January 18

Smooth Stone #2 – God and Moses (Experience)

Experience is a powerful teacher. If we just stop and think about that, we realize how experiences have shaped and molded our lives.

It certainly affected how I drive through Big Pine, California. When I was a college student, I developed a short-lived love for snow skiing. (When I got married, budgetary realities terminated the hobby!)

I loved to ski at Mammoth Mountain in the eastern Sierra mountains about six hours north from where I lived. Being young and energetic, a few guys would pile into my truck and we would leave home around midnight and arrive at the mountain at six in the morning and then ski all day. We would drive back that evening!!!

I know that sounds crazy, but you do stuff like that when you’re twenty.

Naturally, driving through the middle of the night, speed limits were slightly 😊 exceeded which was the case as we breezed through Big Pine, California, speed limit 35 mph.

Unknown to me our all-night drive had become popular among the young and impetuous and there were lots of cars making their way up to Mammoth in the wee hours; many of them in a hurry.

As a result, the local sheriff set up a little speed trap in which I became ensnared. After reviewing my license and insurance he informed me that I was driving 50 mph.

I cringed waiting for the big ticket. Instead, he told me that he was going to be “real nice” to me and let me off with a warning.” Then, the next time you drive through Big Pine, you will remember how nice the Sheriff was and you will slow down.

Everyone else will think you saw the sheriff’s speed trap and they’ll all slow down, too, making for a safer little town.” I couldn’t believe it!!!

To this day whenever I drive through Big Pine, I remember that Sheriff and slow down below the speed limit. Experience is a powerful teacher. Of course, God knows that, and it is evident in His calling of Moses in Exodus 3-4.

God and Experiential Teaching

God and Experiential Teaching

Last week we noted God’s relational approach and now we see the experiential activities He introduces when calling Moses, particularly in Exodus 4:2-9.

"The LORD said to him, 'What is that in your hand?' He said, 'A staff.' And he said, 'Throw it on the ground.' So he threw the staff on the ground, and it became a snake; and Moses drew back from it. Then the LORD said to Moses, 'Reach out your hand, and seize it by the tail'-- so he reached out his hand and grasped it, and it became a staff in his hand-- 'so that they may believe that the LORD, the God of their ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.' Again, the LORD said to him, 'Put your hand inside your cloak.' He put his hand into his cloak; and when he took it out, his hand was leprous, as white as snow. Then God said, 'Put your hand back into your cloak'-- so he put his hand back into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was restored like the rest of his body-- 'If they will not believe you or heed the first sign, they may believe the second sign. If they will not believe even these two signs or heed you, you shall take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground; and the water that you shall take from the Nile will become blood on the dry ground.'" (Exodus 4:2-9)

He has communicated the Truth to Moses (Exodus 3:7-10) which we will look at next week. This “truth” is about God’s concern for His people and His desire that Moses act on His behalf.

Moses’ response to this calling is reluctance leading to a lengthy discussion between God and Moses (Exodus 3:11 – 4:13). In the latter half of that discussion, we find two very famous experiential activities designed to teach Moses.

God instructs Moses to take his shepherd's staff, made from wood, and throw it on the ground. Doing just that, God turns the wooden staff into a snake.

Moses runs away, just like I would! God calls him back and instructs him to pick up the snake by the tail and when Moses does, it returns to its wooden form.

This experiential activity was not only to reassure Moses but to assure the Israelites of Moses’ calling. (Exodus 4:1-5)

God tells Moses to place his hand inside his cloak and when he does and draws it out, his hand is leprous. God instructs Moss to put the hand back in his cloak and when he brings it out a second time, the leprosy is gone.

Not only is God reassuring Moses of His immense power, He is also giving Moses a second experiential activity to assure the Israelites. (Exodus 4:6-8)

These are referred to as signs (4:8) but are certainly experiential activities designed to overcome Moses’ reluctance and fear. Prior to this, the calling has been primarily cognitive and something for Moses to think about.

These experiential activities bring the calling into the realm of touch, smell, and other sensory perceptions. This combined with the truth (3:7-10) makes the effect of the calling all the more compelling, as evidenced in Moses’ ultimate response.

In this calling narrative, we find experiential activities used by God as a teaching method with Moses. I don’t believe that we can go wrong when we use a method modeled by God Himself!

Even, this last Sunday I saw the way that experiential activities engaged children with God’s Word. This can also characterize your ministry with children as you seek to engage them through all their senses. Just like Moses, children learn through hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, and experiencing truth.

Unfortunately, our commitment to a secular educational approach places all the emphasis on giving the children information. This is simply not biblical as evidenced by our earlier study of Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and this example of God’s teaching Moses.

This coming weekend think of some way that you can include an experiential activity in your children’s ministry. For help, check out the EGM Institute website.

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