Rev. Ronald C. Purkey claims no originality for this Bible study outline.
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COVENANT WITH ISRAEL
October 8, 2017
SCRIPTURE: Exodus 19:16-25
KEY VERSE: 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 19:17)
· The children of Israel have arrived at Mount Sinai, the place where the Law is going to be given.
God is going to deal graciously with His people. He is going to give them the opportunity of deciding whether they want to go on with God leading them -- the way He has for the period of time since they left Egypt until they arrived at the mount -- or whether they would rather accept and receive the Law.
· When the children of Israel have arrived at Mount Sinai, they decided to accept the Law. In fact, what the children of Israel did is exchange “grace” for “Law”.
INSIGHT: Here is what the Psalmist had to say about the Israel and the Law of God.
30 If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments;
31 If they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments;
32 Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes.
33 Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail.
34 My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.
35 Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David.
36 His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me.
37 It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven. Selah.
INTRODUCTION: Moses had returned to the Lord on the mountain and reported the people’s promise to obey His commandments. The fact that God spoke with Moses personally should have given the people confidence in their leader, but subsequent events proved differently. What a privilege it was for Israel to have a leader such as Moses, and what a tragedy that they repeatedly made life difficult for him!
The emphasis in this chapter is on the sanctity of the nation of Israel as the holy people of God, and three images stand out: (1) the changing of their clothes (Exodus 19:10-11, 14-15), (2) the distance set between the people and God (Exodus 19:12-13, 20-25), and (3) the storm on Mt. Sinai (Exodus 19:9, 16-20).
I. AN OMINOUS SCENE. (Exodus 19:16-19)
INSIGHT: An “ominous” [threatening, warning, and worrying] scene. (Exodus 19:16-19)
A. God Was Teaching About Life And Death.
(Exodus 19:16-17) 16 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. 17 And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. 18 And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord
Staying away from Mt. Sinai was a matter of life or death, for the presence of God sanctified the mountain. So Moses put up barriers to keep the people at a distance. He also posted guards with authority to kill from a distance anybody who broke through the barriers, and nobody was to touch the dead body.
When the trumpet sounded, then Moses ascended the mountain to meet God, but even then, God sent him back to warn the people not to get too close to Mt. Sinai.
B. God Was Teaching His Chosen People.
(Exodus 19:18-19) 18 And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. 19 And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice.
In a dramatic way, God was teaching the people the distance between a holy God and sinful men and women, as well as the danger of presumptuously rushing into the presence of the Lord. Later, Nadab and Abihu would forget this principle, and God would kill them (Leviticus 10).
The structure of Old Testament worship emphasized man’s sinfulness and God’s “otherness”: the fence around the tabernacle; the veil before the holy of holies; the fact that only the priests could minister in the tabernacle and only the high priest could enter the holy of holies, and that but once a year. The emphasis was always “Keep Your Distance!” God expected the people of God to obey Him!
By Billy Graham
“…be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only…” – James 1:22
Jesus indicated that there will be a permissive society just before He comes back. “As in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the coming of the Son of man.” The world today is on an immoral binge such as has not been known since the days of Rome.
We are now in a self-indulgent society, and what we are seeing is human nature expressing itself without God. Many have fallen into [a life] in which they believe intellectually, and then go out and live like the devil, imagining that God will forgive them and take them to heaven.
I believe there is obedience to the Gospel, there is a self-denial and a bearing of the cross, if you are to be a follower of Jesus Christ. Being a Christian is a very serious business.
me to deny my selfish desires
and obey your commandments, Lord Jesus.
Cleanse me so that I might be used to penetrate society deeply for you.
-- From: Day-By-Day with Billy Graham, Compiled and edited by Joan Winmill Brown
II. GOD’S INSTRUCTIONS TO MOSES. (Exodus 19:20-25)
INSIGHT: Please take in the whole scene. In Scripture, a storm is often a symbol of the awesome presence and power of God (see Exodus 19:9, 16-19).
The cloud and darkness, the thunder and lightning, and the earthquake and fire, all manifested the greatness of God and produced a holy fear in the hearts of the people. Even Moses trembled with fear and admitted it! (See Hebrews 12:21; Deuteronomy 9:19).
God was about to teach His people His Law, and “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7). The Jews had also seen the plagues in Egypt, and this mighty demonstration of God’s power should have also prepared their hearts to obey Him.
A. God Said Don’t Let The People Look Upon Me.
(Exodus 19:20-21) 20 And the Lord came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the Lord called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up. 21 And the Lord said unto Moses, Go down, charge the people, lest they break through unto the Lord to gaze, and many of them perish.
