Lesson 5 – Moses: Reluctant Servant

Jesus challenged the Rich Young Ruler to sell all he had and come follow Him. The young man was unwilling to obey Jesus. He was reluctant to serve Christ – and He missed the Kingdom of God! Reluctance can lead us to miss out on what God wants to accomplish in our lives. Moses, Gideon and Jeremiah all were reluctant as well. However, each of these men learned to overcome their reticence and follow God. In this lesson we will explore the intersection where we encounter God’s invitation and we hesitate in responding.

It is surely an astonishing phenomenon that in the course of the entire history of the Promised Land, down to our own day, Israel alone of all the peoples of the earth succeeded in imposing a unity upon that country from within . . . The man who is to initiate this process, through whose instrumentality the liberation of Israel is to be effectuated, is Moses. He is now commissioned to become the emissary of God to the court of the pharaoh. His spontaneous reaction, however, is to recoil from the task, and to assert his personal inadequacy. This sudden, unexpected, and wholly unprepared-for encounter with God, the summons to heed a divinely designated calling , the natural reluctance of the individual concerned, and his eventual surrender to God’s overwhelming persuasiveness, all from the characteristic constituents of the later classic prophetic tradition in Israel.
-Nahum M. Sarna, Exploring Exodus: The Origins of Biblical Israel, Schocken Books, 1996, p. 49.

Focal Passages:
Exodus 3; Judges 6; Jeremiah 1:1-10; Matthew 19:16-30

Bible Readings
Obviously the story of God’s people does not end with Genesis 50. As we have already learned, Genesis is just the beginning of the story of God’s people! Exodus contains the dramatic rescue of the descendants of Abraham from the clutches of the most power dynasty in antiquity – Egypt! Again we find a group of people who plays a pivotal role in the accomplishment of the purposes of God. Moses will lead this group. He is the central figure in this part of the drama. Let’s learn from his example as we seek to overcome our own reluctance to play the role assigned to us.

Monday:                           Exodus 1:1-2:10
Tuesday:                          Exodus 2:11-3:21
Wednesday:                   Exodus 4:1-6:27
Thursday:                        Exodus 6:28-8:32
Friday:                               Exodus 9:1-11:10


  1. When God called Moses, his first response was one of reticence and reluctance. Why was Moses so reluctant? How does Moses’ response compare to others in the Biblical story who were called by God?
  2. What is at stake when God calls His people to a task or a lifetime of ministry?
  3. What happens if we choose not to respond to God’s calling?