serve alongside you? 

6. Can you think of some examples of when God anointed people for His work? In what ways can we anoint, consecrate, or dedicate people to God’s work today?

7. In what ways might involving others in the work God has called you to do help to expand that work exponentially?

8. Look through the rest of the questions and your answers for Lessons 26-30, and share with the group one or two that might be particularly significant to what you’re going through in life right now.

9. Read Matthew 11:28 again, and share what how worshiping God can help you ease your burdens and give you rest.  Share also how it might do the same for God!

10. Close in prayer for each other, remembering that God has called you out of bondage so you can worship Him.

Lesson 31

God called the Israelites to make an offering to Him twice a day:  once in the morning and once in the evening.  As they did this, He told them that He would meet with them and speak with them there.

1. While there are benefits of talking to God throughout the day, what’s the benefit of setting aside time every morning and every evening to come to talk with Him?

2. Do you have a routine in place that helps you to spend time with God at least once or twice a day?  If not, is it something you’d like to start?

3. What are some ways that using a devotional can enhance your quiet time with God, in addition to just reading the Bible itself?

4. Consider making a plan for spending quiet time with God twice a day. Write down what you might study during that time. If you don’t have anything in mind, consider looking for some devotionals or other tools that could help you make the most of your time with God.

Lesson 32

God asked Aaron to build an altar where he could burn incense every morning and at twilight.  Having a special place and a special activity to do at the altar created a fragrant offering to the Lord.

1. Do you have a special “place” where you have quiet time before the Lord?  

2. If you do have a special place, where is it?  And if you don’t, what are some places that might lend themselves to quiet moments with Him?

3. How can spending quiet time with God be like a fragrant offering to Him?

4. If there’s something else you’d like to do in your quiet time with God that would make it special, write it here.

Lesson 33

God asked Moses to make a bronze basin where people could wash their hands and feet before entering the Tent of Meeting.  Being washed clean first would keep them from dying.

1. While there’s value in coming to God “just as you are,” what value might there be in getting washed clean before coming into His presence?

2. What does unconfessed sin do to our intimacy with others?

3. How can unconfessed sin affect our relationship with God?

4. If you’re aware of any unconfessed sin in your life, read 1 John 1:19 again and be encouraged to bring those sins to God and receive His forgiveness and cleansing.

Lesson 34

After calling the people to make all kinds of beautiful things for their place of worship, God pointed out those whom He had given special skills to carry out that work.  He says He also filled them with His Spirit to take on these special tasks.

1. God seems to have equipped the Israelites with special skills even while they were in bondage.  How did He want them to use those skills now that they were free?

2. Even with the special skills God had given them, why did He also need to fill them with His Spirit?

3. What are some special skills God has given you that you, even skills that you may have acquired in a totally secular way, that you could now use for Him?

4. Ask God to fill you with His Spirit, to enable you to do those things He has called you to do.

Lesson 35

Even with all the work God called the Israelites to do, He also wanted to make sure they had a break one day out of every seven.  This followed the example He Himself set for us by taking a Sabbath of rest after creating the world in six days.

1. Are you ever reluctant to “rest” on the Sabbath day?

2. Why do you think God was so serious about people taking a Sabbath day of rest, saying that anyone who didn’t rest was to be put to death?

3. The Sabbath is a day to recharge our batteries, just like sleep recharges us at night, except that on the Sabbath, we get to stay awake and enjoy the time of rest!  What are some things you could do on the Sabbath, if you could do anything at all, that would bring “rest to your soul”?

4. Can you do any of those things on this coming Sabbath?  If so, why not give it a try?

Summary Questions – Lessons 31-35

God wanted to meet with the people at the Tent of Meeting.  He gave them several details for making the most of their meeting time with Him, from the timing and location, to the preparations they could make before and during their time together.

1. Why do you think God the Creator longs to meet with those whom He has created?

2. If you were in His place, why would you want to spend time with those you had created?

3. Why do you think God wanted the people to meet with and talk with Him every morning and at twilight?

4. If you have a regular place or time that you meet with God, where and when do you do it?  If not, where might you do it?

5. How can confessing your sins to God help you in your relationship with Him?

6. What kinds of skills has God given you that God might be able to use for Him?  And how would His filling you with His Spirit help you in using those gifts?

