Exodus chapters 1-18 tell the story of ancient Israel being rescued by God from slavery in Egypt. This week we watched a video explaining the story of chapter 19 and how it links the first half of Exodus to the second half, chapters 20-40, where Moses gives Israel the Ten Commandments, as well as instructions for building a sacred tent for God.
You can watch the video for Exodus Part 2 here!
Session Overview: Exodus Part 2
After 400 years of slavery in Egypt, the Israelites are finally free and headed towards their new future as God’s people. At the foot of Mount Sinai they experience his presence in a way that is both awe-inspiring and terrifying. God appears in the form of a huge storm. It is the first time that his presence is as close as it was to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He is inviting Israel into a close relationship, and he makes a covenant with them, asking them to obey his commandments and represent him to the rest of the world. If they obey, the nations of the world will be blessed by God.
The Israelites agree to obey God’s commandments, but they are too afraid to go up and meet with God at the top of the mountain. So Moses goes up on behalf of the people, and he returns with instructions from God on how to build the tabernacle, a sacred tent where God’s presence will dwell among his people.
When Moses returns from the mountain with all of these commands, he finds the Israelites worshipping a golden calf and partying. Just as God decides he should destroy his people and start over, Moses intervenes through prayer, reminding God of the promises he made to his people. So we see a picture of God’s grief and anger towards sin, but also his mercy in turning from destroying his people even though they deserve it. God chooses to be faithful even though it requires a sacrifice on his part.
The book of Exodus ends with Moses attempting to go into the tent and be in God’s presence, but he is denied access due to the serious nature of Israel’s sin in worshipping the golden calf. The next book, Leviticus, will explore how God’s people will be able to enter into his presence. Join us next week as we watch this next video in the Torah Series!
- Read the 10 Commandments in Exodus 20:1-17
- Skim through the commands of the covenant in Exodus 20-23 and notice how much focus is dedicated to issues surrounding justice in family, business, and community relationships. What character traits of God are reflected in these laws? **Note: some laws assume an ancient cultural context and may seem bizarre to you, but they made perfect sense at that time.
- In the Golden Calf story (Exodus 32) what are the key factors that lead the people into idolatry? In Moses’ intercessory prayer, what reasons does he offer as to why God should not abandon the covenant? How does the rest of the story present a balance between God’s mercy and his justice?
- In Exodus 34:6-7 God presents to Moses a description of his character that is the most re-quoted line in the rest of the Old Testament (see it repeated in Psalms 103:8; 145:8; Jeremiah 32:18-19; Nehemiah 9:17; Daniel 9:4). How are these character traits demonstrated in God’s actions in the Exodus, Mount Sinai, and golden calf stories?
- What similarities are there between the Garden of Eden and Mount Sinai stories?