Exodus 4:1-17

EXODUS 4:1-17


Share about a time when you were asked to do something that seemed intimidating or uncomfortable, but you knew you should do it. How did you initially respond when asked to do that thing?
The book of Exodus continues the story of Genesis. In a nutshell, Genesis tells the story of how God created the heavens and the earth, and everything God created was good.

At the pinnacle of this good world, God created humanity to live in a perfect love relationship with him and to image his glory to the world. The first man and woman were given a mission: to multiply and fill the earth with image-bearers of God so that the glory of God would cover the earth like the waters cover the sea (Gen 1:26-27). But an enemy crept into God’s creation, that ancient serpent, the Devil. And he deceived the man and woman, and the world was plunged into sin and death. God promised that one day a descendant of Eve would come as a deliverer, and he would crush the serpent’s head and lead humanity back into God’s presence forever. But until that day, there would be a battle between the Serpent's descendants and Eve's descendants (Gen 3:15).

The rest of Genesis tells the story of how God began to fulfill this redemptive promise through a specific descendant of Eve named Abraham. God came to Abraham and promised that through his family line, all the peoples of the world would be blessed (Gen 12:1-3). In other words, God was telling Abraham that the promised descendant of Eve, who would crush the serpent’s head and bring humanity back to God, would come through his line. Abraham had a son named Isaac, and Isaac had a son named Jacob, and Jacob had twelve sons, and God began fulfilling this redemptive promise.

But Genesis ends with a threat. A famine comes upon the land, and this family, chosen to be the family through whom the deliverer would come, is threatened with extinction. It appears that God’s promises hang in the balance. So they flee to Egypt and find relief there for the next 400 years. The chosen family is spared. This is where Exodus picks up.
In Exodus 1-3, we read of the birth and call of Moses, the man God had chosen to deliver Israel from slavery in Egypt. In chapter 4, we read about Moses’ reluctance to serve as God’s deliverer and how God promised to be with him and display his power through him.


Read Exodus 4:1-17 aloud.


  • Begin by examining the text together. What do you notice? What stands out? Who are the main characters? Is there a discernible structure? What is surprising?1
  • Chapters 3:1-4:17 are one literary unit consisting of 5 episodes in which God calls Moses to go and deliver the people of Israel, Moses resists God’s call, and God responds to Moses’ reluctance. Observe the table below. What is at the heart of Moses’ objections, and how does God’s response give grace to address Moses’ fear?


  • Exodus 4 is a story about how God calls his people to do frightening or uncomfortable things, but ultimately redemptive in nature. Where in your life is God calling you toward something that seems scary? Why does God’s calling in this area seem scary or intimidating?
  • Exodus 4 is also a story about our many fears and objections to God’s calling on our lives. For Moses, the protest amounted to the following: I’m a nobody! People won’t respond well to this! I’m not gifted enough! Just use somebody else! Which of these objections or fears do you most relate with? Why?
  • Finally, Exodus 4 is about God’s grace and power overcoming our fears and insecurities. In the face of Moses’ objections, God promises to be with and empower him. What challenges are you facing right now in your life? And how do the promises of God’s presence and power speak to your fears? Are there any specific verses in this regard that are particularly meaningful to you right now?


Close your time by encouraging one another with the promises of God and praying for one another.
 1Example Observations:
  • Chapter 4 is a continuation of the conversation between God and Moses that began in Chapter 3.
  • Moses’ first objection is that the Egyptians won’t believe that God sent him (1)
  • God gives Moses three signs to perform before the Egyptians: the staff/serpent, the leprous hand, and the Nile turned to blood. All three are designed to validate that God had sent Moses (1-9)
  • Moses’ second objection is that he is not eloquent (10)
  • God answers Moses’ second objection with the promise that he will be with his mouth (11-12)
  • Verse 12: “Go and I will be with you” is very similar to the great commission (Matt 28:18-20)
  • Moses’ third objection was a plea for God to send someone else (13)
  • God is angry when Moses objects a third time (14)
  • Even though God is angry with Moses, he still concedes to his fears and allows him to let Aaron speak on his behalf (14-16)
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