7. What would you do if you could do something on the next Sabbath day that would truly bring “rest to your soul”?

8. Look through the rest of the questions and your answers for Lessons 31-35, and share with the group one or two that might be particularly significant to what you’re going through in life right now.

9. Read Matthew 11:28-30 again and think through how having daily, and even twice daily quiet times with God can help bring rest to your soul.  Share also how keeping the Sabbath free from work can also bring you God’s rest.

10. Close in prayer for each other, asking God to help you take time out of your days and weeks to get recharged with Him.

Lesson 36

People are wired to worship, and they’re going to worship something, whether it’s God or something else.  God wants us to focus our worship on Him.

1. While God was telling Moses all the incredible things He wanted the people to do with their skills and resources, they created a golden calf worshiped it instead, as Moses had not yet come down from the mountain.  How does this reinforce the fact that people are “wired” to worship?

2. Even though we’re wired to worship, does it make much difference what we worship?

3. Can the same thing be said for love…if we’re wired for love, does it make much difference with whom we choose to share that love?

4. Are you worshiping anything other than what God wants you to worship?  If so, why not refocus your worship back on Him today?

Lesson 37

When the people turned away from God, God was ready to let them perish in their sinfulness.  But Moses reminded God of what would happen if He did, that the other nations would look at God as if He were evil, and the promises God had made for their future would be thwarted.

1. Some people think that God appears to be mean in the Old Testament.  But given all that He had done for the Israelites up to this point, do you think He was acting with evil intent?

2. Even though Moses might have been tempted to agree with God, that the people should be wiped out, why did He plead with God to spare them?

3. Do you ever encounter people, and their sins, whom seem to deserve any punishment God might dole out to them?

4. What might happen if you pleaded with God for mercy on them in their behalf?

Lesson 38

Moses pleaded with God for the lives of the Israelites, offering to have God’s wrath come upon him instead of upon them, even though they were the ones who have sinned.  God responded by dealing with their sin, but also in showing great mercy.

1. What did Moses say that God could do to Him if He wasn’t willing to forgive the people’s sins (verse 32)?  Why would Moses put himself on the line like that?

2. How does what Moses did compare to what Jesus did for us?

3. While we may have to deal with people who sin, how can we do it in a way that reflects the hearts of Moses and Jesus when people sinned around them?

4. How might someone act differently if they had a heart of hate for those who sin, instead of a heart of love?

Lesson 39

Moses was distressed that even though God wasn’t going to destroy the people for their sin of creating and worshiping the golden calf, that He wasn’t going to go with them on the rest of their journey either.  Moses made it a point thereafter to regularly meet with God in the “tent of meeting,” to continue pleading with God on their behalf.

1. How did Moses speak with God when they met at the tent of meeting?

2. Joshua was a young aid to Moses at this time, and later was selected to lead the people into the promised land.  How is Joshua’s heart for the Lord revealed in this passage (verse 11)?

3. What might you do to enhance your time with God, to be sure that you’ve truly met with Him during the day?

4. While Moses spoke with God face to face, how do we speak with God and hear from Him today (see John 16:13)?

Lesson 40

Just like Moses and Joshua stepped into the tent of meeting to meet with God, we, too can step into His presence at any moment, anywhere we are.

1. While some people wish they had a tent of meeting where they could visit with God, God has now given us His Holy Spirit, who dwells within us.  In what ways is this even better than the tent of meeting that Moses and Joshua had?

2. How free do you think you have to be before you can step into the presence of the Lord?

3. What sometimes keeps you from stepping into God’s presence maybe more than you might like to do?

4. As today’s devotional suggests at the end, why not take a little time to just step into His presence today?

Summary Questions – Lessons 36-40

People are wired to worship, but sometimes they focus their attention on things other than God.  When they do, God wants them to refocus on Him.  Moses, like Jesus, pleaded with God to forgive others of their sins, even though they may have deserved any punishment that He would have given them.  God wants us to have the same heart for others, pleading their cause even if they deserve otherwise.

1. When Moses saw the people sinning, after all the miracles they had seen, what could he have done instead of pleading for their forgiveness?  And what might have been the result if God did what he had said?

2. How did Moses’ heart for God carry over into his heart for the people (see Exodus 32:8-14).

3. What evidence in life makes you think that we really are “wired” to worship, even if we don’t always worship the right thing.

4. What can we learn from Moses’ conversation with God on behalf of the people in terms of how we can stand in the gap for others as well?

