Opening Questions and Prayer
What is something in your life that took a lot longer than you thought it would?
When life doesn’t go as planned, how does God work in those moments?
Pray that God would give you wisdom as you study His word.
Read Exodus 13:1-10
Exodus 13:1-10 (all verses are in the NLT unless otherwise noted)
1 Then the Lord said to Moses, 2 “Dedicate to me every firstborn among the Israelites. The first offspring to be born, of both humans and animals, belongs to me.” 3 So Moses said to the people, “This is a day to remember forever—the day you left Egypt, the place of your slavery. Today the Lord has brought you out by the power of his mighty hand. (Remember, eat no food containing yeast.) 4 On this day in early spring, in the month of Abib, you have been set free. 5 You must celebrate this event in this month each year after the Lord brings you into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Hivites, and Jebusites. (He swore to your ancestors that he would give you this land—a land flowing with milk and honey.) 6 For seven days the bread you eat must be made without yeast. Then on the seventh day, celebrate a feast to the Lord. 7 Eat bread without yeast during those seven days. In fact, there must be no yeast bread or any yeast at all found within the borders of your land during this time.
8 “On the seventh day you must explain to your children, ‘I am celebrating what the Lord did for me when I left Egypt.’ 9 This annual festival will be a visible sign to you, like a mark branded on your hand or your forehead. Let it remind you always to recite this teaching of the Lord: ‘With a strong hand, the Lord rescued you from Egypt.’ 10 So observe the decree of this festival at the appointed time each year.
Why was clearing out the yeast so important to this celebration?
What are the things the Lord wants us to clear out of our lives?
Why was this festival important to the Israelites?
What are some things you do to remember God’s promises?
Read Exodus 13:11-13
11 “This is what you must do when the Lord fulfills the promise he swore to you and to your ancestors. When he gives you the land where the Canaanites now live, 12 you must present all firstborn sons and firstborn male animals to the Lord, for they belong to him. 13 A firstborn donkey may be bought back from the Lord by presenting a lamb or young goat in its place. But if you do not buy it back, you must break its neck. However, you must buy back every firstborn son.
Why was the firstborn so important?
What types of things might the firstborn represent?
See Genesis 4:2-7 2 Later she gave birth to his brother and named him Abel.
When they grew up, Abel became a shepherd, while Cain cultivated the ground.3 When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the Lord. 4 Abel also brought a gift—the best portions of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The Lord accepted Abel and his gift, 5 but he did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected.
6 “Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected?7 You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.”
What are some ways the Lord wants your best?
What are some areas where you aren’t giving God your best?
How can you give Him your best this week?
Read Exodus 13:14-16
14 “And in the future, your children will ask you, ‘What does all this mean?’ Then you will tell them, ‘With the power of his mighty hand, the Lord brought us out of Egypt, the place of our slavery. 15 Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, so the Lord killed all the firstborn males throughout the land of Egypt, both people and animals. That is why I now sacrifice all the firstborn males to the Lord—except that the firstborn sons are always bought back.’ 16 This ceremony will be like a mark branded on your hand or your forehead. It is a reminder that the power of the Lord’s mighty hand brought us out of Egypt.”
What were some reasons the Lord wanted the Israelites to have these traditions and celebrations?
What traditions do you have to remember the Lord’s goodness and pass that on to the next generation?
What happens when we don’t remember the goodness of the Lord and His promises?
What can you do daily to remember the love God has for you through Jesus?
Read Romans 6:16-18
16 Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. 17 Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you. 18 Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living.
What is Paul wanting the readers of this letter to realize?
What are some things you are choosing to obey?
What are some ways people are slaves to sin?
How can you become a slave to righteous living?
What are some things that could lead back to slavery to sin?
Who in your life can you talk to on a weekly basis (or more!) to help you maintain your obedience to Christ?
When will you talk to them this week?
Read Exodus 13:17-18
17 When Pharaoh finally let the people go, God did not lead them along the main road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest route to the Promised Land. God said, “If the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” 18 So God led them in a roundabout way through the wilderness toward the Red Sea. Thus the Israelites left Egypt like an army ready for battle.
Why did God take the Israelites on a roundabout way through the wilderness?
When has God taken you on a roundabout journey and in hindsight you can see how He was doing it to help and protect you?
In the midst of feeling off course and like you are going in the wrong direction, how can you turn to the Lord to keep you on course?
Read Exodus 13:19-22
19 Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for Joseph had made the sons of Israel swear to do this. He said, “God will certainly come to help you. When he does, you must take my bones with you from this place.”
20 The Israelites left Succoth and camped at Etham on the edge of the wilderness. 21 The Lord went ahead of them. He guided them during the day with a pillar of cloud, and he provided light at night with a pillar of fire. This allowed them to travel by day or by night. 22 And the Lord did not remove the pillar of cloud or pillar of fire from its place in front of the people.
How did Joseph’s bones, the pillar of cloud, and the pillar of fire remind the Israelites of God’s presence and promises?
What is a constant reminder of God’s presence and promises to you?
Who can you tell this week about the promises and presence of God?
Romans 6:16 Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.
Closing thoughts and prayer
God’s people seem to have holy amnesia. Almost immediately after God has done a great work, the people forget and go back to living life their way instead of God’s way. The same is true in our lives as well. God wants us to obey Him and be slaves to His holy living instead of slaves to sin. As followers of Jesus, we need to establish patterns and habits that remind us daily of who we obey and why. Sometimes in life we take long ways, either through God’s leading or us choosing our own way, of getting to where God would have us to go. It’s imperative that we stick to His truth during that time. Having a community to guide us in that holy living is vital to that journey.
If there is anyone feeling like they are on a roundabout in life right now where they need the Lord’s guidance, have the group pray over them. Pray that the Lord would guide them, allow them to trust Him, and that they would stay on the path God has laid out for them.
End your time praying for our nation’s leaders as well as our church leaders.