2017-10-04 / Religion

God makes a covenant with Israel

Sunday School Lesson
Rev. James Temples

Exodus 19

The covenant that our Heavenly Father — the creator of the universe — made with the nation of Israel was based in the earlier covenant that had been made with Abram. Genesis 12:2, 3; 15:13- 16. The patriarch had been told that his descendants would “be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years.” Genesis 15:13. No details were given to the patriarch.

Since we have the advantage of history, we see this prophecy unfolding through the years. The promise made to Abram — later known as Abraham — was passed to his son, Isaac, then, to the grandson of Abraham, Jacob. Jacob — with his children — went into the land of Egypt. As time passed, this whole group of people became slaves to the Egyptian king.

Time continued to pass. The Record declares, “And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them.” Exodus 2:23-25.

Their divine plan of deliverance began with the call of the man, Moses, as he “kept the flock of Jethro his father in law…and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even Horeb.” Exodus 3:1. This divine call led to a series of events that resulted in the miraculous deliverance of the whole group of slaves. By some estimates, this group had grown to approximately two million.

The last of the plagues in Egypt touched every household — the death of the firstborn. “And he (Pharaoh) called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the Lord, as ye have said. Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also. And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead men.” Exodus 12:31-33.

When this group left Egypt, they were only loosely-held tribes. They knew their tribes, but had little or no organization. Under the leadership of Moses, they left Egypt. However, they were given supernatural guidance — “And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: He (God) took not away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.” Exodus 13:21, 22.

The first major obstacle in their journey was the Red Sea. The fire had led them to the shore, into what appeared to be an “impossible” situation. The Egyptians pursued the group, with the intention of “recovery.” A divine miracle opened to sea to allow the group to cross on dry ground. Exodus 14:22. The Egyptians attempted to follow the same path, and were drowned — “Thus the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians…” Exodus 14:30a.

Three months into their journey toward the Promised Land, “the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai.” Exodus 19:1. When Moses received his assignment, he had had a conversation with God. “And Moses said unto God, “Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.” Exodus 3:11, 12.

We are told that they “pitched in the wilderness; there Israel camped before the mount.” Exodus 19:2c. Moses met God, “And Moses went up unto God, and the Lord called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say unto the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagle’s wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.” Exodus 19:3-6. The response of the people was clear — “And all the people answered together, and said, All that the Lord hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the Lord.” Exodus 19:8.

Even though the people had heard the divine message through the faithful servant, God desired to speak directly to the people. Personal preparation was necessary before this event. “And the Lord said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes, And be ready against the third day: for the third day the Lord will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai.” Exodus 19:10, 11.

That third day was momentous for these people — “And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount.” Exodus 19:16, 17.

Through Jesus Christ, we can, now, “Come boldly unto the throne of grace…” Hebrews 4:16. We need to take advantage of our spiritual position.

This has come to us through Christ’s death on the cross!

Rev. James C. Temples’ Sunday School Lesson has appeared in the Early County News each week since 1967. A native of Early County, Rev. Temples taught in public schools 32 years and 10 years at Southeastern College of Assemblies of God, in Lakeland, Fla. He also served as pastor and evangelist during those years. He can be contacted at P. O. Box 1484, Swainsboro, GA 30401; 478- 299- 2068. Email: temples_ james@yahoo.com

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