5. How can we deal with sin, yet with a heart like Jesus?

6. While Moses got to meet with God and hear from Him in the tent of meeting, how has God enabled each of us to meet with Him and hear from Him today (see John 16:13)?

7. These lessons are a reminder that you can step into and out of God’s presence at any moment.  How can this reminder help you face the week ahead?

8. Look through the rest of the questions and your answers for Lessons 36-40, and share with the group one or two that might be particularly significant to what you’re going through in life right now.

9. Read Exodus 33:11 again and consider what it must have been like to be a young aid in the presence of Moses, watching him converse with God as he did.  Share how that experience may have prepared and equipped Joshua to eventually lead the people into the Promised Land.

10. Close in prayer for each other, asking God to remind you step into His presence at any moment in the week ahead.

Lesson 41

For as many conversations as Moses had with God throughout their time before, during and after the Exodus from Egypt, Moses still asks to see more of God, saying “Now show me your glory.”  Moses continually longer for a more and more intimate relationship with God, asking God to reveal more and more of Himself to Moses.

1. For all that Moses and God had been through together, why might Moses have wanted to go deeper still in his relationship with God?

2. What does this say about our relationships with God, whether we’re new to that relationship or whether we’ve been in a relationship with Him for years?

3. How might you apply the biblical idea of “knowing” someone to your relationship with God?

4. What might happen if you were to ask God to show you His glory like Moses did? Why not ask and find out?

Lesson 42

Moses asked God to show him God’s glory.  God responded by letting His name pass before Moses, a name that described in His essence, who He was, in detail.

1. What’s been your view of God in the Old Testament?

2. Does God’s description of Himself here in Exodus 34:1-7 match the view you’ve had, or not?

3. In what ways did Jesus exhibit similar traits in the New Testament?

4. In what ways has God shown His grace to you (read Romans 5:8 again for ideas), and in what ways can you show that grace to others?

Lesson 43

When God passed in front of Moses, Moses’ response was immediate:  he bowed bowed down and worshiped, “at once.”  God often passes by us during the days, too, because He’s not just in the big things or just the little things―He’s in all things.

1. Have you ever had an experience where you felt like God passed by you, even if it were for a fleeting moment?

2. If so, what was your reaction at the time?

3. Why was “worship” an appropriate response for Moses when God passed by? And why is it appropriate for us as well?

4. When you ask God to show you His glory, be prepared to respond the way Moses did―with worship!

Lesson 44

God had many things He wanted to do for the Israelites, and He had many things He called Moses to do to help Him.  What resulted from their conversations in their quiet times together has impacted people for thousands of years.

1. If God can do all things, why does He need our help?

2. If He has so much He wants us to do, why do we need His help?

3. What’s the relationship between praying and doing the work God wants us to do?

4. Can you think of anything from your own quiet times with God that has changed the course of your life or the lives of others?

Lesson 45

After Moses had spent an extended time in God’s presence, he came out with his face shining so bright that he had to wear a veil in front of the people.  Just like the moon reflects the brightness of the sun, bringing light in the darkness, so we too can reflect the glory of God, bringing light to those around us.

1. How did being in God’s presence change King David?

2. How did being in God’s presence change Moses?

3. How can being in God’s presence change you?

4. How can your being in God’s presence change those around you, even without that being your initial goal?

Summary Questions – Lessons 41-45

Moses asked God to show him God’s glory and God did it, by making His name pass in front of Moses.  As a result, Moses got to know God more intimately than before, eventually even reflecting God’s glory to all those around him.

1. Why do you think one of God’s greatest gifts is to give us eternal life with Him? How long do you think it would take to get to know Him as intimately and as fully as possible?

2. Why do you think Moses would want to see more of God’s glory, even after all the miracles and amazing things Moses had seen already?

3. Why do we long for intimacy in our human relationships?  And how does this translate to our relationship with God?

4. What are some things that would be on God’s nametag, according to Exodus 34:5-7?

5. What was Moses’ immediate response when God did allow His glory to pass before Him?

6. What’s the relationship between prayer and the things God wants to do through us?

7. How did spending time in God’s presence change Moses?  And how can it change us (and even those around us)?

8. Look through the rest of the questions and your answers for Lessons 41-45, and share with the group one or two that might be particularly significant to what you’re going through in life right now.

