Lesson 1: Moses and the Burning Bush 01/27/2023
Classroom: My Classroom
Exodus 3:1–4:17 Leader Guide for Grades 5 & 6

Teachers Dig In

 

Dig In to the Bible

  • Read: Exodus 3:1–4:17
  • In This Passage: Moses is tending his sheep when he sees a strange sight: a bush that’s on fire but not burning up. When he goes to investigate, he hears God speak to him and sees God give clear signs of who he is. Moses’ encounter makes it clear that God is real.
  • Bible Point: God is real.
  • Summary Verse: “O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth! Your glory is higher than the heavens” (Psalm 8:1).

 

Dig Deeper

  • You’ll Be Teaching: God is real. While younger kids are likely to believe whatever you tell them about God, older kids often want proof. They’re used to things they can see, touch, or watch on YouTube. Even if they believe God is real, they may struggle with their inability to verify that truth. Use this lesson to help kids experience God.
  • Think About: What evidence have you seen or experienced that shows you God is real?

 

Dig In to Prayer

  • Ask God to make his presence real in your ministry and to reveal himself to your kids.

 

Quick Tip

  • Today’s point may bring up some doubts, struggles, and questions—especially among older kids. Make sure your space is a safe place for kids to bring those thoughts. Don’t let anyone feel ashamed for struggling with the fact that God is real, but help by pointing kids to Scripture that can address their doubts.

This Lesson at a Glance

Opening

Kids share about a topic related to the lesson.

Supplies

  • Bible

Music Video

Kids sing songs of praise to God.

Supplies

  • “Light of the World” (watch or download here)  

  • “We Can Trust Him (Psalm 33:4)” (watch or download here)  

  • “To God Be the Glory” (watch or download here

Core Bible Discovery

Kids look for evidence that God is real in Exodus 3 and 4.

Supplies

  • Bibles
  • construction paper (various colors)
  • scissors
  • transparent tape

Core Bible at Home

Only available in One Room class format.

 

Talk-About Video

Kids watch a video and discuss the Bible point.

Supplies

  • “Fact or Fiction?” teaching video (watch or download here)

Preschool Puppet Skit

Recommended for preschoolers.

 

Object Lesson

Kids try to memorize two different collections of photos.

Supplies

  • “What Do You Remember?” handout (1 per child) (download here)
  • index cards (2 per child)
  • pens
  • clock or cellphone timer (optional)

Easy Prep

  • Cut each “What Do You Remember?” handout in half along the dotted line.
  • Make a stack of Collection 1 copies and a stack of Collection 2 copies.

Deeper Bible

Kids explore the overwhelming magnitude of God’s power.

Supplies

  • Bibles*
  • flashlight
  • construction paper*
  • transparent tape*
  • warm water in a travel mug or thermos

Easy Prep

  • Cut a very small hole in the construction paper, then tape the paper over the flashlight.
  • Test your water to make sure it’s not so hot that it would burn kids.

High-Energy Game

Kids play Tag in snake-like chains.

Supplies

  • upbeat music (optional)
  • music player (optional)

Low-Energy Game

Kids decide what’s real.

 

Craft

Kids make “flames” to hang in their doorways.

Supplies

  • red, orange, and yellow crepe paper streamers
  • staplers
  • washable markers

Easy Prep

  • Make a sample craft to show kids.

Life Application Wrap-Up

Kids do an active prayer.

 

Take-Home

Kids receive a take-home page about the lesson.

Supplies

  • this week’s “Dig In @ Home” handout (1 per child) (download here)

Easy Prep

  • Add your church announcements to the “Dig In @ Home” handout.

*Marked supplies can be reused from Core Bible Discovery

Let's keep kids safe! You can help by using supplies as instructed for only ages 3+, purchasing child-safe items, and being aware of allergy concerns.

Opening [5 min]

Welcome

Supplies

  • Bible

Welcome

  • Thank kids for coming.
  • Just for fun, have kids thumb wrestle with a friend.
  • Make announcements.
  • Introduce new kids.
  • Celebrate birthdays by having kids sing “Happy Birthday” with their lips tucked over their teeth.
  • Collect the offering.

