Aim: To use the slavery of the Israelites to illustrate our own bondage under sin. To point out that in both situations it was God who took the initiative and put into operation His plan for release.
Lesson Outline: Open the lesson by describing the slavery into which the Israelites had fallen. Describe what life was like for the children of slaves. Show pictures of slave teams being used to build the pyramids. Go on to explain the following headings, that there was much more to suffering than the physical rigours which the Egyptians forced upon them.
(1) They were ‘sold’. The Israelites had sold their freedom. In return for promises of food, shelter and security they had sold their valuables and finally they were reduced to surrendering themselves. Surprise the children by suggesting that there is a sense in which we are slaves too – slaves to sin and Satan. Draw parallels between the situation in Egypt and our own.
(2) No choice. The Israelities were now living in little hovels with nothing to call their own. Daily they were herded together and driven like animals to their place of work. They were forced to haul huge stones across the desert in the hot sun, and if they complained or asked for so much as a drink, they would be given more to do, and whipped.
(3) No freedom. The slaves were never free. Their life was one long round of labour and toil, with its boundaries strictly drawn by the Egyptians. Explain that this is how sin treats us. It robs us of all that is best in life. It restricts our experience to the physical and mundane side of life. Unbelievers never see the best things; never experience real joy and fulfilment...
(6) Payment – death! Finally Pharaoh, alarmed at the number of Hebrews, ordered the death of all their baby sons. Death – on a terrible scale – struck the nation. Help the class to share the horror of this edict. Help them to imagine the feelings which filled a Hebrew family when a little boy was born, the natural joy overwhelmed by the horror of handing him to the soldiers to be drowned.
God’s work. Describe how God began to act in this situation. Before receiving any plea from them, God took pity upon His people and began to carry out his plan. He looked down on that land and used a weak, helpless, threatened baby to begin His purpose of deliverance. Briefly relate the events of Moses’ escape from death.
Most of the children will be familiar with his rescue from the ark of bulrushes hidden in the Nile. Never refer to this as a ‘story’ because we want to convince the children of the truth of God’s Word, and the word ‘story’ is usually linked with fairy-tales.
Explain to the class that becoming a Christian is like waking up and realising you have been living in a dark prison, chained up by Satan, and unable to experience life ‘outside’ – ie: spiritual life.