9. Read Psalm 4 again and consider why David often goes into God’s presence in distress and comes out of God’s presence with peace.  Share any similar experiences you may have had in your life.

10. Close in prayer for each other, asking God to change you as you come into His presence.

Lesson 46

When it came time to carry out the work that God had laid before Moses and the people, Moses made to the call to all who were willing and skilled.  The response was so overwhelming that Moses had to restrain the people from bringing more.

1. Why is it so hard for us to sometimes ask for help?

2. Rather than demanding people to participate, Moses called on everyone who was “willing.”  What difference do you think it made to the people for Moses to make his call the way he did?

3. What did Moses have to trust when he put out the call like he did?

4. If there’s something God has put on your heart to do for Him, and you don’t think you can possibly do it yourself, who might you call to help you out?

Lesson 47

After Moses made the call to all who were willing and skilled, the people set about doing the work that God had called them to do.  They followed God’s plan in every detail, and produced a masterpiece in the end: a beautiful place to worship God.

1. Have you ever been so consumed by the planning for a project that when it came time to put the plan into practice, you felt like you were out of steam?

2. What from Moses’ story might encourage you to do the work, even keeping to all the details, that God has called you to do?

3. Is there anything you or others could do to help you through this time, to give you strength for the work ahead?

4. Let me encourage you to do as the Israelites did:  Don’t give up.  Don’t give in. Don’t stop pushing now.  Dow the work!  And get it done!

Lesson 48

Moses and the people found the strength to finally “finish the work,” just as God had commanded them to do.  And as they did His reward for them was just around the corner.

1. Are there some projects in your life that might be at 211 degrees, just one degree short of that which would bring the fruit from all your labor?

2. What encouragement can you take from the examples in today’s devotional that  could help you add that one final degree of heat to “finish the work.”

3. What does the Apostle Paul say will be the result of our work, if we don’t get weary along the way (see Galatians 6:9)?

4. Determine in your heart today to finish the work God has given you to do.

Lesson 49

When Moses and the people had finished the work God called them to do, God showed up in a powerful way.  His glory so filled their place of worship that they couldn’t even get into it!

1. What did the glory of the Lord look like as it came down upon the work the people had finished?

2. How was this yet another specific answer to Moses’ prayer back in Exodus 33:18?

3. Who could see the glory of the Lord as it came down upon their work?  And what effect did that have on the people?

4. As you finish the work God has given you to do, ask God again to once again show you His glory!

Lesson 50

God had a reason for setting the Israelites free:  to worship Him.  After setting them free, God gave them specific ways to stay free and to set others free, too–ways which often involved worshiping Him!

1. If worshiping God from your heart is the measure of truly being free, how free do you feel?

2. What was God’s plan for the Israelites from even before they were taken away into bondage (see Genesis 15:14)?  And what happened?

3. What is God’s plan for your life from even before you were taken taken into bondage (see John 3:16)?  And what’s going to happen?

4. Reread Mark 16:15.  What can you do this week to join God in His plan?

Summary Questions – Lessons 46-50

After all the planning and praying about the work God had called the Israelites to do, the time finally came to do it.  They did the work, and God’s glory covered their work in a way that everyone could see it.

1. What’s the most exciting part of a project for you?  Getting the idea, starting the work, finishing the work, seeing the results of the work?

2. What can keep you motivated throughout the whole process?

3. When the time came for Moses to execute the plan God had given him to do, who did Moses call (see Exodus 35:4-10)?

4. Do you ever get tempted to give up on a project just when it’s time to finally do the work?  What encouragement can you take from the Israelites story in Exodus 36:8-13?

5. What’s the “212 Principle,” and how can might it apply to any situations you’re facing right now in your life?

6. What happened when the people finally finished the work?  What came down and covered it?  And how did this answer Moses’ prayer in Exodus 33:18?

7. What was the goal of the Exodus from the very beginning, as found in Exodus 3:12?

8. Look through the rest of the questions and your answers for Lessons 46-50, and share with the group one or two that might be particularly significant to what you’re going through in life right now.

9. Read Genesis 15:14 again and consider God’s long term plan for them from the very beginning.  Then take encouragement from God’s long term plan for you, as found in John 3:16!

10. Read John 4:23-24 and close in prayer for each other, asking God to help you to worship Him fully, in spirit and in truth.

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