 

Introduce the Lesson

            Say: We’re going to spend a few months finding out the answer to this question: Who is God? We’ll start today by learning that God is real.

 

Share

  • Tell kids about something strange or surprising you’ve seen.
  • Have kids form pairs. Ask kids to tell about something strange or surprising they’ve seen.
  • After partners have shared, ask two or three kids to share with the whole group.

 

Summarize

            Open a Bible to Exodus 3, and say: Wow! We’ve seen some strange sights. In today’s Bible story, we’ll see how God used a strange sight to get Moses’ attention. Then Moses could see that God is real. Let’s explore God’s special book, the Bible, to find out what Moses saw. And remember, if it’s in the Bible, it’s true—so this really happened! Let’s ask God to show us he’s real, too.

            Pray, asking God to show your class that he is real.

Music Video [10 min]

Light of the World

Supplies

  • “Light of the World” (watch or download here)  

  • “We Can Trust Him (Psalm 33:4)” (watch or download here)  

  • “To God Be the Glory” (watch or download here

Tip

  • Don’t have internet in your classroom? That’s okay! You can choose your own worship songs from our Best Of Dig In Music DVD here

 

Sing Songs to God

            Sing the three songs in any order.

Core Bible Discovery [20 min]

Moses and the Burning Bush (Exodus 3:1–4:17)

Supplies

  • Bibles
  • construction paper (various colors)
  • scissors
  • transparent tape

Tips

  • This experience may bring to the surface some deeper questions about why we can’t actually hear, touch, and see God. Check out Deeper Bible for a great way to address those concerns with kids!

 

Discuss Evidence

            Have kids form pairs.

            Say: You have 30 seconds to find as much evidence as you can that your partner is real. Ready? Go!

            After 30 seconds, get kids’ attention.

            Ask: • What evidence did you find that your partner is real?

            Say: It’s pretty easy to prove someone standing right here is real. You can see them, touch them, and hear them.

            But today we’re learning that God is real. What evidence is there that that’s true? After all, we can’t see him, hear him, or touch him the way we could with our partners.

            Let’s look at an encounter Moses had with God and search for evidence that God is real.

 

Hear God

            Say: One way you know your partner is real is that you could hear your partner. And we’ll see that Moses heard from God!

            It all started when Moses saw a bush that was on fire…but it wasn’t burning up! As Moses got closer to check it out, this is what he heard.

            Read Exodus 3:4-6.

            Ask: • How does this show that God is real?

            Say: Not only did Moses hear God say his name, plus identify himself as God, but God went on to tell Moses a lot. He told Moses he was going to rescue the people of Israel out of Egypt, where they were slaves. He told Moses he’d give the people of Israel a new place to live with plenty of food. He gave Moses specific instructions on what to do!

            Let’s see what it would be like to hear God speak that clearly.

            Have one partner in each pair close his or her eyes while the other says the first partner’s name and gives a simple command that can be followed with eyes closed. For example, a partner might say, “Omar, clap your hands three times.” After a few commands, partners can switch roles.

            Ask: • How well could you hear your partner?

            • Compare that to how well you hear God.

            Say: Sometimes it can be hard to hear God the same way we hear a human voice. In fact, you may even start to wonder if God is real. But we just saw evidence that God can speak as clearly as your partner spoke to you. Plus, God still speaks today! It might not always be a voice we can hear, but God speaks to us through the Bible, through other people, through what we feel and sense in our hearts, and through his creation. We know God is real because Moses heard him, and we can listen for him today, too.

 

Touch God

            Say: Another sign your partner is real is that you can touch your partner! We can’t touch God, but God did ask Moses to partner with him to do the work of freeing people from slavery. God said this.

            Read Exodus 3:8-10.

            Say: Here’s the thing: Moses didn’t really want to partner with God. The job seemed hard! But God had chosen Moses to be his leader. Moses didn’t get to touch God, but he did get to work with God…and that’s almost the same thing!

            Let’s see how well you can work with your partner.

