Moses and the Burning Bush


Antioch Arcade


Scripture:           Exodus 3:1-4:17, with emphasis on Exodus 3:1-15


Memory Verse       "I will be with you always, even until the end of the world" (Matthew 28:20b).




1.      We don't have to be perfect to do God's work.

2.      God gives us the ability to do God's work.

3.      God is with us always.



The children will:


1.      Locate the story of Moses and the Burning Bush in their Bibles (grades 3-5).

2.      Learn the background and setting of the passage, and the details of the story.

3.      Play a game that reinforces the details of the story.

4.      Relate the concepts above to the scripture and to their lives.



Welcome and Introductions:

As the children come in the door, count them off by color -- Red, Orange, Green and Purple -- and have them sit down in the area of the room that is designated with their color.

1.      Greet the children and introduce yourself.  Wear your name-tag. Tell them that in this workshop they will learn the story of Moses and the Burning Bush in detail.



Scripture/Bible Story:

Review the Bible story.

1.      Remind them that the Bible is a collection of books. The story of Moses is in Exodus, the second book in the Bible. Have the students open their Bibles to find Exodus.

After they’ve found Exodus, help them find chapter 3, verse 1. Some of the children will confuse chapters and verses. Show them that chapter numbers are the big ones, and also are at the top of every page. Tell them they’ll be able to refer to the Bible when they play the game later.


3.      Review the story. The first couple of weeks, you might read it directly from the CEV, letting the older children follow along in their Bibles. In later weeks, you might tell the story, using the summary below as a guide, and let the children help you. A Bible story book with pictures could be helpful in keeping their attention. Remind the children to listen carefully because they need to remember the details for the game. Emphasize the underlined parts ­ they are linked to the lesson concepts.

Start with some background on who Moses was and how he came to be at the burning bush. (Background is also given in Holywood.) If you have a class that has already been to Holywood, consider writing the background events on sheets of paper and have the kids put them in order on a time line.

Story summary


Background: Jacob had 12 sons but his favorite was Joseph. Joseph’s brothers were jealous and sold him to slave traders who took him to Egypt. In Egypt, Joseph ended up working for the pharaoh, the king, in a very high and powerful position. Eventually Joseph’s father, Jacob, Joseph’s 11 brothers, and their wives and children all moved to Egypt, where they settled and prospered. After Jacob and Joseph and his brothers had all died, their descendants stayed in Egypt and continued to have children who grew up and had more children until the family of Jacob was spread through a large area of Egypt. They were called Israelites or Hebrews.


After a long time passed, a new pharaoh came to power. He did not know about Joseph and the good things he had done for Egypt. He just saw that there were so many Israelites he was afraid they would become more powerful than the Egyptians and if there were a war, they might fight with Egypt’s enemies. So the pharaoh made the Israelites work as slaves, and they were treated very cruelly.



Moses was a Hebrew, but as a baby he was adopted by the pharaoh’s daughter and grew up in the pharaoh’s palace. One day when Moses was grown up he saw an Egyptian beating one of the Hebrew slaves. Moses killed the Egyptian, and when the pharaoh heard about it, he wanted to kill Moses. But Moses escaped and ran away to a part of the country called Midian, where he became a shepherd, and lived and got married and had a son. 

The Burning Bush: One day Moses took his flock of sheep and goats to a mountain called Sinai.  He saw a bush that was on fire, but it was not being burned by the flame. “This is strange,” he said to himself. “I’ll go over and see why that bush isn’t burning up.”


When Moses got near the bush, God called to him by his name, and Moses said “Here I am.”


God said, “Don’t come any closer. Take off your sandals because you are standing on holy ground. I am the God that your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob worshiped.”


Moses was afraid to look at God, so he hid his face.


God said, “I have seen how my people are suffering as slaves in Egypt, and I have heard them beg me to help them, and I have come to rescue them from the Egyptians. I will bring them out of Egypt into a country where there is good land, rich with milk and honey.


“Now go to the king! I am sending you to lead your people out of Egypt!”


