Exodus 3 & 7,
Acts 7, Numbers 12, Luke 1
Why are the Ten Commandments the only message
directly written by God in stone (
Deuteronomy 10:1-4)? If God wanted to
give precise rules, you would think He would always
hand the prophet instructions written on stone. Does
the fact that God communicates in many ways, some of
them pretty unreliable, tell us something about the
nature of God's message? Could it be that the
prophets are part of the message? If so, what,
exactly, is the role of a prophet? Are they perfect
people? Let's leap into our study of Bible prophets
and find out!
Moses, Aaron and Miriam: Old Testament
What do you know about the background of Moses?
Moses was someone special. At the time of his birth
God intervened to save his life. God then directed
circumstances so that Moses was raised and educated
in the house of Pharaoh.)
Given what we know about God's goals for His
people, what do you think God had in mind for Moses?
(Logically, Moses would become Pharaoh and then let
the Hebrews go free.)
Did Moses think he was doing God's will? Was Moses
doing God's will?(If Moses was raised up to be the
one to save his people, this "intervention" made
Who failed, Moses or the Hebrews?
Let's get back to the burning bush. Moses
walks over to it and God speaks to him. Read
Was the question in
still ringing in Moses' mind forty years later?
(Moses challenged God with essentially the same
challenge put to Moses when he killed the Egyptian
to start the liberation of the Hebrews.)
What is God's answer to this? (Read
God tells Moses that this will be a joint project.)
Is this "joint project" idea a reason why God
gives prophets verbal messages as opposed to giving
them instructions written in stone?
Other than the passage of forty years, and a
serious decline in his job status, how is Moses'
situation different now than it was when he killed
the Egyptian? (Moses has learned two things. First,
the Hebrews are unreliable when it comes to their
liberation. Second, moving ahead of God is a bad
idea. This time God is specifically authorizing the
details of the rescue mission.)
Given the forty year delay in his life goal,
you might expect Moses to say, "It's about time!
Let's do it! Let's rock and roll!" Does he?(Read
No. Moses tries to decline the mission.)
Is God asking Moses to be a prophet? (God is
asking Moses to speak for Him.
confirms that Moses was a prophet.)
What would you say about Moses'
qualifications to be a prophet? If you were on a
"prophet committee" how would you evaluate Moses at
this point of time? (He was given wonderful
opportunities in his youth. By being impulsive he
wasted his opportunity to do great things for God
and his people. He has an anger management problem.
He has a moral problem (he killed someone). He has
not done much with his life since fleeing Egypt. Now
he has a confidence problem, if not an actual
inability to speak clearly and well.)
What role is being given to Moses here? Who is the
prophet? (God says that Aaron is the prophet and
Moses is "like God to Pharaoh.")
This is an extraordinarily interesting
insight into the work of a prophet. What role does
Aaron play? What is his purpose for being in the
communication loop? (Read
for the background on this. Aaron is a good speaker.
God says that He will give the message to Moses, who
will then give it to Aaron. Aaron will act as Moses'
Does Aaron have an independent role in this?
(Yes and no. Moses is to "put words in his mouth,"
but since Aaron is chosen for the job because of his
eloquence, Aaron is choosing the way the words are
What does this teach us about the "joint
project" idea? (God allows another human, with
certain needed talents, into the project. The
trade-off is hearsay twice removed.)
Why didn't God just heal Moses' speaking
abilities - or tell Moses to stop whining and just
Is Aaron a perfect person? (No. Not only is
there the matter of the Golden Calf (Exodus 32),
there is the problem of Aaron's jealousy of Moses.)
Let's read about this jealousy because it
gives further light on the prophetic gift. Read
What point are Aaron and Miriam making? What does
Moses' wife have to do with anything? (Have you ever
complained about a pastor because of his wife? Aaron
and Miriam thought Moses showed poor judgment in his
marriage. Moses not only failed to marry a Hebrew,
he married into a family with a tarnished history.
You remember that Ham got in trouble with his father
Genesis 9:20-24). Ham was the father of
Genesis 10:6), from which the Cushites
descended. God Himself referred in a disparaging
manner to the Cushites (
Amos 9:7). Moses' marriage was not
sinful. However, Moses was not forbidden to marry a
Why is this point made here? (Moses was not
responding to this criticism. Moses probably
thought: "You think I could have married better? So
what? Why is that important?")
Does the criticism matter to God? (Yes!)
Let's get to the important point: how does
God's typical communication with prophets differ
from His communication with Moses? (It is less
personal. It also seems to be less clear.)
Based on God's statement here, does the
normal prophet act as a "penman" or a "word-by-word
repeater" for God? (It seems not.)
Consider the logic of what God just said: the
better the character of the prophet, the more
clearly God speaks. Shouldn't that be just the
reverse? The most imperfect should get a stone
tablet and the most perfect a riddle, right?
I think God is telling us something very
important about prophets here - what is it? (The
quality of the message varies with the quality of
the messenger! This makes this even more of a "joint
project." Now the listener is involved in
deciphering the message.)
Notice that in
both Aaron and Miriam claim to be prophets. We know
this is true for Aaron, could it also be true for a
woman? (Yes. Read
Miriam was a prophetess.)
In Exodus we see that Miriam is leading the
women in contemporary praise and worship - is a
female prophet limited to speaking to females? (No.
Read 2 Kings 22:14-16. A female prophet spoke God's
message to a group of men who included the High
Zechariah: New Testament Prophet
Was Zechariah asking God for a son? (Yes.)
Is Gabriel offended? If so, why? (Yes, Gabriel is
offended because Zechariah does not believe him.
Gabriel lists his credentials (standing in the
presence of God, for one)to bolster his
Scan the rest of the story found in
How is it possible that unbelieving Zechariah, who
offended Gabriel by questioning his honesty, gets to
be a prophet? (He must have had something going for
him because he was raising John the Baptist.)
How widespread is the prophetic gift in this
"afterward" period of time? (All sorts of people are
prophets - the gift is widespread.)
Why would God change His approach?
What does this suggest about the quality of
the character of these prophets? (Generally, when
quantity goes up, quality goes down.)
With many prophets, would the accuracy of the
message increase or decrease?
Friend, isn't it clear that God's message to
humans has an emphasis on His partnership with us?
Will you choose to day to be God's partner? Will you
invite Him to share His message with you?
Next week: Spiritual Gifts and Prophecy.