            Have partners link arms and then work together to gather a Bible, construction paper, scissors, and tape.

            Ask: • What was it like working with your partner?

            • What’s something you think you could partner up with God to do?

            Say: God is real. When you and your partner linked up, you could work together to accomplish something. Even though we can’t touch God, we can work with him to do important work like telling people about Jesus or showing his love. When we do God’s work, we often feel his power working through us!

 

See God

            Say: A third sign your partner is real is that you can see your partner. I’m looking around our room, and I can’t see God. But let’s look for visual evidence of God in Moses’ story.

            Form four groups. Assign each group one of the following signs, and have group members read the verses about it. Then they’ll work together to use the construction paper, scissors, and tape to create a visual representation of the sign. Let groups be creative, and make sure everyone is involved. Allow about five minutes, and then have groups show off their signs.

  • Burning bush: Exodus 3:1-3
  • Snake staff: Exodus 4:1-5
  • Snowy hand: Exodus 4:6-7
  • Bloody water: Exodus 4:8-9

            Say: Wow! God is real! Moses didn’t see God himself (at least not in this Bible story), but he sure saw a lot of miraculous signs that proved God is real!

            You know, I think we see signs around us that God is real, too. I like to call them God Sightings. God Sightings aren’t times we see God like we see a person, but they’re times we see evidence that God is real and at work around us. Share your own example of a way you’ve seen God at work in everyday life. It could be as big as a miraculous event or as simple as a beautiful sunset or a dog’s tail wag.

            Ask: • Tell about a God Sighting you’ve seen.

            Say: When we see these God Sightings—whether they feel big or small—they’re signs that God is real. They’re ways to see God!

            So Moses got to the burning bush where he saw a sign that God is real. Then he heard God and had a whole conversation with him about how to set the Israelites free from slavery. Then God gave him even more visual ways to prove that he’s real. And after that whole experience, Moses went on to partner with God to do something amazing.

            God is the same real God today that he was for Moses. In fact, God told Moses a name that shows God is the same all the time.

            Read Exodus 3:14.

            Ask: • What do you think the name “I Am” means?

            • How does that name show God is real today like he was in Moses’ time?

            Say: “I Am” is a name that shows God is always the same. He just is! So we can pay attention to how God is real as we listen for him, work alongside him, and look for God Sightings.

Core Bible at Home [20 min]

Not available for this age level.

To use this feature, please ask your DIG IN Director to create a One Room classroom. For instructions and tips on creating a classroom for at-home lessons, click here.

Talk-About Video [10 min]

Fact or Fiction?

Supplies

  • “Fact or Fiction?” teaching video (watch or download here)

Tip

  • Don’t have internet in your classroom? That’s okay! You can download the videos before class using the “download” button at the link provided, or purchase DVDs here

 

Discuss and Watch “Fact or Fiction?”

            Say: We’re learning that God is real.

            Ask: • How do you know God is real?

            Say: Let’s watch a video that will test how well you can tell what’s real and what’s not! Let’s play Fact or Fiction?

            Watch “Fact or Fiction?”

            Ask: • Which things sounded really real…but they were fiction?

            • How can you tell the difference between what’s real and what’s made up?

            Say: We may not always be able to tell the difference between fact and fiction when it comes to silly animal facts, but we can always know God is real. God showed up for Moses in a very real way, and he’s real today, too!

Preschool Puppet Skit [10 min]

Preschool Puppet Skit

Not available for this age level.

Object Lesson [10 min]

Getting Our Attention

Supplies

  • “What Do You Remember?” handout (1 per child) (download here)
  • index cards (2 per child)
  • pens
  • clock or cellphone timer (optional)

Easy Prep

  • Cut each “What Do You Remember?” handout in half along the dotted line.
  • Make a stack of Collection 1 copies and a stack of Collection 2 copies.

Try to Memorize Two Collections of Photos

            Say: Today we’ve heard about when God did something amazing to show Moses—and us—that God is real. God’s miracle of the burning bush that wouldn’t burn up was an unusual sight, and it grabbed Moses’ attention. When something grabs our attention, we also usually remember it better.

