The people who were from the family of Joseph were called Israelites or Hebrews. As it happens there were more and more Israelites than ever before. The Israelites had children, and their children had children and soon there was too many to count. Most of the Israelites lived in Egypt where there were also a lot of people called Egyptians. Too bad they couldn't all just see each other as the same. But as you'll soon find out the Israelites and the Egyptians were treated very differently.
Anyway, a new king who was called Pharaoh came into power in Egypt. He didn't like it that there were so many Israelites and he thought they would one day take over the land. So he decided to make all the Israelites into slaves. He made them work from early in the morning till late at night doing very hard work. Even if they were tired the Egyptians wouldn't give them a break, they would just make them work harder. It was very bad.
Pharaoh did all this and he still wasn't happy. The Israelites were still growing in number so he decided to make a law. If any boys were born to the Israelites he would have them killed. At this time there was an Israelite couple who were expecting to have a baby. When they had a baby boy (whose name would later be Moses) they decided to hide him because
they wouldn't let anyone kill this beautiful, precious baby of theirs. Baby MosesThey hid Moses for three months, but as he got older he didn't sleep as much and he cried louder than before.
So his parents did the only thing they could do, they made a strong basket (sort of like a mini baby boat) and put blankets around the baby and placed the basket in some tall grass in the Nile river. Baby Moses had a sister named Miriam, and she watched from a distance to see what would happen to her baby brother.
While she was watching she saw somebody coming, she realized it was Pharaoh's daughter and her servants. They were dressed like they were famous, and she had seen her before and remembered what she looked like. Pharaoh's daughter had come for a swim. While she was swimming she noticed a basket floating a little ways away in the tall grass. So she asked one of her servants to go see what it was.
The girl brought the basket over to her, and when Pharaoh's daughter opened it, the light startled Moses so he woke up and started to cry. "What a sweet, beautiful little baby. It must be one of the Israelite's," Pharaoh's daughter said to her servants. Miriam had seen what had happened,
and she hurried over and asked, "Would you like me to go find an Israelite woman to feed the baby for you?" "Yes, go and find someone who can nurse the baby." she answered. Miriam ran as fast as she could and told her mother that Pharaoh's daughter had found him and wanted someone to come nurse him.
They went and found Moses with Pharaoh's daughter, and she asked them, "Please help me and nurse this baby, and I will pay you for helping me." (She didn't realize that this was actually Moses' mother). Later he became the son to Pharaoh's daughter, and that's when she named him Moses, which means she got him out of the water.
Many long years had passed since the Princess of Egypt had pulled the little basket boat out of the water and had taken baby Moses home to live with her in the palace. Moses had grown to be a strong man. He chose to leave the palace, married a beautiful woman, and had children of his own.
Life seemed to be pretty good for Moses and his family. He lived in Midian near his father-in-law, and his job was to take care of the sheep. Every day he would make sure the sheep had plenty of good green grass to eat and fresh water to drink. Every evening he would make a certain call, and the sheep would perk up their ears and come, gather around him. Moses would count his sheep and call them by name. He carefully inspected each one. If there were any injuries or sores,
he knew just what to do to help it heal. He was a very good shepherd. One day while Moses was tending the sheep near Mount Horeb he saw a glimmer of light in the distanceOne day while Moses was tending the sheep near Mt. Horeb,
he saw a glimmer of light in the distance. "Hmm," he thought to himself. "That is very strange. Whatever could it be?" Since a shepherd never wants to be without his rod and staff, he picked up one in each hand and walked nearer to the light. As he looked, he could see that there was a bush that was on fire. Now, that was strange, but stranger still was that there was only fire but no smoke, and although the bush was on fire, it was still green and it was not turning black or burning up. A very puzzled Moses turned and started to walk even closer when all of a sudden, he heard a voice.
The voice was coming from the bush that was on fireThe voice was calling his name . . . but the voice was not coming from a person. There were no other people there. The voice was coming from the bush that was on fire . . . but, of course, the bush was not speaking. The voice Moses was hearing was actually the voice of the Lord calling to him, saying, "Moses... Moses."