Moses said, “Who am I to do that?”


God answered, “I will be with you.”


Moses said: “What should I say if the people ask me your name?”


God said, “Tell them that the Lord whose name is “I am” has sent you. This is my name forever.


“Tell them that I have seen how they are suffering and I promise to lead them out of their troubles. The leaders of Israel will listen to you, but when you take them to the pharaoh, he won’t let you go. So I will use my mighty power to perform miracles and defeat the Egyptians.


Then Moses asked, “What if nobody believes you appeared to me?”


God told Moses to throw down the walking stick he was carrying. Moses threw down the stick and it turned into a snake. Moses jumped back! But God said, “Pick it up by the tail.” When Moses did, the snake turned back into a walking stick.


Next, God told Moses, “Put your hand inside your shirt.” Moses did, and his hand turned white as if he had leprosy. God told Moses to put his hand back in his shirt, and Moses’ hand returned to normal.


Then God said, “If people see these miracles and still don’t believe that you have seen me, take some water from the Nile River and pour in on the ground, and it will turn to blood.”


Then Moses said, “But I’m not a good speaker. I’m slow and I can’t think what to say.”


God said, “Don’t you know that I am the one who makes people able to speak or not, or makes them deaf, or gives them sight or makes them blind? Now go! When you speak, I will be with you and give you the words to say.” 


But Moses still didn’t want to go. He begged God, “Please send someone else.”


So God said, “Take your brother Aaron with you. He’s a good speaker. He will speak to the people and you can tell him what to say, just as I will tell you what to say. I will be with both of you, and I will tell each of you what to do. Now take this walking stick and go!”



The children are already divided into four teams, named for the four colors on the buzzer box ­ Red, Orange, Green, Purple. Have either four (one from each team) or eight players (two from each team) gather around a table with the buzzer box in the middle (One of the round tables from the main room is good for this). Each player holds a buzzer (the buzzer wires are color-coded; players on the same team hold the same color wire).


Explain that you will call out a question and players who think they know the answer should press their buzzer. The first to buzz gets to give the answer. Announce that anybody who answers three questions will be retired as permanent champion (give them a big round of applause when this happens). Otherwise, there’s a high risk that one knowledgeable or fast-fingered child will dominate the game. Don’t let non-playing team members help the players; this in effect lets the fastest kid answer by proxy.


After several questions, switch to the next group of players. Make sure everybody gets to play.


Scoring: Ask a shepherd to keep score on the white board. Award 5 points for a correct answer. No points for a wrong answer; let anyone who knows the correct answer tell it. (You can use a different scoring system if you prefer, but keep it simple.)


Be sure they know the answer before buzzing. If they are buzzing and then taking too long to think of the answer, use the timer in the supply bin and give 5 seconds to answer after buzzing (this has not been a problem in the past).


You might have to adjust the game as you go along. If it turns out that eight players make the game chaotic, try letting just four play at a time.


Questions are at the end of the lesson plan. Multiple-choice answers are provided. Feel free to improve the questions or add some of your own. Early in the rotation, ask the questions in the order given to reinforce the sequence of events. Later in the rotation, they might know the story well enough to mix the questions up.


Grades 3-5: Let the players use their Bibles to find the answers if needed. They might be able to answer without the multiple choices.


Grades 1-2: First-graders have difficulty operating the buzzer system. They especially get confused about turning off the sound, so make sure you know how to turn it off. If you’d rather not tackle using buzzers with young children, you can just divide them into two teams and alternate asking questions of each team. Let children take turns answering. (Or you might have a better idea! Feel free to devise your own game for the little ones.)


Reflection Time:

Ask the shepherds to pass out the journals and pencils/markers. While this is happening, briefly discuss the scripture: Did Moses think he had the talents and skills that he needed to rescue the Israelites from slavery? (No ­ he didn’t know how to make people believe God had sent him, he didn’t know how to answer their questions, he was a slow speaker who fumbled for words.) Did it matter to God that Moses was not perfect for the job? (No—God promised to give Moses the ability to do the job.) Who gives us the abilities we need to do God’s work? (God.)