            Ask: • What’s something you remember clearly from when you were younger? Share an example of your own first to help kids land on a memory of their own, such as a memory of a birthday party or a special Christmas celebration from your childhood.

            • Why do you think that memory is stored in your brain so clearly while we can forget things from just last week? Allow time for kids to think about this and offer ideas.

            Say: Scientists who study the human brain say there’s a reason some memories stay so clear for us. Those memories often have a strong emotion connected to them, like feeling very loved by your friends and family. Strong emotions lock memories in our brains. Let’s put that idea to the test and see how true it is!

  • Give each person a copy of the Collection 1 handout, two index cards, and a pen. Distribute the handouts facedown, and have kids keep them that way until you tell them to turn over the handouts.
  • When everyone has the supplies, challenge kids to turn over the handouts at your cue and study the images, trying to memorize everything on the page.
  • Cue everyone to turn over the pages, and allow 10 seconds for studying. You can use a timer or just count in your head.
  • Then call time, and have everyone place the handout facedown again. Then have each child write or draw on an index card everything he or she can remember from the handout. Assure kids that spelling things correctly doesn’t matter. Allow about a minute for kids to try to recall and record all they can on the index card.
  • Have kids count how many things they could recall. Then have kids raise their hands if they remembered one thing, two things, three things, and so on up to 10.
  • Hand out the Collection 2 copies, and repeat the experiment with a new set of images and index cards. The number of things most kids can recall should increase.

 

Talk About It

            Ask: • What did you notice about how many things you were able to remember from each set of images?

            Say: Most people who do an experiment like this are able to remember more from the second set of images. Remember, brain scientists think strong emotion helps lock things in our memories, so…

            Ask: • Why do you think the second set of images is usually easier to remember?

            Say: The pictures on the first handout were pretty boring, but the pictures on the second handout showed some things that most people are afraid of. Fear is a very strong emotion that grabs attention, and it helped the pictures stick in your memories.

            God got Moses’ attention by showing Moses something amazing. Moses might have even been a little afraid at first, and he probably felt lots of other strong emotions. With the burning bush, God did a very memorable thing that helped Moses—and us—know that God is real!

            Ask: • What helps you remember that God is real?

Deeper Bible [15 min]

Why Can’t We Actually See and Touch God?

Supplies

  • Bibles*
  • flashlight
  • construction paper*
  • transparent tape*
  • warm water in a travel mug or thermos

Easy Prep

  • Cut a very small hole in the construction paper, then tape the paper over the flashlight.
  • Test your water to make sure it’s not so hot that it would burn kids.

Set It Up

            Say: Raise your hand if you’ve ever seen a bush on fire but not burning up. Pause.

            Say: Hmm…we know the Bible is true, so we know Moses saw an amazing sign that God is real, but none of us has seen that sign. And even Moses, who saw amazing signs and miracles, didn’t see God himself.

            So why can’t we actually see and touch God? Let’s dig in to that.

 

Dig Deeper

            Say: If you wish you could physically see and touch God, you’re not the first one! Moses himself asked to see God. Let’s check it out.

            Read Exodus 33:18-23.

            Ask: • God said, “No one may see me and live.” Why do you think that is?

            Say: So Moses kind of got to see God…but not really. He didn’t get to see God’s face. God said no one could see him and live. Let’s do some experiments to see why that might be true.

 

Look at a Light

            Say: I’m going to turn on a flashlight. Most of the light is covered, but you’ll see a small hole. Stare at it until I turn it off, and then blink and look at the wall.

            Turn on the flashlight, and allow 30 seconds for kids to stare at the light. Then have them blink and look at the wall.

            Ask: • Describe what you’re seeing as you look at the wall.

            Say: Even though you’re not looking at the light anymore, you’re still seeing it. That’s a scientific phenomenon called afterimage. Looking at the light for so long temporarily made part of your eye less sensitive, so you saw a dark spot afterward.

            Now, that’s just from looking at a tiny part of a flashlight.

            Ask: • What have you heard about looking at the sun?

