The Lord calls Moses to deliver Israel from bondage.
The Lord sends plagues upon Egypt.
The Lord instructs Moses in the preparation of the Passover.
The children of Israel cross the Red Sea.
A study of this lesson should encourage us to trust the Lord to fulfill
his promises, increase appreciation for the Savior's atoning sacrifice,
and make the sacrament more meaningful.
The Lord Calls Moses
Jacob to Moses
As discussed in Lesson 12, the family of Jacob
or Israel went to Egypt due to the great famine.
Even though the remains of Jacob were returned to his homeland, the
family of Israel remained in Egypt.
Exodus 1:7: "And the children of Israel were fruitful, and
increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the
land was filled with them."
The family of Israel remained in Egypt over 400 years, from 1720 to
A New King In Egypt
Exodus 1:8: "Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which
knew not Joseph."
The Israelites had grown to become a large people. The king of Egypt
feared that they may at some point join with Egypt's enemies and fight
The king turned the Israelites into slaves.
Exodus 1:11: "Therefore they did set over them taskmasters
to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure
cities, Pithom and Raamses."
Exodus 1:12: "But the more they afflicted them, the more they
multiplied and grew."
WHAT MIGHT WE LEARN FROM THE AFFLICTIONS OF ISRAEL?
The time of captivity was a time for building the Israelite nation
and preparing it to assume its rightful inheritance.
Compare the captivity to the Restoration: The foundation of the modern
Church was established in the fire of adversity.
Consider the trials in Kirtland, Independence, Far West, Nauvoo, and
even after arriving it Utah.
The muscle and strength that built and carried the Church into our
generation is a result of the growth which came to the Church and its members
during those difficult times.
Our Personal Lives: Adversity is not usually an enjoyable experience,
but it is how we grow towards personal perfection. Again, consider the
lives of Abraham and Joseph.
When times get tough, turn to Exodus 1:12 and be grateful for the opportunity
to "multiply and grow."
The Egyptians were unable to stop the growth of the Hebrew nation through
Pharaoh then gave instructions to the Hebrew midwives that all male
infants were to be put to death (see Exodus 1:15-22).
Exodus 1:17: "But the midwives feared God, and did not as the
king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive."
Exodus 1 seems to indicate that Pharaoh destroyed these male children
to inhibit the growth of the Hebrew nation. Ancient Hebrew tradition indicates
that there was more to it.
Josephus and Jonathan ben Uzziel, ancient Jewish writers, recorded
that the Pharaoh had a dream wherein he was shown that a man soon to be
born would deliver Israel from bondage, and this dream motivated the royal
decree to drown the male children.
The Birth and Preservation of Moses
We all know the story of the birth of Moses, how he was saved, and
raised in the house of Pharaoh, as the son of his daughter.
Little is said of the youth of Moses. Stephen, in the New Testament
gives us this insight: "And when he was cast out, Pharaoh's daughter
took him up, and nourished him for her own son. And Moses was learned in
all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds"
"And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart
to visit his brethren the children of Israel. And seeing one of them suffer
wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the
Egyptian" (Acts 7:23-24).
When Pharaoh found out about this act of Moses, he sought to slay him.
"But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the
land of Midian" (Exodus 2:15).
If you are like me, when you read this Biblical account, pictures fill
the mind from that great movie, The Ten Commandments. The movie embellishes
this period of time, where the scripture says little.
Moses In Midian
In Midian, Moses became acquainted with Reuel (Jethro).
Jethro was a descendant of Abraham.
Moses married Jethro's daughter Zipporah and had two sons.
We suppose that it was here that Moses began to be taught the true
D&C 84:6 tells us that Moses received the higher priesthood from
As Moses was tending the flocks of Jethro at Mt. Horeb (Sinai) he was
visited by the Lord.
Exodus 3:2: "And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in
a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush:"
JST Exodus 3:2: "And again, the presence of the Lord appeared
unto him, in a flame of fire in the midst of a bush."
The Reluctant Moses
Moses call: "Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children
of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith
the Egyptians oppress them. Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto
Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel
out of Egypt" (Exodus 3:9-10).
HOW DID MOSES REACT WHEN GOD CALLED HIM TO DELIVER ISRAEL FROM BONDAGE?
Exodus 3:11: "And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should
go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out
Exodus 3:13: "And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come
unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers
hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what
shall I say unto them?"
Exodus 4:1: "And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they
will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The
LORD hath not appeared unto thee."
