Do you ever wonder how we can protect ourselves from harm and illness? While we take many precautions in our daily lives, it’s important to remember that only God has the power to shield us from sin and evil in the world. Take the story of Moses, for example. His mother kept him safe as a baby, but it was ultimately God’s plan that protected him throughout his life. As Moses was rescued from the water, he went on to lead God’s people out of Egypt. We can trust in God to keep us safe and guide us towards eternal life.
Out of the Water Sunday School Lesson: God Protects Baby Moses
How does God protect our lives? There are a lot of things we do every day to protect ourselves from illness or injury. This lesson reminds us that only God has the power to protect us from sin and evil in our world. Moses was kept safe by his mother and by the Lord, who had a plan for his life. Just as Moses was brought up out of the water, he grew to bring God’s people out of the land of Egypt. God keeps us safe and brings us into eternal life! The story of Moses has some powerful links that foreshadow Christ. A baby born in tough circumstances, rescue from those who want to kill him, growing up in Egypt…In the book of Exodus, we see how Moses was protected and raised up to deliver the people of Israel from the bondage of slavery under Pharaoh. With Jesus, we see how our Messiah delivered us from the bondage of sin and death under Satan. This passage has a wonderful promise that God is faithful and will always provide for His people.
Passage: Exodus 1:8-2:10
Target Audience: Kindergarten-6th grade
Materials Needed: Construction paper; decorative supplies; glue; markers or crayons; tape; scissors; cotton; protective gear; paper plates; paper bags; Bibles.
Lesson Opening: This story is reminds us of god’s protection and salvation. The survival of Moses involves elements of hiding, rescue, and water travel! To get students thinking and ready to learn, consider an activity opener along these lines:
- Hide baby Moses: Have one student (or a teacher) hide a baby doll somewhere within the classroom. Other students will race to be the first to find Moses “among the reeds.”
- Moses basket relay: Divide students into teams and have them race to take turns moving “Moses” back and forth. The catch: each team must wrap up the baby (doll) Moses and tuck it into a basket before carrying it to the other side and back.
- Who’s that baby? Pick one student to be blindfolded. Other students will take turns making baby noises (crying, cooing, whining, etc.) and have the blindfolded student guess which student it playing the “baby.”
- Look at Egypt and the Nile River on a map to locate where the story took place.
- Discuss what is needed to care for babies. Talk about how hard it would be to keep a baby hidden for three months.
- Brick-making: The Israelites had to make bricks for the Egyptians. Have students experience this “labor” by putting dirt and water together for a messy “brick-building” time!
Explain to students that the story will feature elements of God’s salvation and protection, as well as His purpose and plans for our lives.
Bible Lesson: The story of Moses is an important period of Biblical history, especially considering how it ties to the deliverance of Jesus Christ. For this lesson, the focus is on the birth of Moses and his salvation from death through basket floating. Have older students take turns reading verses out of a Bible. You could also dramatize things by having students act out parts. For younger students, read a simplified or story book version. Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. 9 And he said to his people, “Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us. 10 Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and, if war breaks out, they join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.” 11 Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with heavy burdens. They built for Pharaoh store cities, Pithom and Raamses. 12 But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad. And the Egyptians were in dread of the people of Israel. 13 So they ruthlessly made the people of Israel work as slaves 14 and made their lives bitter with hard service, in mortar and brick, and in all kinds of work in the field. In all their work they ruthlessly made them work as slaves. -Exodus 1:8-14
If students are familiar with the story of Joseph, explain that this story takes place about 400 years after those events. By this point, the memory of Joseph and the wonderful things he did for the Egyptians was long gone. The new leadership in Egypt were worried that there were too many Israelites living among them, so the king (called Pharaoh) made them slaves. But God was still with His people, and they continued to prosper, which just caused the Egyptians to oppress them more.
Ask: What would it be like to work for no pay? Why do you think the Egyptians are doing this? Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, 16 “When you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women and see them on the birthstool, if it is a son, you shall kill him, but if it is a daughter, she shall live.” 17 But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live. 18 So the king of Egypt called the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this, and let the male children live?” 19 The midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women, for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them.” 20 So God dealt well with the midwives. And the people multiplied and grew very strong. 21 And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families. 22 Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, “Every son that is born to the Hebrews you shall cast into the Nile, but you shall let every daughter live.” -Exodus 1:15-21
Here, Pharaoh decided that all male boys born to the Hebrews should be killed. He ordered the midwives helping births to kill all boy babies. But the midwives didn’t obey, instead letting them live. Pharaoh then ordered all boys to be thrown into the Nile river to die!
This episode is an important one to bring up, partly because it deals with honesty. Normally, of course, it is important to be truthful and not lie. However, in this particular passage, the midwives lied in order to save and protect God’s people. Rescuing human life was even more important than telling the exact truth. We see this principle played out in other parts of history, too (for instance, people protecting Jews during the Holocaust). Ask: When is it okay to disobey the law? (When the law goes against God’s law!)
Now a man from the house of Levi went and took as his wife a Levite woman. 2 The woman conceived and bore a son, and when she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him three months. 3 When she could hide him no longer, she took for him a basket made of bulrushes and daubed it with bitumen and pitch. She put the child in it and placed it among the reeds by the river bank. 4 And his sister stood at a distance to know what would be done to him. -Exodus 2:1-4
All women would naturally want to keep their sons alive. But one in particular decided that she would protect her son. She kept him hidden for three months, and then made a special waterproofed basket to put him in. She put the basket into the river. Moses had a sister (Miriam), who followed and watched what was happening to her brother.
Ask: Do you have a little brother or sister? How do you help with them at home? Now the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her young women walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her servant woman, and she took it. 6 When she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby was crying. She took pity on him and said, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.” 7 Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and call you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?” 8 And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother. 9 And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed him. 10 When the child grew older, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. She named him Moses, “Because,” she said, “I drew him out of the water.” -Exodus 2:5-10
Here is the pivotal part of the story. The basket floats down the river until it arrives at the home of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. God caused Pharaoh’s daughter to find him, and she had compassion on him. She decided she wanted this baby kept safe. Conveniently enough, the baby’s sister was nearby, and she offered to help find someone who could nurse the boy until he was old enough to return to Pharaoh. The daughter named him Moses, meaning “out of the water”, because she pulled him out of the water.
Ask: How did God keep Moses safe? Why do you think this is happening? Leave off the story here on a “cliff hanger” if you plan to do more with the life of Moses. Remind students that God took care of Moses and had a special plan for him. God also protects us and has a plan for our lives. He will always be with us and keep us safe. Most importantly, He rescues us from sin and death, and will always love us!
Close with prayer, thanking God for protecting and guiding us in all things.