Monday, June 10, 2013

Anything New About Moses?

Saturday afternoon I was at work in The Dungeon, formatting my latest novel, Operation Lotus Sunday, for publishing. A call came in from the co-teacher of our adult Life Group at church. The next day was his week to teach, but he wasn't sure he would be able to because of a bad knee. He said he would decide Sunday morning if he could teach or not. He just wanted me to be prepared in case.

I've explained before on this blog (I think), how this co-teaching works. Marion is a veterinarian. In his partnership he has to be on call every-other week, and then on certain holiday weekends. Except, his partner doesn't do large animal work, so he can be called out at any time on that. So I try to be prepared to teach every weekend, because I could get the call at 8:30 a.m. on a Sunday, him saying he has to deliver a cow or a horse.

So I was going to prepare anyway. In fact, I had begun brainstorming a lesson earlier in the week, just in case. This summer our church's sermon-based series is called "The Journey," and it's going through the lives of several Old Testament and New Testament people. Last week was Abraham; this week was Moses.

Moses? We just did a series on him, and then had a week where he was featured. Okay, "just" means some time in the last five years. But seriously, Moses has been studied to death. What else is there to say? We could go over the things we've done before. It's never boring, and it's important stuff, but figuring out what to teach was a problem. We had some teaching aids prepared by our assistant pastor (or perhaps pulled from a source; I couldn't tell which), so I studied those.

The teaching method I decided to do was to have one member of the Life Group play dumb, someone who had never been in church before, and whose knowledge of Moses came from the movie The Ten Commandments. That person would stop us anytime we said something that wasn't basic, that didn't need prior reading and knowledge to understand. Of course, they also said that "dumb" was not politically correct and we needed to find a different word. It took a while, but we finally found someone who would play dumb—er, ignorant of the subject matter.

We went into the discussion of the circumstances prior to Moses' birth. We looked at timelines and Egyptian royal decrees. We pondered whether the basket was purposely placed at a location where pharaoh's daughter would find it (the Bible doesn't say). We then spent a lot of time on Moses' introduction to the Hebrew culture. How much did he get in his pre-weaned years from his mother? Probably enough that it never fully left him in those many more years of being an Egyptian. How long was he watching his people at their hard labor? (Ex 2:11) Was it a short time, or maybe over a period of some months? Why was he in trouble for killing someone? He was the step-grandson of a pharaoh, probably step-nephew of a pharaoh. He shouldn't have been in trouble for that.

The main difference in our study this time compared to other times discussing Moses was thinking about the amount of time between Ex 2:11 and Ex 2:15—i.e. between when Moses went out to observe the Hebrews in their slavery and when he watered the flock of the seven sisters. He had gone from being a prince to doing women's chores in probably a very short period of time. We dwelled a bit on this.

All in all it was a good lesson on a very familiar passage of scripture, with lots of class participation. Alas, our person playing dumb only stopped us twice for clarification of non-basic information. He was quite familiar with the stories and wound up participating rather than critiquing our discussion. But that was okay too.

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