Exodus 4:10: "And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am
not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant:
but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue."
HOW DO YOU ACT OR FEEL WHEN YOU RECEIVE A CALLING FROM THE LORD?
WHAT PROMISES DID THE LORD MAKE TO MOSES THAT CAN ALSO APPLY TO US
IN OUR CALLINGS?
Exodus 3:12: "And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and
this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee."
Exodus 4:12: "Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth,
and teach thee what thou shalt say."
HOW MANY HAVE BEEN ON A MISSION OR INVOLVED IN A TEACHING ASSIGNMENT
AND HAVE SEEN THIS PROMISE FULFILLED?
HOW CAN WE, LIKE MOSES, DEVELOP GREATER TRUST IN THESE PROMISES?
We need to be like Nephi and "go and do the things which the
Lord hath commanded". When we are up and doing the Lord's work,
the path seems to be illuminated enough to keep going.
I am reminded of an experience of my youth. During my teen years, my
friends and I always participated in the annual climb up Mt. Timpanogos.
Hundreds of people would assemble at Aspen Grove on Friday evening to climb
the mountain beginning early Saturday morning. My friends and I always
wanted to get ahead of the crowd and be among the first to reach the nearly
12,000 foot summit. So we usually began the climb shortly after midnight
and climbed for several hours in the dark. We found that we didn't need
to carry flashlights. After a short time on the trail, away from the lights
of camp, our eyes adjusted to the dark and we were able to see far enough
along the trail to keep climbing upward. By climbing in this manner we
found ourselves not far from the summit by sunrise and rewarded with glorious
Doing the work of the Lord is often like this. If we are willing to get
on the path and do what we can, the Lord seems to give us enough light
to allow us to progress. Nephi was a wonderful example. When his father
sent him and his brothers back to Jerusalem for the plates, he didn't know
how he was going to get the plates, but he kept trying. Nephi wrote, "And
I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should
do. Nevertheless I went forth" (1 Nephi 4:6-7). As a result of
simply going forth and depending on the spirit, his mission resulted in
success. Moses was another example. We need just enough faith to step forward
and see where the first step will take us.
The Lord Sends Plagues Upon Egypt
The Hardening of Pharaoh's Heart
Moses was commanded to go before Pharaoh and request the release of
Exodus 4:21: "And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest
to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh,
which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall
not let the people go."
Moses is commanded to show his wonders before Pharaoh to obtain the
release of captive Israel. The Lord says that he "will harden"
the heart of Pharaoh. I wondered why the Lord would command Moses to do
something and then throw an obstacle in the way.
JST Exodus 4:21: "And the Lord said unto Moses, When thou goest
to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh,
which I have put in thine hand, and I will prosper thee; but Pharaoh
will harden his heart, and he will not let the people go."
Moses took his wife and his sons and returned to Egypt.
Moses had remained in Midian for about 40 years. Thus he is 80 years
old at this time.
You may recall from the movie: Moses shows up in Egypt and the woman
who wanted to wed him before his departure makes an attempt at seducing
him. The movie makes it appear that Moses was gone for a much shorter period.
Charlton Heston didn't age 40 years before his return to Egypt.
Aaron was commanded by the Lord to go into the wilderness and meet
Moses. What a joyful reunion this must have been after many years.
Exodus 5:1-2: "And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told
Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Let my people go, that they
may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness. And Pharaoh said, Who is the
LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD,
neither will I let Israel go."
As a result of Moses' and Aaron's plea, the work was increased and
made more difficult for the Hebrew slaves.
After Pharaoh increased Israel's burdens, the Lord repeated His promises
to Moses. WHAT WERE THESE PROMISES?
The Lord has established his covenant with this people (6:4).
The Lord has given them the land of Canaan as an inheritance and he
will bring them to it (6:4,8).
They will be brought out of bondage in Egypt (6:6).
HOW DID THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL RESPOND WHEN MOSES REMINDED THEM OF
"...they hearkened not unto Moses for anguish of spirit, and
for cruel bondage" (6:9).
WHY DO SOME OF US STOP LISTENING TO THE PROPHETS AND BELIEVING GOD'S
PROMISES DURING TIMES OF TRIAL?
I believe that those who stop listening to the prophets and believing
in God's promises stopped doing so when times were good. When times are
good, some of us do not exercise our faith and keep the commandments as
we should. Thus, when the time of testing or adversity comes, our faith
is so weak that it cannot withstand the refiner's fire.