Moses then answered back, "Here I am. I am listening." The voice of the Lord said, "Stop! Don't come any closer! Take off your shoes! The place you are standing is holy ground." Moses did what he was told and kept listening. He heard the voice say, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the
God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." Upon hearing those words, Moses covered his face, because he was afraid to see God. The Lord continued talking to Moses, telling him about his plan to bring all of the people of Israel out of
Egypt and to give them their own land where they would no longer be slaves. It would be a beautiful land with everything they would need to live a healthy happy life. striped bar
When the Lord told Moses he wanted HIM to be the leader of the people and to talk to Pharaoh the king of Egypt Moses got scaredIt all sounded like a good plan, and it WAS a very good plan because it was God's plan. But when the Lord told Moses he wanted HIM to be the leader of the people and to talk to Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, Moses got scared and started making excuses.
After quite a long discussion of the Lord making promises and Moses making excuses, the Lord asked Moses, "What is that in your hand?" "A rod," Moses replied. Then the Lord told Moses, "Throw it on the ground." Moses threw his rod to the ground. Startled, he jumped back and started to run away. The ROD had turned into a SNAKE!
Then the Lord told Moses to throw his rod to the groundThe snake turned back into his rod The Lord, however, was not going to let Moses run away. He told Moses, "Pick it up by the tail." Moses cautiously bent over and picked up the tail of the snake. As he did so, the snake turned back into his rod! What a miracle
- the SECOND miracle of the day! When Moses took his hand back out of his shirt he was startled again to see that his hand was diseased and had turned whiteThis time when he took his hand out of his shirt he was quite happy to find that it was normal again But the Lord wasn't finished with Moses yet. He then told Moses to put his hand inside his shirt. Of course, Moses obeyed. When he took his hand back out of his shirt, he was startled again to see that his hand was diseased
and had turned white. The Lord told Moses to put his hand inside his shirt again, so he did. This time when he took his hand out of his shirt, he was quite happy to find that it was normal again.
This was the THIRD miracle of the day. If they STILL didnt believe he was to get a cup of water from the river and pour it on the ground and the water would be turned to bloodThe Lord had a purpose for the miracles he was doing. He told Moses that if the people of Israel did not believe that he had been sent by God, he was supposed to throw his rod down and it would be turned into a snake. If they still didn't believe him, he was supposed to put his hand inside his shirt and have it turn diseased, and then have it healed.
If they STILL didn't believe, he was to get a cup of water from the river and pour it on the ground, and the water would be turned to blood. After seeing the burning bush that did not burn, and the rod turned into a snake, and his own hand become diseased and then well again, Moses was still not sure he could do the job that the Lord wanted him to do. He made an excuse to the Lord saying that he wasn't a very good speaker and didn't think he could speak to the king of Egypt.
The Lord agreed that he could take his brother, Aaron, along and let him do the speaking. Moses and his wife packed their belongings got their animals ready and along with their children started their long trip to Egypt
The conversation with the Lord had come to an end, and Moses returned to his home to talk with his father-in-law. He asked permission to give up his job as a shepherd and return to Egypt. He and his wife packed their belongings, got their animals ready, and, along with their children, started their long trip to Egypt to become part of God's plan to bring the people of Israel out of slavery and give them their own special land.
When Moses and his brother Aaron got to Egypt the Lord told them what to do. He said, "Go to Pharaoh and tell him to let the Israelites go. He will be very stubborn and it will take many signs and miracles before he will let you go; but everyone will know that I am God when he finally frees the Israelites."
So they did what God asked and they went to see Pharaoh. In front of Pharaoh Aaron threw down his staff and it became a snake (just as God told Moses it would). Pharaoh didn't look surprised at all, he actually just smiled at Moses and Aaron. Without a word he snapped his fingers and a
minute later three men walked in. Pharaoh whispered in one of the men's ears, and he nodded and spoke quietly to the others. All at the same time they threw the staffs they were carrying to the ground and they became snakes, just like Moses and Aaron's. They turned and looked at each other with disappointment. They realized that these men were Pharaoh's magicians.
Just as Moses was feeling defeated his snake swallowed up all of the other snakes. This made Moses smile, surely Pharaoh would let them go now. But Pharaoh didn't seem to care, he shook his head and said, "Nice try, but the Israelites belong to me, and they work for Egypt I will not let them go." Moses left disappointed, but excited to talk to God about what they would do next. After all God told them that it wouldn't be easy. So when God spoke next, they listened well, "Pharaoh's heart is hard, he's still not going to change his mind. Go see him tomorrow morning, he didn't listen today but I will continue to show him that I am God."
With their instructions from God, Moses and Aaron met Pharaoh the next morning. Aaron explained to Pharaoh, "Because you still won't listen God is going to change all the water in Egypt into blood. The fish will die, the river will stink, and none of the Egyptians will be able to drink it."