            Say: You saw how looking at a flashlight damaged your vision for just a little bit. But if you were to look at the sun for very long, you could do permanent damage to your eyes. That’s because the sun is too bright and powerful for us to look at directly.

            Ask: • How does that help you think about what might happen if you looked directly at God’s face?

            • Even though you can’t look at the sun, how does the sun help your vision?

            Say: Like the sun, God is too powerful for us to look at. God made the sun and hung it in the sky! Looking at him is too much for us to handle! But we don’t have to look at the sun to see its power. Whenever we look around us on a sunny day, we’re appreciating the power of the sun to light up what’s around us.

            Ask: • What do you see around you that shows God’s power or greatness?

            Say: God is real. We can’t see him directly, but we can see him at work. Let’s do another experiment that helps us think about the sun.

 

Feel Warm Water

            Get out the warm water, and let kids each stick a finger in it.

            Ask: • What temperature do you think this water is?

            Say: Just for scale, a nice temperature for bathwater is around 100 degrees (37 Celsius). A pot of boiling water is 212 degrees (100 degrees Celsius), and it would burn you to touch it. The hottest your oven can get is around 500 degrees (260 degrees Celsius), and that would really burn you!

            Ask: • Based on those temperatures, how hot do you think the sun is? Have kids line up in numerical order of their guesses, smallest to largest.

            Say: The correct answer is, the sun is 9,941 degrees (5,505 Celsius). That’s way, way, way hotter than anything on earth.

            Ask: • What do you think would happen if you tried to touch the sun?

            Say: We can’t touch the sun, even if we could get close enough—we would die! It’s just too hot and powerful for us to touch. But we still get to feel the sun, like when we feel its rays warming us on a chilly day. In fact, it can even burn people from far away by giving bad sunburns! That’s how powerful it is!

            I don’t know about you, but I’ve never wished I could look at or touch the sun. I know it’s too hot and powerful for me to handle! And you know what? God is even more powerful. He’s too much for us to see and touch! But he does give us ways to experience his presence that we can handle. Just as we can experience the sun without looking at it or touching it, we can experience God without seeing or touching him. We can see him at work around us, and we can feel the warmth of his love, because God is real.

High-Energy Game [10 min]

Snake Snag-the-Tail

Supplies

  • upbeat music (optional)
  • music player (optional)

Tip

  • You can purchase downloadable music and other items to enhance your DIG IN program here.

 

*Recommended for groups of 6 or more.

 

Form “Snakes” and Play Tag

            Say: In today’s Bible story, Moses saw that God is real when God turned his staff, which was like a stick, into a snake and back! Let’s see if you can become snakes—and stay that way.

  • Form groups of three or four, and have group members line up single file.
  • Ask kids to put their hands on the shoulders of the person in front of them. Whoever is first in the line is the Head of the “snake.” Whoever’s last in line is the Tail.
  • Explain the goal of the game is for the Head of a snake to tag the Tail of another snake. Kids can’t let go of the shoulders they’re holding. Tails will do their best to avoid being tagged.
  • When a Tail is tagged, that snake must turn into a staff, which means freezing in place until the leader calls out “Unfreeze!”
  • When a snake is unfrozen, kids will rotate positions, with the Head becoming the Tail and the rest of the kids in the snake moving up one spot.
  • Play several rounds. The more snakes slithering around, the merrier!

 

Talk About It

            Ask: • What strategies helped you stay a snake?

            • If you saw the staff-to-snake miracle, what would you do?

            • What’s one sign you wish God would use to show you he’s real?

            Say: In today’s Bible story, God let the staff Moses carried become a real, live snake. God wanted Moses to know God is real—and powerful!

Low-Energy Game [10 min]

It’s a Real Thing

Tip

  • You’ll ask kids to make specific movements. Modify the movements if there are kids who can’t do those listed.

 

Vote on What’s Real

            Say: Today we’re talking about how God is real. Let’s see what we can discover by seeing what else is—and isn’t—real and true.