HOW CAN WE MAINTAIN FAITH IN GOD DURING ADVERSITY?
Heber C. Kimball once made this statement: "The time will come
when no man nor woman will be able to endure on borrowed light. Each will
have to be guided by the light within himself. If you do not have it, how
can you stand?" ( Life of Heber C. Kimball, p450)
We should develop our faith and testimony in God and his prophets before
we face adversity. When we do so, we have established the patterns that
will keep us faithful no matter what conditions we face. If we are filled
with light and knowledge from God, we will be prepared to endure the trials
Moses and Aaron return to Pharaoh to plead for the release of Israel.
To impress Pharaoh with God's power, Aaron threw down his rod and it
became a serpent. Pharaoh's magicians did the same, but their serpents
were swallowed up by Aaron's.
Due to Pharaoh's unwillingness to release the Israelites, the first
of the 10 plagues on Egypt took place. The river was smitten for seven
days and turned to blood (Exodus 7:20).
Some lessons from Moses' encounter with Pharaoh:
The enthusiasm and righteous zeal of the Lord's servant may have little
or no impact upon one who has chosen to remain untouched by spiritual things.
Agency is an eternal and inviolate principle, and persons may forever
choose to do what they will.
Miracles, signs and wonders confirm the faith of the faithful but have
minimal if any effect upon the faithless. Even Pharaoh's magicians were
able to perform wonders.
Joseph Fielding Smith: "It should be remembered that Satan
has great knowledge and thereby can exercise authority and to some extent
control the elements, when some greater power does not intervene."
(Answers to Gospel Questions 1:176-78)
WHAT EFFECTS DO SIGNS USUALLY HAVE ON THE FAITHLESS?
The other day I had a discussion with an individual regarding research
into Noah's ark and the possibility for uncovering it on Mt. Ararat. He
felt that if the ark was uncovered it would have a tremendous effect on
the world and increase belief in God. I expressed my belief that there
would be few, if any, who would change their beliefs by such a discovery.
The source of faith in God is not in signs or academic evidence. I contend
that there is now enough hard evidence for the Book of Mormon to absolutely
prove its validity. And yet, how many have been moved to join the Church
and live a righteous life by hard evidence.
WHAT EFFECTS DO SIGNS USUALLY HAVE ON THE FAITHFUL?
D&C 63:9: "But, behold, faith cometh not by signs, but
signs follow those that believe."
WHAT KIND OF CONVERSION OFTEN COMES THROUGH SIGNS ALONE?
D&C 63:7: "And he that seeketh signs shall see signs, but
not unto salvation."
Consider Laman & Lemuel and the numerous encounters they had. But
in the end they were lost.
After the river was turned to blood, 8 more plagues were sent upon
Frogs, lice, flies, severe plague upon the cattle, boils, firey hail,
locusts, & thick darkness.
After the last plague, Pharaoh said to Moses: "And Pharaoh
said unto him, Get thee from me, take heed to thyself, see my face no more;
for in that day thou seest my face thou shalt die. And Moses said, Thou
hast spoken well, I will see thy face again no more." (Exodus
WHAT WAS THE TENTH PLAGUE UPON EGYPT?
Exodus 11:4-5: "And Moses said, Thus saith the LORD, About
midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt: And all the firstborn in
the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth
upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind
the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts."
WHAT INSTRUCTIONS WERE THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL GIVEN TO AVOID THE GRIP
OF THE ANGEL OF DEATH UPON THE FIRSTBORN?
Take a lamb without blemish, sacrifice it, and strike it upon the two
side posts and upper door post of the houses in which they were eating
the sacrificed lamb (12:3-7).
They were to roast the lamb and eat it with unleavened bread and bitter
Exodus 12:14: "And this day shall be unto you for a memorial;
and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye
shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever."
WHAT IS THE EVENT CALLED?
Feast of the Passover.
WHAT FUTURE EVENT DID THE PASSOVER FORESHADOW?
The atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the firstborn of the Father.
HOW DID THE PASSOVER SYMBOLIZE THE ATONEMENT?
The children of Israel were to use a firstborn male lamb
without blemish in the Passover (Exodus 12:5).
The Savior is the firstborn Son of God, the Lamb of God
without spot or blemish (1 Peter 1:19).
The children of Israel were to sprinkle the blood of the lamb on their
doorposts to save their firstborn at death (Exodus 12:7, 22-23).
