After fleeing from Egypt, Moses leads the Israelites across the Red Sea and out into the wilderness. Their initial destination is Mt. Sinai, where God has commanded them to go in order to worship Him. From there, they are to journey to the Promised Land. Note how quickly the Israelites resort to grumbling and complaining to the Lord. He has just miraculously saved them from their bondage. He parted the Red Sea and allowed them to walk through on dry land. In the next two chapters, the people of Israel begin to question whether or not God is going to provide for them. This pattern repeats itself throughout the Old Testament: God acts on behalf of His people, they rejoice in His blessing momentarily, then turn from Him surprisingly quickly.
Once at Mount Sinai, the Israelite people receive God's Law, the standard by which His chosen people are to live in relation to Him and other people. The beginning of His Law is the 10 Commandments. As God's people, the Israelites were to live a particular way, in loving obedience to His commands. Because of our sinful condition, no person could ever hope to live in perfect conformity to God's holy Law. Instead, the Law illuminates our sin and need for a savior. At Mount Sinai, the Israelites also receive a plan for building the tabernacle, a moveable shelter that was to house the Ark of the Covenant, which contained the presence of the Lord. Wherever the Israelites travel, they are to take the Ark. When they stop, they are to set up the tabernacle and place the Ark inside. In this way, the presence of the Lord is to always be with the Israelite people.
FOR THIS WEEK'S SERMON ON EXODUS 20, LISTEN BELOW:
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Exodus 35:4-10, 20-29
Fellowship of Believers
God calls His people to gather together and worship Him. This is to take place in the tent of meeting, or what is known as the Tabernacle. In preparation for its construction, the people are to freely give the necessary materials and their skills of craftsmanship. The people's hearts are moved to obey and give many gifts, as well as their time and talents. Working together, the Tabernacle is built. These offerings are described as freewill offerings because they come freely, from the people's hearts. This is a beautiful example of the family ingredient that joins believers together, the Fellowship of Believers. Today God calls us to gather together to worship Him. He calls us to support one another. He asks us to freely give of our possessions, time, and skills. God can accomplish much through his people, the Church, working alongside one another.
- What was the purpose of the Tabernacle?
- Who was responsible to bring the needed materials and skills to do the work?
- Did God force the people to give?
- What word is used to describe the people's offerings in Exodus 35:29? What does "freewill" mean?
- Which describes you best -- a lone ranger or a part of the team? What is dangerous about being a lone ranger? What is important to remember when picking a group of friends or a church?
God made us social beings that need relationship. First we need a relationship with Him as Savior and Lord. Additionally, God tells us that we need Christian friendships.
Live It Out Activity #1: Working together, choose a family you want to get to know better and invite them over for supper or dessert. Plan out your meal/dessert and prepare it together.
Live It Out Activity #2: Fellowship with other believers is sweet. Discuss Hebrews 10:24-25. One of the reasons we go to church is not for ourselves, but for others, to "spur one another on toward love and good deeds." What does this mean? Share a sweet treat and discuss: What are some things that make it challenging for our family to get to church on Sunday? Brainstorm how to overcome these challenges. Pray that God will help you to get to church/children’s classes and dive more deeply into relationships with other believers.
SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION
- Is there a command to obey? Is there a sin to avoid?
- God was preparing His people for a special covenant with Him. God told the Israelites, "If you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." (Ex. 19:5-6) God then provided the law to Moses, designed to help the Israelites keep their covenant with Him. How would you respond if God offered you a covenant that would make you a treasured possession?
- How does Jesus make this offer a reality for all of us?
- What do these laws show us about God's character? What do they show us about His desire for us?