  • Have kids stand.
  • Explain that after you make a statement, kids will indicate whether they think what you’re saying is real and true by striking a specific pose—or not.
  • Following are 10 statements and suggested poses.
  • After kids respond to these statements, ask them to suggest the final two statements themselves. Kids will love sharing obscure facts (or making stuff up!).
  • Scotland’s national animal is a unicorn. Touch your forehead if you think this is real. (Real.)
  • The Greenland shark has an average lifespan of 390 years; some live as long as 512 years. Stand on one foot if you think this is real. (Real.)
  • There are more trees on earth than stars in our galaxy. Point to the ceiling if you think this is real. (Real—NASA estimates there are between 100 and 400 billion stars in the Milky Way. The earth has more than 3 trillion trees.)
  • Cheetahs can’t roar. Instead they make a sound similar to a house cat. Meow if you think this is true. (Real.)
  • Humans are born without kneecap bones. Touch your knees if you think this is real. (Real—humans develop kneecaps between ages 2 and 6.)
  • Clouds may look lightweight, but the average cumulus cloud you see on a sunny day weighs about 1.1 million pounds. Pretend you’re floating if you think this is true. (Real.)
  • Nintendo was founded in 1889. Stand on your tiptoes if you think this is true. (Real—it started as a card game company.)
  • Because all tigers have the same stripes, it is impossible to tell them apart by sight. Cover your eyes if you think that’s real. (Made up—tiger stripes are as unique as fingerprints.)
  • Your brain is almost 60 percent fat. Touch your skull if you think that’s real. (Real.)
  • Pangonia is the only country in the world where dogs are legally allowed to own property. (Made up—Pangonia is not a real place.)

 

Talk About It

            Ask: How did you decide what sounded real and what sounded made up?

            • What makes it easy or hard to believe God is real?

            Say: God is real, but that’s not always easy to believe. Moses got to see and hear from God, so he knew God is real. We can trust that’s true, too.

Craft [20 min]

Flaming Door Curtains

Supplies

  • red, orange, and yellow crepe paper streamers
  • staplers
  • washable markers

Easy Prep

  • Make a sample craft to show kids.

 

Make Flaming Door Curtains

            Show kids the sample craft you made. You might even hang it in your doorway and let kids walk through it. Set out the supplies to share, and have kids follow these directions to make flaming door curtains.

  • Tear 12 long strips of crepe paper, four of each color. The strips should be long enough to hang in a doorway—at least 6 feet long.
  • Tear one more strip of crepe paper that’s the width of a doorway. Use your classroom door to measure!
  • Staple one end of each long strip to your doorway-width strip so the long strips hang down.
  • If you have time, use markers to add flame shapes to your crepe paper strips.

 

Talk About It

            Ask: • What would you do if you saw a burning bush like Moses saw?

            • What would you do if you saw flames in your doorway…but your house wasn’t on fire?

            Say: God is real, and Moses saw that firsthand when he saw the burning bush. When you get home, you can hang these curtains in your bedroom doorway so you can walk through the flames every time you enter or exit your room! Whenever you walk through the flames, ask God to show you that he is real.

            Have kids take their doorway curtains home and hang them in their doorways. Remind kids that they should never play with real fire.

Life Application Wrap-Up [5 min]

Pray and Listen

Pray With Motions

  • Have kids put their hands up to their eyes like binoculars. Pray: God, because you are real, help us see you at work.
  • Have kids rub their hands together. Pray: God, because you are real, help us feel you with us.
  • Have kids cup their hands behind their ears. Pray: God, because you are real, help us hear your voice. Right now, we want to hear only your voice. We ask you to tell us something about who you are. We’re listening now. Pause for kids to listen. Then close the prayer.
  • Ask any kids who heard God speak to share what they heard.
  • Thank kids for coming, and encourage them to come back next week.

Take-Home [0 min]

Dig In @ Home

Supplies

  • this week’s “Dig In @ Home” handout (1 per child) (download here)

Easy Prep

  • Add your church announcements to the “Dig In @ Home” handout.

            Distribute a copy of the “Dig In @ Home” handout to kids as they leave, or email it to parents during the week.