Three times in the story, God tells Moses “I will be with you.” Hundreds of years later, Jesus told his disciples the very same thing in our memory verse from the book of Matthew. Let’s say it together: "I will be with you always, even until the end of the world.” Those words are meant for us as well. God will be with us always, too. And when God calls us to do God’s work, God will give us the abilities we need to do it.


Tell the children to write at the top of the page, “Here I am.” Remind them that this is what Moses said when God first called to him.

Then ask them to list three things they are good at, and three things they are not good at. Remind them that all our abilities come from God. God takes us as we are, just as God took Moses. God will use the talents and skills we already have and will give us the other abilities we need to do God’s work.


If you like, you can also give the children an appropriate sticker or other memento to put in their journal.




Ask the students to close their journals and sit quietly for a prayer called a litany. Tell them you will begin a sentence and each time, they should finish the sentence with “you are with us.”


God, when we feel you want us to do something but we are afraid ...

You are with us.


When we feel you want us to do something but we don’t think we have the ability do it ...

You are with us.


When we feel you want us to do something but we just don’t want to do it ...

You are with us.


Help us, God, to do your work. Amen.


Tidy and Dismissal: Ask children to help collect the Bibles, journals and pencils.


Teacher preparation in advance:


1.      Read the scripture passages

2.      Make and post four signs designating Red, Orange, Green, Red teams in different areas of the room. Display the Scripture memory verse somewhere in the room (not on the white board ­ you’ll need that for scorekeeping).

3.      Have questions for the game ready. You can read them off the sheet or put them on index cards for easy mixing.

4.      Practice using the buzzer box and be sure you understand how it works.

Supply List

Extra Bibles

Dry-erase marker

Buzzer system

Signs designating team colors

Poster with memory verse

Questions for game

Sticker or other memento for journals (optional)

Game Questions


Who worked for the king of Egypt?





The king of Egypt was called:

Your highness


The Prince of Darkness


The Israelites were also called:





The pharaoh was afraid of the Hebrews because:

There were so many of them.

They had magical powers.

The women were strong, the men were good-looking, and all the children were above average.


To control the Hebrews, the pharaoh:

Put them all in jail.

Made them work as slaves.

Made them pay high taxes.


Moses was a Hebrew who:

Grew up as a slave.

Grew up hiding in the land of Midian.

Grew up in the pharaoh’s palace.


Moses ran away to Midian because:
He had killed an Egyptian.

He had killed a Hebrew slave.

He found out he was a Hebrew.


In Midian, Moses worked as

A farmer

A carpenter

A shepherd


What was the name of the mountain where Moses saw the burning bush?

Mount Sinai

Mount Ararat

Mount Olive


When Moses saw the burning bush, what was odd about it?

The flames of the fire were purple.

The bush was on fire, but it was not burning up.

The bush was on fire, but there was no smoke.


As Moses got near the bush, God told him:

“Come closer, you won’t get burned.”

“Come closer, I want to talk to you.”

“Don’t come any closer.”


God told Moses to take off his sandals because:

He was standing on holy ground.

They would get scorched by the fire.

They were dirty.


Moses was afraid to look at God, so he:

Closed his eyes.

Hid his face.

Turned around backwards.


God promised to lead the Israelites to a land with plenty of:

Fresh water

Bread and wine

Milk and honey


What did Moses learn was God’s name?

I am.

Holy One

Lord Almighty


What was Moses holding in his hand?

A jug of water

A walking stick

A piece of rope


What happened when Moses threw down his walking stick?

It turned into a river.

It caught on fire.

It turned into a snake.


What happened when Moses put his hand inside his shirt?

It turned white as if he had leprosy.

It turned red as if burned by the fire.

It turned black as if covered with soot.


What did God say would happen if Moses poured water from the Nile on the ground?

It would turn to seawater.

It would turn to blood.

It would kill the grass.


Whom did God finally send with Moses?

Abraham, Isaac and Jacob

The pharaoh’s daughter

His brother Aaron