The Jews in Egypt could hardly believe it. After years and years of terrible slavery they were really going to be free. God had answered their prayers and sent plagues to convince the wicked Pharaoh to let the people go. Now the Egyptians had a strange custom: they worshiped sheep. And even though it was silly, no one dared to do anything to offend a "holy" sheep. To actually eat one was unthinkable. So when God told Moses to tell the Jewish people to all take sheep and publicly roast and eat them to celebrate their going out of Egypt, the people were afraid."But what will the Egyptians think?" they asked. "Don't worry," said Moses, "God wants to show the Egyptians once and for all that their 'sheep-gods' have no power at all and that it's foolish to worship an animal instead of the Creator."
The Egyptians believed in sheep even though they didn't really have any power. In this story a girl learns to begin putting her trust in the right place.
WITHOUT A CRUTCH
"I just can't go out without my crutches!" cried Ruthie.
Eight weeks ago, Ruthie broke her leg in a skiing accident and now she was afraid to start walking on her own.
"But Ruthie," said her father. "If you don't start walking without your crutches you won't get better. Even Dr. Billings said you don't need them anymore."
"But Dad, I'm afraid," said Ruthie. "I've been walking with these crutches for the last two months. I feel like they're the only thing holding me up. If I stop using them I might fall again, and it'll really hurt."
"Listen Ruthie," said her Dad, "I won't tell you what to do, but as long as you put your trust in your crutches you won't get anywhere. You can learn to trust in something real -- to believe in yourself and the good strong body that God gave you. Do you really think that your crutches have the power to hold you up?"
Ruthie thought about it. "Dad I know you're right," she said, "But I'm scared. Can you help me stop using my crutches?"
"I have an idea," said her dad. "I know how much you love it when we make a fire in the fireplace, right?"
"Sure Dad," said Ruthie.
"How about today we make a very special fire?" He smiled as he picked up the wooden crutches.
Ruthie and her dad watched the crutches burn in the fireplace. Ruthie slowly got up and took a few steps and smiled, as she felt her fear go up in smoke as well.
Q. How did Ruthie feel when her dad first asked her to walk without crutches?
A. She was scared to give them up.
Q. How did she feel after she discovered she could walk without them?
A. She felt great, because she didn't have to depend on them anymore.
Q. Why do you think Ruthie didn't want to give up her crutches even though she knew she didn't really need them anymore?
A. She was afraid she would fall, and it was easier to go on pretending that she needed them.
Q. Like Ruthie and her crutches, and the Egyptians and their sheep, people can become dependent on things that don't really help them. Can you give a few examples?
Age 10 and Up
Q. What do you think makes something, or someone, worthy of our trust?
Q. When Ruthie saw her crutches burning, and the Egyptians saw the same thing happening to their "sheep-gods," it forced them to face reality. Was this good? Why or why not?