The Savior' blood, which he shed in Gethsemane and on the cross, cleanses
the faithful and saves them from spiritual death (Mosiah 4:2).
The children of Israel were to eat unleavened bread (Exodus 12:8, 15-20).
Leaven or yeast was seen anciently as a symbol of corruption because it
so easily spoiled and turned moldy.
Jesus Christ was the Bread of Life, without corruption or impurity
(John 6:35). The removal of leaven also suggested repentance, or the removal
of sin from a person's life.
The children of Israel were to eat the Passover meal in haste (Exodus
Like the Israelites, we need to respond eagerly and immediately to
the deliverance that the Savior offers us.
The children of Israel demonstrated great faith by placing blood on
the doorposts to save the lives of their firstborn.
HOW DOES THAT FAITH COMPARE WITH THE FAITH WE MUST SHOW IN CHRIST TO
SAVE OURSELVES SPIRITUALLY?
Like the children of Israel, we must do precisely what the Lord has
Joseph Fielding Smith: "The Passover was a law given...to remind
the children of Israel of the coming of Christ who would become the sacrificial
Lamb. After he was crucified the law was changed by the Savior himself,
and from that time forth the law of the sacrament was instituted. We now
observe the law of the sacrament instead of the Passover because the Passover
was consummated in full by the death of Jesus Christ." (Answers
to Gospel Questions, 5:153-154)
Howard W. Hunter: "...the bread and wine, rather than the animals
and herbs, [became] emblems of the great Lamb's body and blood, emblems
to be eaten and drunk reverently and in remembrance of him forever.
"In this simple but impressive manner the Savior instituted the ordinance
now known as the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. With the suffering of
Gethsemane, the sacrifice of Calvary, and the resurrection from a garden
tomb, Jesus fulfilled the ancient law and ushered in a new dispensation
based on a higher, holier understanding of the law of sacrifice. No more
would men be required to offer the firstborn lamb from their flock, because
the Firstborn of God had come to offer himself as an 'infinite and eternal
sacrifice'." (Ensign, May 1985, p19)
WHAT IS OUR ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE SACRAMENT?
Jeffrey R. Holland: "Do we see [the sacrament] as our passover,
this ordinance commemorating our safety and deliverance and redemption?
"With so very much at stake, this ordinance commemorating our escape
from the angel of darkness should be taken more seriously than it sometimes
is. It should be a powerful, reverent, reflective moment. It should encourage
spiritual feelings and impressions." ( Ensign, Nov. 1995, p68)
In his instructions about the Passover, the Lord emphasized the need
for parents to teach their children its significance.
Exodus 12:26-27: "And it shall come to pass, when your children
shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service? That ye shall say, It
is the sacrifice of the LORD'S passover, who passed over the houses of
the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered
our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped."
WHY WAS IT IMPORTANT THAT THE ISRAELITE PARENTS TEACH THE CHILDREN
OF THE PASSOVER? DO WE TEACH OUR CHILDREN OF THE ATONEMENT AND THE IMPORTANCE
OF REMEMBERING THAT GREAT SACRIFICE THROUGH THE SACRAMENT?
The Children of Israel Cross The Red Sea
READ EXODUS 12:29-33. The death of the firstborn.
Exodus 12:37 says that 600,000 men departed from Ramses.
The reference to men here means males 20 years and older capable of
going to war.
It is believed that the total size of the Israelite nation leaving
Egypt was about 2 million total persons.
This is a rather awesome migration that is about to occur.
READ EXODUS 13:18-21. Israel lead by pillar of
cloud & fire.
Pharaoh soon changed his mind about letting Israel depart from Egypt.
This is not a smart man.
Pharaoh took his army in pursuit of Israel.
READ EXODUS 14:10-14.
WHY DO YOU SUPPOSE THE FAITH OF ISRAEL WAS LACKING AFTER HAVING SEEN
THE MIRACULOUS EVENT PRECEDING THE EXODUS?
As we know Moses led the children of Israel into the Red Sea which
parted for them. They were pursued by Pharaoh's army which was drowned.
REACTION OF THE PEOPLE: "And Israel saw that great work which
the LORD did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the LORD, and believed
the LORD, and his servant Moses." (Exodus 14:31)
Just as the Lord fulfilled his promise to deliver the Israelites from
bondage, he will fulfill his promises to us. We should increase our appreciation
for the Savior's atoning sacrifice and to partake of the sacrament worthily
and thoughtfull, keeping the covenant to "always remember him".