Lesson 42: Exodus 3–4

“Lesson 42: Exodus 3–4,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2014)

“Lesson 42,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual

Lesson 42

Exodus 3–4


The Lord called Moses to lead Israel out of Egypt. Moses expressed concern about his inadequacies and his ability to deliver Israel. The Lord reassured Moses that He would be with him and give him power to deliver Israel. Aaron was called to be a spokesman for Moses. Aaron and Moses traveled to Egypt and spoke to the elders of Israel.

Suggestions for Teaching

Exodus 3:1–10

The Lord speaks to Moses from a burning bush

As students enter the classroom, invite them to remove their shoes. (Those who desire to leave their shoes on should be allowed to do so.)

  • What are some reasons you would remove your shoes when you enter a place?

Invite students to look for an important spiritual lesson the Lord taught Moses using Moses’s shoes as a symbol as they study Exodus 3.

Ask students to turn to Bible Photographs, no. 2, “Mount Sinai (Horeb) and the Sinai Wilderness,” in the Latter-day Saint edition of the King James Version of the Bible. Explain that this mountain is called Horeb (see Exodus 3:1) or Mount Sinai (see Exodus 19:20).

Invite a student to read Exodus 3:1–3 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Moses saw while on this mountain.

  • According to verse 3, what did Moses see that caused him to “turn aside” and have a closer look?

  • According to verse 2, who appeared to Moses in the flame of the burning bush?

Invite students to look at verse 2, footnote a, and notice how the Joseph Smith Translation changes the phrase “angel of the Lord.”

  • Rather than an angel, who was it that appeared to Moses? (The Lord Jesus Christ [Jehovah] in His premortal state before His birth into the world.)

Invite a student to read Exodus 3:4 aloud. Ask students to follow along and ponder how they might have responded if they had been in Moses’s situation.

  • How might you have reacted if you had heard the Lord calling to you as you approached the bush? Why?

Ask a student to read Exodus 3:5–6 aloud. Invite the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord said as Moses approached.

  • According to verse 5, why did the Lord stop Moses from coming closer? (Moses needed to remove his shoes because he was on sacred ground.)

  • What can we learn from the fact that the Lord asked Moses to remove his shoes? (We are to be reverent in sacred places; showing reverence to the Lord when we are in sacred places prepares us to draw near to Him.)

Ask students to share some ways they can demonstrate their respect and reverence for God.

Explain that once Moses had removed his shoes, the Lord proceeded to teach Moses why He had come to speak with him. Invite a student to read Exodus 3:6–7 aloud. Ask students to follow along, looking for the Lord’s explanation. Invite students to report what they find.

To help students identify a truth in verse 7, write the following statement on the board and ask them to fill in the blanks after reviewing verse 7: “God sees our , hears our , and knows our .” The truth should read: God sees our afflictions, hears our prayers, and knows our sorrows. You may want to suggest that students mark the words that teach this truth in their scriptures.

  • What experiences have you had that have confirmed this truth to you?

Invite students to read Exodus 3:8 silently, looking for what the Lord planned to do for the children of Israel. Ask them to report what they discover. Then invite them to read Exodus 3:10 silently, looking for how (or through whom) the Lord planned to deliver the children of Israel out of Egypt.

  • According to verse 10, how did the Lord plan to answer the prayers of the children of Israel? (By raising up Moses to deliver them.)

Explain to the class that the Lord’s prophets were foreordained to perform certain missions on earth. As evidence of this truth, invite a student to read aloud Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 50:24, 29 (in the Bible appendix), which records Joseph of Egypt’s prophecy of a prophet who would deliver his people out of the land of Egypt. Ask students to follow along, looking for what Joseph said about this prophet. Invite students to report what they find.

Explain that the life and ministry of Moses were an answer to many prayers (see Exodus 3:7).

  • How was Moses’s ministry an answer to prayers?

  • When we understand that the life and ministry of Moses were an answer to many prayers, what can we learn about how God may answer our prayers? (Students may use other words but should identify a truth similar to the following: The Lord often answers our prayers through other people.)

When Moses was called to be a prophet, the Lord told him, “Thou art in the similitude of mine Only Begotten; and mine Only Begotten is and shall be the Savior, for he is full of grace and truth” (Moses 1:6). The similarities between the life of Moses and the life of Jesus Christ are interesting and instructive. The following chart lists many ways in which Moses is a type of Jesus Christ. If time permits, you could provide students with a copy of the chart with the scripture references filled in but the “Similarities” column left blank. Invite students to work in pairs reading the references and filling in the similarities between Moses and Jesus Christ in the center column.



Jesus Christ

Exodus 1:15–16, 22; 2:1–3

Both escaped a decree of death while in their infancy.

Matthew 2:13–16

Exodus 3:7–10

Both were called to deliver Israel.

2 Nephi 6:17

Moses 1:1, 8, 11

Both were carried away by the Spirit to a high mountain where they were shown the kingdoms of the world.

Joseph Smith Translation, Matthew 4:8 (in Matthew 4:8, footnote a)

Moses 1:12–22

Both overcame confrontations with Satan.

Matthew 4:3–11

Exodus 4:19

Both remained in exile until the kings who sought to kill them had died.

Matthew 2:19–20

Exodus 14:21

Both controlled the winds and the sea.

Mark 4:37–39

Exodus 16:15–18

Both miraculously provided bread.

John 6:5–35

Exodus 17:5–6

Both provided lifesaving water.

John 4:10–14

Exodus 20–23

Both were great lawgivers.

3 Nephi 15:5–10

Deuteronomy 9:16–20, 23–26

Both were mediators between God and their people.

1 Timothy 2:5

Exodus 3:11–4:17

Moses expresses his concerns about his calling and is reassured by the Lord

Invite students to imagine they have been called by the Lord to tell a world leader who is oppressing his people and who opposes the Church to allow Church members in his country to worship God freely.

