Moses #1 (early life)

MOSES #1

 

Possible Lesson Plan:

  1. Open with prayer.

 

  1. Scripture Reference: Exodus 2-14. Whew! Another long one…How about writing the salient events of the chapters on cards, mixing them up, and having the students put the cards in chronological order and say one sentence about each?  Try these:

Moses found by Pharaoh’s sister              Egyptian beating Hebrew

      Moses cast out of Egypt                           Moses at Jethro’s well in Midian

      Moses married Zipporah                           The burning bush

      I am Who I Am                                         Bricks without straw

      Nile into blood                                          Frogs

      Gnats                                                         Insects

      Cattle disease                                            Boils and sores

      Hail like fire                                              Locusts

      Darkness over the land                             Passover

      Parting of the Red Sea                              Death of Pharaoh’s army

 

  1. Service References: Moses and his exploits comprise the largest group of references, beginning with the reading of the story of his being drawn from the river in Exodus 2:5-10 for Theophany vespers. Why would this reading be appropriate?

The burning bush is referenced at matins of the Nativity of the Theotokos:

“The bush on the mountain that was not consumed by fire…plainly prefigured thee, O Bride of God. For in a material womb, unconsumed thou hast received the divine and immaterial fire.” Again, at Christmas, “Plainly foreshadowed by the burning bush that was not consumed, A hallowed womb has borne the Word…” and at the Annunciation, “The bush that burnt with fire and yet remained unconsumed, disclosed the secret mystery that shall come to pass in thee, O pure Maiden, full of grace. For after childbirth thou shalt remain ever-Virgin.” The reading for vespers at the Annunciation is the story of the burning bush, Exodus 3:1-8. How is Mary like a bush??? Many types of fire are referenced at Pentecost. Why? “The unconsumed bush which mingled with fire in Sinai made God known to the heavy-tongued and hoarse-voiced Moses.” Parallels between Pentecost and the disciples’ speech?

      Passover is a regular visitor in Orthodox services. The Resurrection of Christ is even called Pascha, Passover. In the matins service of Theophany, the baptism of Jesus is compared with Passover: “Let us, the faithful, keep ourselves safe through grace and through the seal of baptism. In the past the Hebrews fled destruction by marking the door posts with blood; so also this divine washing unto regeneration shall be our Exodus, and going hence, we shall behold the light of the Trinity that never sets.” On Great and Holy Thursday, “And since thou art the Passover, thou didst offer thyself to those for whom thou wast about to die, saying, Eat ye my Body, and be established in the Faith.” “And in the ninth hour Jesus, the Lamb of God, who took away the sins of the world cried with a loud voice, It is finished, and gave up the ghost, at the very hour in which the Lamb of the Mosaic Passover was being slaughtered, which the Jews had been commanded to sacrifice every year as a symbol of Him…” Indeed Jesus had come to Jerusalem because it was the feast of Passover. And, on Great and Holy Saturday, the Law given to Moses concerning Passover from Exodus 12:1-11 is read. In Ode 4 of the Paschal Canon, the Church states, “Christ our Pascha has appeared as a male child, the Son that opens a virgin womb. He is called the Lamb as one destined to be our food, Unblemished for He has not tasted of defilement, and perfect for He is our true God.” Did Jesus meet the criteria for the Paschal sacrifice? Parallels with Passover and Pascha?

      The parting of the Red Sea is also of great importance to the Church. The path through the sea is our path to salvation at Christmas in the second canon: “Of old the Master that works wonders saved His people, Making the watery wave of the sea into dry land; And now of His own will has He been born from a Maiden, And so He establishes a path for us whereby we may mount to heaven.” The story from Exodus 14 is read on the feast of Theophany at vespers; in the canon “The sea and cloud in which the people of Israel were once baptized by Moses the Lawgiver, as they journeyed from Egypt, prefigured the wonder of the baptism of God. The sea was an image of the water and the cloud an image of the Spirit…” and in the blessing of the waters “Thou art our God who, through the waters of the sea, at Moses’ hand hast set free the Hebrew nation from the bondage of Pharaoh.” What parallels do you see between Theophany and the parting of the Red Sea? In his Canon, St. Andrew of Crete says “Think of the staff that Moses stretched over the waters to divide them. It is an image of the Cross of Christ” and thus the parting of the Red Sea is also referenced by the Church at the feast of the Holy Cross: “Inscribing the invincible weapon of the Cross upon the waters, Moses marked a straight line before him with his staff and divided the Red Sea, opening a path for Israel who went over dry-shod. Then he marked a second line across the waters and united them in one, overwhelming the chariots of Pharaoh”. Even the manger becomes involved at the forefeast of Christmas with “He who in ancient times hid the pursuing tyrant beneath the waves of the sea, is hidden in a manger and Herod seeks to kill Him.” And that same “pursuing tyrant” gets into the act in the canon of the Holy Saturday matins: “Of old Thou didst bury the pursuing tyrant beneath the waves of the sea. Now the children of those who were saved bury Thee beneath the earth.” Who is the pursuing tyrant? How is the sea the manger? The grave? Miriam’s dance for joy prefigures the praises of the Dormition of the Theotokos at matins with “Thy sacred and renowned memorial, O Virgin…has brought all the faithful together in joy, and led by Miriam, with dances and timbrels, they sing the praises of thine Only-begotten Son…”

 

  1. Discussion: Begin by discussing natural disasters today. Bring some articles from a news magazine or newspaper about some recent earthquakes, floods, storms, etc. How did these disasters affect the people involved? How would each of the plagues of Egypt have affected Pharaoh? The common people? Which plague would have been the worst for you to experience? Why?

God asked Moses to do something very difficult. Has God ever asked you to do anything you felt was very hard? Moses was afraid to go to Pharoah. Why? What makes you fearful? How does fear affect our ability to trust God? Did Moses overcome his fear? What were the results? How can we overcome our fear?

What struggle is going on between Moses and Pharaoh? Why is Pharaoh so arrogant? If you’d been in Pharaoh’s position, how would you have responded to Moses? Why was Moses so persistent? Has persistence ever worked for you? In athletics? In school? In what situations? Did you ever give up and quit? What did you learn from the experience? Even after Moses brought them out of Egypt by God’s power, the people again doubted when they saw Pharaoh’s chariots coming after them. Does doubt affect your ability to persist through rough times? What does faith have to do with persistence?

 

  1. Close with prayer: As each student to think about one area in his life in which he needs more persistence. Pray about these areas and pray for each other during the week.