Some of the Israelites think they might see something spectacular, but they will not see anything. They will only hear a voice and it is still true to this day that “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:18).
B. God Said Don’t Let The People On The Mountain.
(Exodus 19:22-23) 22 And let the priests also, which come near to the Lord, sanctify themselves, lest the Lord break forth upon them. 23 And Moses said unto the Lord, The people cannot come up to mount Sinai: for thou chargedst us, saying, Set bounds about the mount, and sanctify it.
Israel’s pledge to keep the Law was a mistake they never would have made had they known more about themselves and how weak they were. There is a great contrast between that dispensation of Law and our dispensation of grace.
C. God Said Don’t Let The Priests On The Mountain.
(Exodus 19:24-25) 24 And the Lord said unto him, Away, get thee down, and thou shalt come up, thou, and Aaron with thee: but let not the priests and the people break through to come up unto the Lord, lest he break forth upon them. 25 So Moses went down unto the people, and spake unto them.
The instructions about boundaries given in preparation are repeated here. After refusing to come up the mountain, God now gave the people of Israel a powerful warning that they were no longer to even to attempt to come to the top of the mountain.
INSIGHT: This was the consequence of becoming a nation with priests. Therefore, God commanded “that they do not break through... to gaze” (Exodus 19:21) or “to come up to the Lord” (Exodus 19:24).
The people of Israel now needed to keep their place if they wanted to keep their lives. To clarify that God's expectation of the people had changed, the Lord gave this new command in verse 24. Then, Moses “went down... and told them” (Exodus 19:25).
This once again indicated that the God with whom they had to do was not One to be taken lightly or approach flippantly. To enjoy their relationship with God required that the Jewish people know, respect, and observe the Lord’s place and their place.
OUR ACCESS TO GOD
By Joe Stowell
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)
· Technology is a blessing in so many ways.
Need a bit of information about a health problem? All you have to do is access the Internet where you instantaneously get a list of options to guide your search. Need to contact a friend? Just send a text, email, or Facebook post.
· But technology can also be frustrating at times.
The other day I needed to access some information in my bank account and was asked a list of security questions. Unable to recall the exact answers, I was blocked from my own account. Or think of the times when an important conversation is cut off because of a dead cellphone battery, with no way to reconnect until you find a plug to recharge it.
· All of this makes me delighted with the reality that when I need to access God in prayer, there are no security questions and no batteries required.
I love the assurance that John gives when he says, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us” (1 John 5:14).
· God is always accessible, for He never slumbers nor sleeps! (See Psalm 121:4).
And thanks to His love for us, He is waiting and ready to listen.
Lord, thank You for desiring communication with me and
for the reassurance that You are indeed listening and
ready to help in time of need. Teach us to come to You
with confidence in Your attentive love for us.
-- Adapted from Joe Stowell, “Access To God,” Our Daily Bread, April 29, 2015
CONCLUSION: What have we learned from Exodus 19:16-25?
A. We Learned The People’s Choice.
The nation of Israel was taught an important lesson by the God of the Bible. The people chose to place themselves under the law of God rather than under the grace of God. The nation of Israel (God’s chosen people) found that the law was a hard taskmaster.
B. We Learned The People’s Sinfulness.
The combination of washing themselves and changing their clothes, witnessing the storm, and keeping their distance from Sinai, couldn’t help but impress the people of their own sinfulness and the Lord’s majestic holiness.
C. We Learned The People’s Calling.
The people of Israel were called to be a sanctified people, unlike the nations around them. Only as they obeyed God could they truly enjoy the privileges of being a kingdom of priests, God’s special treasure and His holy nation.
D. We Learned The People’s Responsibility.
God demanded obedience. “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams” (1 Samuel 15:22b). God expects all people to obey Him, especially God’s people.
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “God is always accessible in our time of need!”
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REFERENCES: References used in these Bible studies are the King James Bible (KJV), The Moody Bible Commentary, Dr. J. Vernon McGee © Thru the Bible Radio Network ( www.ttb.org ), the Scofield Study Bible, the Believer’s Bible Commentary, Dr. Charles J. Woodbridge Bible Outlines, Dr. Lee Roberson’s Sermons, Dr. Charles Stanley: ( http://www.intouch.org/ ), Don Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Women’s Study Bible, The Bible Reader’s Companion Ed. 3, The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version, KJV Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the New Testament ed. 4, Dr. David Jeremiah: ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/ ), Dr. Cliff Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the Old Testament, Dr. Alan Carr’s The Sermon Notebook ( www.sermonnotebook.org ), With the Word Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s “Be” Series: Old & New Testaments, RBC Ministries ( http://rbc.org/ ), selected illustrations, and other references.
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E-mail: Ronald Purkey