  • How would you feel if you were called to accomplish this mission?

  • What would give you courage to accept this call?

Explain that Moses expressed a number of concerns to the Lord about his ability to deliver Israel as the Lord had called him to do. Invite a student to read Exodus 3:11 aloud, and ask the class to look for the first concern Moses expressed to the Lord. Invite students to report what they find.

Point out the question “Who am I?” in verse 11.

  • What do you think Moses may have been expressing by asking this question?

To help students identify other concerns Moses had, divide the class into groups of two or three and provide a copy of the following chart for each student (leave the italicized answers off the chart). Instruct students to study the verses listed on the chart as a group. Ask them to list Moses’s concerns and the Lord’s solutions to his concerns in the boxes provided for each verse.

(To help students understand how to complete this activity, consider completing the first two boxes together as a class.)

handout, Exodus chart

Moses’s Concerns

The Lord’s Responses

1. Exodus 3:11

Who am I to be able to do what you have asked?

1. Exodus 3:12

I will be with you.

2. Exodus 3:13

Who should I tell them sent me?

2. Exodus 3:14–17

Tell them I Am sent you unto them. (You might need to explain that “I Am” is another name for Jehovah.)

3. Exodus 4:1

But they will not believe me or listen to me. They will say I am lying.

3. Exodus 4:2–9

Perform the three signs that I will give you (turn a rod into a snake, display a hand bearing leprosy, and turn water into blood).

4. Exodus 4:10

I have never been a good speaker. I am slow of speech.

4. Exodus 4:11–12

I made your mouth, and I will be with you and teach you what to say.

5. Exodus 4:13

Please, Lord, send someone else.

5. Exodus 4:14–17

I will make Aaron a spokesman for you and teach you what to do.

After giving students sufficient time to fill out the chart, ask:

  • What did the Lord tell Moses that could help someone who feels inadequate to accept or perform a difficult calling?

  • What are some doctrines and principles we could learn from the Lord’s response to Moses’s concerns? (After students respond, summarize their answers by writing the following truth on the board: The Lord is with those He calls, and He gives them power to accomplish His work.)

To help students better understand this truth, invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Thomas S. Monson:

President Thomas S. Monson

“Now, some of you may be shy by nature or consider yourselves inadequate to respond affirmatively to a calling. Remember that this work is not yours and mine alone. It is the Lord’s work, and when we are on the Lord’s errand, we are entitled to the Lord’s help. Remember that whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies” (“Duty Calls,” Ensign, May 1996, 44).

  • What experiences in your life have shown you that the Lord gives His servants, including you, power to accomplish His work?

You may want to share an experience you have had when the Lord strengthened you as you sought to do His will. Testify that just as the Lord promised to be with and strengthen Moses, He will be with and strengthen us as we seek to do His work according to His will.

Exodus 4:18–31

Moses and Aaron journey to Egypt and speak to the elders of Israel

Summarize Exodus 4:18–31 by explaining that after his encounter with the Lord, Moses left Midian, met Aaron, and traveled with him to Egypt. Together they told the elders of Israel all that the Lord had commanded. The children of Israel believed Moses and Aaron and worshipped the Lord.

Commentary and Background Information

Exodus 3–4. The similarities of Moses’s life and mission to the life and mission of Jesus Christ

Moses’s life and mission bear many similarities to the life and mission of Jesus Christ. In fact, Moses was told, “Thou art in the similitude of mine Only Begotten” (Moses 1:6). God raised up Moses to perform a divine mission that included not only physically delivering Israel but also teaching them how to be spiritually delivered. His ministry extended beyond the limits of his own mortal lifetime. Joseph Smith taught that, in company with Elias (Elijah), Moses came to the Mount of Transfiguration and bestowed priesthood keys upon Peter, James, and John (see Matthew 17:3–4; Mark 9:4–9; Luke 9:30; D&C 63:21). Moses appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery on April 3, 1836, in the temple in Kirtland, Ohio, and conferred on them the keys of the gathering of Israel (see D&C 110:11). (See Guide to the Scriptures, “Moses”;; see also Bible Dictionary, “Moses.”)

The significance of Moses as a prophet, lawgiver, and holy messenger places him as one of the noble and great sons of God. Moses is referred to in the scriptures as being like unto Jesus Christ (see Deuteronomy 18:15–19; 3 Nephi 20:23). Just as Moses helped deliver Israel from the bondage of Egypt, Jesus Christ delivers mankind from the bondage of sin and death. As Moses worked to prepare the children of Israel to enter the promised land, Jesus Christ works to bring the children of Israel to the celestial kingdom.

For a more detailed comparison of the similarities between Moses and Jesus Christ, you may want to refer to Bruce R. McConkie, The Promised Messiah: The First Coming of Christ (1978), 442–48.

Exodus 3:11–16. “I Am That I Am”

“I Am” is a form of “Jehovah,” one of the names of Jesus Christ recognized by the prophets Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (see Joseph Smith Translation, Exodus 6:3 [in Exodus 6:3, footnote c]). Moses and the Israelites understood the name to mean that God is eternal and not created by man, as were other gods of the day. This name was a way for the Lord to identify Himself as the all-powerful true and living God. The Israelites came to greatly reverence this name and declared that speaking it was blasphemy. The name was so sacred that once the Tabernacle was built, only the high priest was allowed to speak the name in the Holy of Holies, once a year, on the Day of Atonement.

Whenever the name I Am or Jehovah occurs in the Old Testament’s Hebrew text, it is almost always rendered as “LORD.” In the New Testament, a group of Jews sought to kill Jesus because He said, “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58). This New Testament reference confirms that Jesus Christ is Jehovah, the God of the Old Testament.