Passage: Exodus 1:1–2:25
Community Group Questions: Exodus 1:1-2:25 - "Unstoppable God"
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This year, as a church, we’ll be studying the Old Testament book of Exodus. It’s the epic account of God redeeming a people for himself, rescuing them from slavery, and making them his sons. Have you ever studied Exodus before? How has this book been meaningful in your life?
- Read Exodus 1:1-7 aloud as a group. How did Israel end up in Egypt in the first place? Especially as you look at verse 7, how are the Israelites fulfilling God’s original intentions for humanity (see Genesis 1:28)? How are they fulfilling God’s promises to Abraham (see Genesis 12:3, Genesis 46:2-3)? What do we learn about God’s faithfulness to his promises from these verses?
- Read Exodus 1:8-14. Overnight, things went from good to bad for the Israelites, all because one factor changed: a new Pharaoh came to power who forgot Joseph and owed the people no favors. He tries to stop the people’s growth by enslaving them, but the Israelites multiply all the more (verse 12)! What does this passage show us about the sovereignty of God in the midst of life’s difficulties? In your life, have you ever wrestled with questions of the goodness and sovereignty of God when things suddenly took a turn for the worse? How does Romans 8:28 give us confidence and comfort in God’s sovereign plan?
- Read 1:15-21. The Hebrew midwives Shiphrah and Puah (probably the head midwives over a number of other nurses) defied Pharaoh’s order to kill the Hebrew baby boys. As a result, God blessed and multiplied the people and the midwives all the more (verses 20-21)! How do the actions of these women relate to Jesus’ words in Matthew 10:28, and the Apostles’ words in Acts 5:29? In your personal or professional life, have you ever been put into a situation where those in authority over you demanded things that contradicted God’s authority? How does the account of the midwives encourage and instruct you?
- Read 1:22-2:10. Things go from bad, to worse, to desperate for the Israelites, as Pharaoh issues a decree that all Hebrew baby boys should be thrown into the Nile. Yet, Moses’ family makes a daring plan to preserve his life by putting him in a little boat, and strategically placing it among the reeds on the banks of the Nile. As you read this story, what acts of courage do you notice in the actions of Moses’ mother, Moses’ sister, and Pharaoh’s daughter? What can we learn from their example about taking courage in our own lives as we follow God’s direction?
- The word “basket” in verse 3 is literally the word “ark.” The only other time this word is used in the Pentateuch is in the story of Noah’s ark in Genesis. How does this fact signal that God is at work, advancing his saving purposes, underneath the courageous actions of the people in the story? How have you seen God’s “invisible hand” working through the situations of your life, advancing His saving purposes for you?
- In verse 10, Moses is taken into the palace of the Pharaoh, where he’ll receive the greatest education in the world at that time. How was God uniquely preparing Moses for his future role as the savior of Israel? How does Moses’ bi-cultural background remind you of Jesus Christ, and his unique qualification as both God and man to save us from our sin?
- Read Exodus 2:11-22. By the end of this section, Moses must have felt like a complete failure. He’s been rejected by his people, the Hebrews. The Egyptians see him as an outlaw. He lives among a foreign people. He names his firstborn son “sojourner” (see verse 22). Yet, these 40 years of desert living among shepherds are preparing him to lead and shepherd God’s people through those very deserts! In your life, how have you seen God transform tragedies into opportunities to accomplish His purposes?
- Read verses 23-25. God hears the people’s groaning, honors His covenant promises, sees His people’s pain, and knows their sorrow. He’s ready to respond! And yet, all throughout these chapters, we see that God has never forgotten! He has never stopped working actively, and invisibly, through the circumstances and sufferings of his people. In fact, everything is going exactly according to God’s promised plan to Abraham (see Genesis 15:13-14). How does this overall story encourage us that even when God seems absent in our lives, He is still very much there? What situations are you currently facing in your life that stretch your faith that God’s really there? How does this story encourage you?
- As you look at Exodus chapters 1-2 as a whole, how does the story of Moses remind you of the story of Jesus? (see Matthew chapters 1 and 2 for ideas).
- In Exodus 1-2, we see God advancing His saving purposes through suffering and tragedy. How does this point us to the cross (see Acts 4:27-28)? What does it mean to believe the “foolishness” of the cross (1 Corinthians 1:18)?
Prayer suggestion: Spend time praying for difficult situations in each other’s lives where God may be invisibly at work, despite appearances. Pray for faith to trust our unstoppable God!