People of God
How can following God bring freedom and justice?
1) Imagining life as a slave in ancient Egypt.
Find out a) what they have to do as slaves; b) what they would like to do but can’t due to their status.
2) The Life of Moses
Read about the events in Moses’ life, watch the Dreamworks film 'Prince of Egypt' or watch the video below:
1) being put in the basket and found by Pharaoh’s daughter,
2) killing of the taskmaster,
3) fleeing Egypt,
4) the burning bush.
Focus on the burning bush.
What are Moses’ feelings about going back to Egypt? Why do you think this is? Think of adjectives to describe Moses’ feelings throughout the story of the burning bush and create emotion graphs.
Moses and the children of Israel were part of the People of God. Exodus 3:6 shows their link to God and Abraham.
Continue learning the eight events in Moses’ life:
5), the ten plagues.
Put yourself in the positions of Moses and Pharaoh after the eighth plague (locusts) and think about how each might have been thinking.
a) Moses’ conscience alley: Give reasons for Moses to continue following God’s will and attempting to get the slaves released; the other side state reasons why Moses should give up.
b) Pharaoh’s conscience alley: Give reasons why Pharaoh should keep the Hebrews as slaves, the other side give reasons why Pharaoh should grant their freedom.
You could film yourself talking about these different perspectives as different people in the story. You could even use props or costumes!
Learn the last three of the events from Moses’ life:
6) leading children of Israel out of Egypt,
7) crossing the Red/Reed Sea,
8) the covenant on Mount Sinai.
Try this ‘quick draw’ activity:
Spend 30 seconds drawing each of the eight events (four minutes in total) or verbally summarising each event in ten seconds.
Can you identify some main themes in the story of Moses’ life? For example, freedom, God, suffering, leadership, vulnerability, obedience, evil.
Create a poster to represent a theme — one showing it within the story, the other within the world today. Which theme do you think is most central to the life of Moses and why?
God rescues his people in the story of Moses by delivering them from Egypt and then making the covenant with them — not demanding that they obey the commands first and only rescuing them if they manage it. What difference does this make?
Talk about the key question: from the story of the Exodus: how far does following God bring freedom and justice?
Many Christians see the story of the Exodus as looking forward to salvation, being freed from slavery and sin through Jesus. Think about the connection between the liberation of the People of God from slavery, and the Christian belief that Jesus brings salvation from sin.
3) Are the 10 commandments still important?
Look at the Ten Commandments given at Mount Sinai.
For each commandment, work out what some people must have been doing, if the People of God had to be given that command. (You don’t need rules to make you do something if you are doing it already!)
How similar or different is the world now? How many of those things are still going on?
Give three good reasons why Christians (and Jewish people) argue that the Ten Commandments are still important today; compare this with what an atheist might say about the value of these commands today.
Work out which of the Commandments you think would be hardest for a Christian to keep.
Is it possible to keep all ten, always?
Is it hard not to kill?
Is it harder to never be greedy, or to always tell the truth?
What happens when humans fail to live up to the standard?
Should a person be punished or helped? Why?
Weigh up which Commandments would have most impact on the world, if everyone followed them.
Create a piece of art work, illustrating the three commandments you think are the most important to our world today.
3) The new covenant (agreement or promise)
Many Christian people see Jesus as bringing a new covenant — a new relationship with God.
His teachings and actions showed how to live.
Look at the two greatest commandments Jesus reminds listeners of in Matthew 22:37–40. Spot links between these and the Ten Commandments.
(For example, Love God = 1-4; Love your neighbour = 5-10.)
Matthew 22:37-40 International Children’s Bible (ICB)
37 Jesus answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and most important command. 39 And the second command is like the first: ‘Love your neighbour as you love yourself.’[b] 40 All the law and the writings of the prophets depend on these two commands.”
4) Inspiration for working towards justice
The story of the Exodus has inspired Jewish and Christian people for centuries. Can you think of at least three reasons why this might be the case? Identify any parts of the story that are inspiring and why. What lessons could there be for all people about resisting injustice and tyranny?
How can following God bring freedom and justice? Consider this in the light of your learning about God bringing freedom to the people of God, but also how believers try to bring justice today.
It is not only Christian and Jewish people who want freedom and justice, of course!
Reflect on why ideas of freedom and justice are so important in the world today.
Research some local people who are involved in working for freedom and justice (or look at some more global examples; for example, Desmond Tutu, Malala, Aung San Suu Kyi and Pandurang Shastri Athavale).
How inspiring and helpful are these examples?
Don't write Ten Commandments, but write Ten Lessons for Living, where you show what we can all do to bring more freedom and justice, explaining why these are good Lessons for Living.