More than Knowledge: Why Study Exodus With Teenagers
We are excited to announce the release of new curriculum on Rooted Reservoir this summer. In addition to the curriculum already available, now you will find six new offerings: Genesis, Exodus, James, 1 Peter, 123 John, and Jude. Whether you’re a parent who wants to study the Bible with your family, or a youth minister looking for curriculum for your small groups, large groups, or Sunday school teaching, we’ve built this flexible curriculum to help you disciple the teenagers in your life.
My grandfather was never much for words. In fact, at his funeral, one of the most recited monikers given in remembrance of him was the “strong-silent type.” It was a perfect depiction of him. Whenever I picture my grandfather, I see him comfortably seated on his favorite recliner, as the chaos of grandchildren swirls around him; never participating, only observing. Yet, when he did chose to address the room, he commanded it. His words were few, but they were powerful.
It wasn’t until we learned of my grandfather’s illness that I realized just how little I actually knew about him. Sure, I knew the important things such as his career, his marriage, his children. However, there was so much more I had never heard about, such as his childhood, his parents, his own journey.
So, for the final year of my grandfather’s life, I made it my mission to learn as much as I could about him — and I am forever changed because I did. You see, not only did my grandfather tell me stories of his past, but he told me stories of mine. Every humorous anecdote, every tear-jerking tale, helped me understand who my grandfather was. Things I once simply knew to be true of my grandfather became things I now understood about him, such as what made him silent, yet strong. What I did not expect was that, as I gained a deeper understanding of my grandfather, I also gained a deeper understanding of my father and, in turn, of myself. Because we are family, my grandfather’s story is my story; his history is my history.
The same is true of the family of God. The history of God’s people is our history; the story of God’s people is our story. Every moment, every instance, has shaped us and formed us into the people, or church, we are today.
This is why our students need to study the book of Exodus. It is like inviting them to sit down with their grandfather as he tells them about his life. What better way to give our students a right understanding of themselves, than to give them a right understanding of their family history? All the books of Moses — Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy — give them exactly that, their family story. In fact, these five books comprise the stories that the people of Israel would recount from one generation to the next in order to pass down their history. That history still impacts us today.
As the second book in this five-book series, Exodus specifically tells the story of God’s deliverance of Israel from slavery, fulfillment of God’s covenant to Abraham, and institution of God’s law. While it can be tempting to pass by much of Exodus, as it spends a great deal of time outlining the law and construction of the tabernacle, I would argue that those parts are exactly what our students need to learn of their family history. They are all a part of the little stories which have shaped our family in bigger ways than we often know.
More than knowledge; Understanding
A.W. Tozer once said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”
A conversation I often have with my students’ parents is centered around this idea of the knowledge of God. We all long that our students would know who God is, yet often times all we do is teach our students what they should think about God, instead of helping them learn how to think about God. And the difference matters.
Just like with my grandfather, there was a lot I knew about him – he was strong, silent, intelligent, and caring. Yet, it wasn’t until I learned about his childhood that I finally understood why he was all those things. When I only ever knew what to think about my grandfather, I would be left feeling shaken whenever circumstances changed and what I knew didn’t seem to align with how he was acting.
Our students need more than just a knowledge of God, they need to be lead into an understanding of God — of his story, of his history, and of his promises. Not only so they need to know that God is faithful, they need to understand how his faithfulness has been true even when his people were enslaved. Not only do they need to know that God is provider, but they need to understand how he provides, even when his people are in a desert place with nothing around them. Not only do they need to know that God is the author of salvation, they need to understand how he has written his salvation into every corner of human history, even when his people where hopelessly wandering in the wilderness.
Our students not only need to know that Christ is our savior, they need to understand how God paved the way for Christ’s final and perfect sacrifice from the beginning. Our students need to hear the stories of their forefathers, so they might not only know Christ, but come to understand the divine nature of Christ’s work as the perfect fulfillment of the law and prophets.