The Law: God’s commandments at Mount Sinai

The Law:  God’s commandments at Mount Sinai (Exodus 19-40)

The Hebrew people now begin to take on a national identity as Israel. From the Red Sea, the Israelites travel South to the bottom of the Sinai Peninsula and camp at Mount Sinai. They receive God’s commandments at Mount Sinai. Moses meets with God alone at the top of Mount Sinai, where he receives the Ten Commandments written in tablets of stone by the finger of God. Moses also receives a full revelation of the Law that is to govern Israel’s national life as well as her relationship to God. God promises to bless her abundantly for obedience and curse her soundly for disobedience.

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Taken from 30 Days to Understand the Bible by Max Anders.

The Exodus: Bigger than we thought!

The Exodus was the mass movement of the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt back to the Promised Land in Canaan.  It was not an easy movement.  The Pharaoh of Egypt did not want them to go, and he threatened them with military retaliation.  The miracles God performed during this time are among the most spectacular recorded in the Bible – the Nile River turned to blood, shepherds’ rods turned to snakes, the firstborn of every Egyptian household dies, and the Red Sea parted to allow the Israelites to cross over on dry land, escaping the Egyptian army.

Films have sometimes portrayed this event as a little band of nomads roaming around the desert, camping under palm trees and singing Hebrew folk songs around a small campfire.  This picture could hardly be further from the truth.  The book of Numbers tells us that when the Israelites left Egypt, there were six hundred thousand fighting men.  It is reasonable to assume that if there were six hundred thousand fighting men, there were also six hundred thousand fighting women.  That’s 1,200,000.  Each of those families may have had at least two children.  That’s another 1,200,000.  In  addition there the men who were too old to fight and their wives.  There was the priestly tribe, the Levites, who didn’t fight, and their wives and children.  There were, conservatively speaking, between two and a half to three million people who left during this ‘exodus’.

This was not a little tribe of nomads roaming about the desert.  This was a nation on the move.

Look at Britain on a map and imagine two to three times the population of Birmingham beginning to move across the map, and you’ll get an idea of the magnitude of the Exodus.

When you add all the animals they took with them for food and milk, as well as for sacrifices, this qualified as a horde!  Instead of looking for a flat spot under a palm tree to camp, they had to look for a valley ten miles square.  When they lined up to cross the Red Sea, it was more than a little aisle that was required.  If they crossed the Red Sea one hundred abreast, counting the animals, the column would have stretched perhaps as far as fifty miles back into the desert.

Personal beliefs aside, this ranks as one of the greatest historical events of the ancient world, and this was an event over which Moses presided.

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Taken from 30 Days to Understand the Bible by Max Anders.

Instant Gratification: The Disease Of Now

The age of the smartphone allows instant connection and 24-hour availability. Jamie Cutteridge explores its impact in Premier Christianity magazine.

There’s a lot of waiting in the Bible. Noah had to wait for the rain to stop. David didn’t become king overnight. The Israelites waited 40 years to move into the Promised Land. They waited even longer for the Messiah to turn up.

There’s not a lot of waiting in 21st century Britain. Emails come straight to our phones at all hours of the day, and we impatiently wait for people to reply to the ones we have sent. When we can’t get hold of someone, we assume something is wrong. Pub arguments about which country came third in the Mexico ’86 World Cup, which would previously take days to settle, are now solved by a couple of app taps (it was France, by the way). We can order food, taxis and people to come over or find out how to put up a shelf just by putting a hand in a pocket. We prioritise swiftness over superiority, quickness over quality and speed over service.

We are never really ‘out of the office’ because we can read our emails whenever they arrive.

All of which seems a little… sad. Continue reading “Instant Gratification: The Disease Of Now”

No Longer Slaves

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The second verse of the song No Longer Slaves.

From my mother’s womb
You have chosen me
Love has called my name
I’ve been born again
Into Your family
Your blood flows through my veins

Magnify the right things

A magnifying glass doesn’t actually change the size of something, it changes your perspective so that it appears larger to you.  Interestingly, our minds work a lot like a magnifying glass. The more you think about something, the larger you perceive it to be.

Here’s an interesting post by Victoria Osteen:

For centuries, long before the invention of spectacles, people used magnifying glasses to read small print or help them to see better. Continue reading “Magnify the right things”

Deliverance: Freedom from slavery in Egypt

Deliverance:  Freedom from slavery in Egypt (Exodus 1-18)

The Hebrews had languished under slavery in Egypt for four hundred years when they cry out to God for deliverance. God raised up Moses as His spokesman to Pharaoh, the ruler of Egypt, asking for spiritual freedom for the Hebrew people. Pharaoh refused, and a series of ten plagues was levied on Egypt to prompt Pharaoh to let the people go. The plagues started off bad and they got worse – from frogs, to gnats, to water turned to blood, to the death of the firstborn in every household of Egypt. Finally, Pharaoh consented to let the Hebrews leave Egypt. After they had gone, he changed his mind and attempted to recapture them. They got as far as the Red Sea when God parted the Red Sea and the Hebrew people crossed over to the other side. The waters came together again, protecting them from the Egyptian army, and freeing them from slavery in Egypt. God, of course, had only one destination for them: the Promised Land of Canaan…the land ‘flowing with milk and honey.’ The land that their father Abraham had first settled is again to be their home.

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Taken from 30 Days to Understand the Bible by Max Anders.

Water from the Rock

Tomorrow at Explore we will be looking at Exodus 17:1-7, when water came from the rock.

Finding water in the desert is a matter of life and death.  Without water, living things cannot survive very long, so it’s not surprising that water is often used in the Bible as a picture of God’s generous love for us.

The songs we’re planning for tomorrow are 10,000 Reasons and God My Rock.  Lynn is leading us.  See you there!