The Story of Moses and the PharaohPharaoh smiled and said, "Go ahead." So Aaron did what the Lord told him and put his staff into the water and it turned to blood. Pharaoh seemed a little surprised but he summoned his magicians and they also turned the water into blood. With that, Pharaoh's heart became hard, and he turned and walked back to his palace. All the fish died, and the water smelled so bad, no matter where you were you could smell it. Can you imagine turning on your tap at home and having blood come out, what about having a bath, or even the water in your toilet. Of course the Egyptians didn't have sinks and toilets back then, but they still used water to drink, to make food, and to clean with.
After a whole week of this Pharaoh still wouldn't let the people go. But his magicians couldn't turn the blood back into water either. The Lord instructed Aaron and Moses to go see Pharaoh once again and He told them, "Tell Pharaoh to let my people go. If he refuses to let them go, I will plague the whole country with frogs."
They did as God asked and Pharaoh once again refused to let the people go. So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt and the frogs came up and covered everything. They really were everywhere! In the stoves where they cooked, in their beds, and they even jumped on the people.
The magicians could also make frogs appear - but this would be the last time that their magic would work. After a day of this Pharaoh couldn't take it anymore and he called for Moses and Aaron. (He probably didn't get any sleep with frogs jumping all over him!) He begged Moses, "Pray to the Lord to take the frogs away from me and my people, and I will let your people go." So Moses prayed to the Lord, and all the frogs died. But when Pharaoh saw that all the frogs were dead, he was relieved and he hardened his heart and changed his mind
There were many other plagues that There were many other plagues that followed: Gnats and flies, all the livestock got sick and died, the Egyptians were covered in sores, hail came down and killed all the crops, locusts came and ate all the grass and everything green, and then there was complete darkness. Nobody left their homes because they couldn't even see where they were going. With each of these plagues Pharaoh said he'd let the Israelites go if God put things back to normal, but then he kept changing his mind. You'd think he would've learned his lesson and let the Israelites go. God doesn't give up.
You may have felt sorry for the Israelites during all these plagues, but God made sure they were not touched by them. Only the Pharaoh and 'his people' the Egyptians went through these terrible times. The Israelites lived a little ways away, and God kept them safe, and put a pretend wall around them so none of the plagues could come to them.
If you thought all the other plagues were bad, there was one last plague (the tenth plague) that was way worse than any of the others. The Lord told them, "This will be the last plague on Pharaoh and Egypt, after this they will let you go. Around midnight I will go throughout Egypt. Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, even the son of Pharaoh, and there will be great sadness." Moses and Aaron warned Pharaoh, but he refused to listen.
The Lord had special instructions for Moses and Aaron, so that the Israelites would be sure to stay safe during this last plague. He told them, "The Israelites must kill their best sheep or goat. Then they are to take some of the blood and smear it on the sides and tops of the doors on their houses.
On that same night I will pass through Egypt like a ghost and take the life from every first born. If I see blood on the doorway that will be a sign for me to pass over the house and keep all who are inside safe.
This day will always be known as the Passover, because you were passed over and kept safe by God. You will continue to celebrate this day for many years." (Some people still celebrate it today!) They were also to eat unleavened bread (bread that is flat, not fluffy like we eat it). This would always remind them of the hurry that they left Egypt in. Now you have to remember Pharaoh could have stopped all this a long time ago. God gave him many opportunities to let the Israelites go, but he would not listen. Unfortunately God had to teach Pharaoh a lesson and He did what He said He would do.
After Pharaoh realized what happened in Egypt he called for Moses and Aaron just after midnight and he said, "Leave my people, you and all the Israelites! Go worship the Lord as you wanted, take all your animals and get out of here!" The Israelites gathered up gold and silver from the Egyptians who were glad to see them leave and they left with Moses.
You won't believe what happened next! When Pharaoh heard that the Israelites had left he changed his mind- again! He decided to gather an army of more than 600 people and go after Moses, Aaron and all the Israelites.
So as the Israelites were on their way, they noticed in the distance that Pharaoh was coming after them. They started to get worried and questioned Moses why he would lead them out in the desert to die. Moses knew what to say, and he told them, "Do not be afraid, God has protected you before, He will protect you again."
When the Israelites reached the Red Sea they were trapped with the Sea in front of them and Pharaoh behind them. But God told Moses to reach out his staff into the water, and when he did an amazing thing happened. The water split into two! The water lifted itself and made huge walls of water
(they couldn't even see over it, it was higher than a house). They would walk on dry ground, which was actually the bottom the Sea.
