God’s Promise at Mount Sinai (February 10)

Exodus 24:1-11

Comment

“Moses: The Lord’s Prophet
Moses was Israel’s greatest spiritual leader. Though raised as an Egyptian prince, he never forgot his Hebrew origins. With the Lord’s guidance he led his people out of Egyptian bondage into the wilderness of Sinai. There he forged a zealous nation out of a band of rebel slaves and founded a religion that has flourished for over 3,000 years since his death on the border of the Promised Land” (Great People of the Bible and How They Lived, New York: Reader’s Digest Association, 1974, p. 70. Check out this book with a chapter about Moses and filled with many interesting pictures and illustrations including pictures from a possible site of Mount Sinai, the Sinai desert, and other scenes from the area, a map of the route Moses and the Israelites traveled from Egypt to Canaan, and an illustration of the portable sanctuary/tabernacle, pp. 70-91).

Reading the Scripture

Here is a way you might read the scripture or tell the story:

•    Audio:
o    The Bible Experience: The Complete Bible (“presented by a stellar ensemble of today’s top-name actors, musicians, clergy, directors, and award-winning producers.” Available from Keith).

Teaching Suggestions

•    Show maps: Mount Sinai and territory of wilderness wandering with Moses
o    Bible Map Guide (Common English Bible, 2011), Map 4
o    A Visual Guide to Bible Events (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2009) pp. 40-41.
o    “The Exodus,” Atlas of Bible Lands (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1977), B-10
o    Nelson’s Complete Book of Bible Maps and Charts (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1996) pp. 28-29.

•    Moses: Frederick Buechner’s story about Moses, in Peculiar Treasures: A Biblical Who’s Who (New York: Harper and Row, 1979, pp. 110-112), is available in my office. The story begins:
    “Whenever Hollywood cranks out a movie about him, they always give the part to somebody like Charlton Heston with some fake whiskers glued on. The truth of it is he probably looked a lot more like Tevye the milkman after ten rounds with Mohammed Ali. . . .”

•    Sapphire (verse 10): A picture of sapphire is posted on the webpage.

•    “Come up to the Lord…and worship at a distance…Moses alone shall come near to the Lord…then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up, they saw the God of Israel” (24:1-2, 9-10). Here we see God as approachable and distant. Look at the order of worship in our bulletin: What elements of worship signify that God is approachable? What elements of worship signify that God is worthy of reverence? How is each important?

•    This Sunday, February 10, is Gideon Sunday. We will hear a Gideon testimony in worship. This Bible study focuses the Hebrew people’s commitment to obedience to God’s word. The mission of the Gideons is to distribute God’s word:
“Distributing Bibles and New Testaments Around the World
Having God's Word can and does lead people to faith in Christ, and those new Christians then grow by studying their Scriptures and even use them to share their faith with others. For this reason, we focus on distributing complete Bibles or New Testaments. These copies of God's Word are printed in more than 90 languages and are either given directly to certain individuals or placed in selected public locations where large numbers of people, who may be searching for answers, will have the ability to encounter the Word of God” (http://www.gideons.org/AboutUs/UniqueFocus.aspx).

•    A video clip about Moses on Mount Sinai and God’s covenant with the people of Israel is posted on the webpage. We cannot be sure of the actual location of the biblical Mount Sinai, but this video shows footage of mountains in the area believed to be in the general vicinity. A Franciscan monk describes the significance of the covenant and the mountainous desert location in which the covenant was made.

•    Closing Response. Close with this reading based on the oral, written, and living word of God in Exodus 24 (see Formations Study Guide, “Where do we find the content of our obligation to God?”, p. 41). Remind class members of the three ways God spoke and the Hebrew people responded and invite them to respond to each line of the reading with, “All the words that God has spoken we will do”:

Teacher:     God has spoken to our ancestors and to us today
Class:         All the words that God has spoken we will do.
Teacher:    God led the biblical authors to put those words in writing
Class:         All the words that God has spoken we will do.
Teacher:    The living God speaks to our heart today through the Holy Spirit.
Class:        All the words that God has spoken we will do.
Teacher:    Amen

Resources

I have set aside a shelf in the library with resources for Sunday School teachers. I will place there resources of general interest and some specifically applicable to current lessons. Other resources are kept in my office.

•    Maps and Atlases
o    Bible Map Guide (Common English Bible, 2011), Map 4
o    A Visual Guide to Bible Events (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2009) pp. 40-41.
o    “The Exodus,” Atlas of Bible Lands (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1977), B-10
o    Nelson’s Complete Book of Bible Maps and Charts (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1996) pp. 28-29.

•    Great People of the Bible and How They Lived, New York: Reader’s Digest Association, 1974, p. 70. Check out this book with a chapter about Moses and filled with many interesting pictures and illustrations including pictures from a possible site of Mount Sinai, the Sinai desert, and other scenes from the area, a map of the route Moses and the Israelites traveled from Egypt to Canaan, and an illustration of the portable sanctuary/tabernacle, pp. 70-91.

•    Frederick Buechner’s, Peculiar Treasures: A Biblical Who’s Who (New York: Harper and Row, 1979).

•    For additional commentary on the text see these commentaries in our library:
o    Mercer Commentary on the Bible (Mercer University Press, 1995)
o    Harper’s Bible Commentary (Harper & Row, 1988)