Pharaoh's army followed them into the Sea, even though some of the Egyptians were afraid, and knew God was with them. When the Israelites had finally made it through safe God told Moses, "Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the water goes back to normal, and it will swallow up Pharaoh and his army." Moses did as God had told him and he reached his staff over the water. There was a loud crash as the water came back together, and covered the Egyptians.
That was the day the Lord saved the Israelites from the Egyptians. When the Israelites saw what God had done for them they trusted Him, and they knew that Moses would be a good leader for them as they traveled to the land flowing with milk and honey.
The Israelites had been traveling in the desert for about 3 months (which is a little longer than regular summer holidays) when they came to Mount Sinai. They were going to stay there for a while plus they had excellent shelter from the mountain. Moses got unpacked and decided to walk up the mountain to talk to God. Remember that this wasn't very easy for Moses, he was already over 80 years old.
God knew that Moses was coming so He spoke to Moses and told him to tell the Israelites to get ready. Moses came down to tell the people to have a bath and to clean all their clothes. By doing this the people were getting prepared to hear important words from God. That is why we sometimes dress up or make sure we have clean clothes on when we go to church. It makes us hopefully behave a little nicer and shows respect to God.
On the third morning after Moses had talked to God, the Israelites where busy making their breakfast when all of a sudden there was a large rumble and a flash of light over the mountain. Anyone who was still sleeping were startled and woke up suddenly.
Everyone went out to look and just over the mountain there was lightning and thunder, and a very thick cloud hung over the mountain so you couldn't see the top. Even the mountain shook and the sound of trumpets could be heard getting louder and louder. So Moses went up the mountain to hear from God once again. This time God told Moses, "Go down to the people and tell them not to follow you up the mountain, the mountain is a special place because I am here." So Moses warned the people not to touch or go to close to the mountain.
Moses and the Ten Commandments After that Moses went back up the mountain. But this time he stayed there
for a long time (40 days and 40 nights), God sure had a lot to tell him. God wanted to instruct the
people on how to live. By following His rules they would have less sadness in their lives.
God just wanted to protect them. It's just like when our parents give us rules to protect us: to look both ways before we cross the street, to not hit our brother or sister... They give us rules because they love us and know what's best for us. We'll just talk about the first ten commandments God told Moses, otherwise we might be here for 40 days
and we don't have time for that. Besides, the 10 commandments are the most important for us right now. Remember as you hear each commandment that they are all equally important, one is not more important than the other.
The first commandment is to put God first. This means that nothing should be more important than God - a hobby you enjoy, tv or video games, even your friends and family should not be more important than God.
The second command is to worship only God. This is like the first commandment in that God wants our love, and He doesn't want us to bow down and worship a statue just because we can't see Him. In other words God is the only one that we should pray to.
The third commandment is broken all the time. God commands us to use His name with respect. Many people use God's name like a swear word, or say it when they're upset. God wants us to use His name when we're talking to Him, or telling others about Him in a nice way. To use His name in these other ways is very disrespectful and hurts God to hear it.
The forth commandment should be easy, we are to remember God's Sabbath. God wants us to take one day of the week and rest. When God made the world in six days, He rested on the seventh day. This gets harder when you get older, there always seems to be something to do, but remember God commands us to take a day off.
The fifth commandment might be a little tricky for some of you, but its very important (like all the other commandments) that you follow it. He tells us to respect our parents. Sometimes you might think you know what's best, or you get frustrated because your parents won't let you do something. Remember your parents were once kids just like you, and they are trying to keep you safe and from making the same mistakes they've already made.
the sixth commandment. This commandment says don't hurt others. Now imagine for a minute if everyone in the whole world obeyed this rule like God wants us to. We probably wouldn't have any jails and we would all get along with one another.
The seventh commandment is for those who are married. God tells us to be faithful in marriage. He wants us to love our wife or husband someday (even if they get on your nerves once and a while) and treat them with respect.
The eighth commandment is don't steal. This means that we shouldn't take something that doesn't belong to us. We are almost done,
the next commandment is don't lie. It is always better to tell the truth, and while you're at it don't do anything that would make you want to lie. Usually parents know when you're lying anyway, and if you don't get caught God sees and hears everything and He knows.
The last commandment is don't be envious of others. This means that we shouldn't wish to have things that someone else has. I know there is always a new toy or game - there is always something that we want to get. It's important to remember that these things aren't really important. God is the most important (if you remember the first commandment).