Sunday, October 17, 2010

Entering The Promised Land - The Partial Kingdom

In the repurposed utility room at the back of the house, past the hanging brooms and cleaning equipment and empty planters, there is a pastor preparing his Sunday sermon. In the living room, someone is working on church accounts and someone else has laid out bedsheets over some old sofa cushions and fallen asleep. The children are watching a group of Sunday school teachers prepare the craft while making up songs about the Ten Commandments. A 2 minute walk away, music practice is going on in a shophouse lot in Bandar Sunway that CERC is rapidly outgrowing.

It seems that God is working as he worked in those wonderful times of old, calling people to himself.

How did the Israelites end up in Egypt?
- Jacob and family needed to escape the famine in Canaan (Genesis 45-46)
- God's will: wanted to preserve a remnant through Joseph (Genesis 45:7), instructed Jacob to go and promised that that would be where he would fulfil the people promise to Abraham ("great nation").

Was this a good or bad thing?"
Good - preserved the Israelites through the severe famine, Israelites could be fruitful and multiply (Exodus 1:7)

Bad - because there were too many people and because this was not their land, the Pharaoh felt threatened and oppressed them and also carried out an official infanticide progom (Exodus 1:8-22)

How did this threaten the people promise?

What did Moses attempt to do for his people? How successful was this?
Exodus 2:11-15

How different was this from what God wanted to do for his people?
Exodus 2:23-25ff

What do we know about God so far from our study of Genesis?

How does God identify himself? How does God's name encapsulate what we know about God so far?
Exodus 3:6 - I am the God of your fathers
Exodus 3:14 - I AM WHO I AM
a God who will be known by his actions

...but not only that but we will come to know God by paying close attention to what he does in the future.

What does God promise to do?
Exodus 3:7-10 - I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.

Exodus 3:17-20 - I promise that I will bring you out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, a land flowing with milk and honey.

I will stretch out my hand and strike Egypt with all the wonders that I will do in it

I will give this people favour in the sight of the Egyptians

Exodus 4:11-12 - I will be with your mouth and teach you shall speak

Did Moses believe him?
Exodus 3:13
Exodus 4:1
Exodus 4:10
Exodus 4:13

What sign did God give Moses that the promises would be fulfilled?
The confirmation comes after obedience.

Did Pharaoh believe God?
Exodus 5:2

Why not?
Exodus 7:13 - Pharaoh's heart was hardened
Exodus 7:14 - Pharaoh's heart was hardened
Exodus 8:15 - he hardened his heart
Exodus 8:19 - Pharaoh's heart was hardened
Exodus 8:32 - Pharaoh hardened his heart
Exodus 9:7 - heart was hardened
Exodus 9:12 - LORD hardened heart of Pharaoh
Exodus 9:35 - heart was hardened

What was the point of the ten plagues?
Exodus 6:1-8
Exodus 7:16-18
Exodus 10:1-2

What do Israelites need to do to be saved?
have faith in God's word in Moses that the firstborn of all would indeed be killed and demonstrate their trust by doing what God instructed would save them from the tenth plague

Why are they also affected by the killing of the firstborn?
They were as sinful as the Egyptians because they too rejected God as God. This taught them that a sacrifice was needed to pay for their sins.

What does the institution of the memorial of an event before that event actually occurs demonstrate about God? (Exodus 12:14-27)

Why does God allow the Egyptians to pursue the Israelites?
Exodus 14:17-18 - "And I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they shall go in after them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, his chariots, and his horsemen. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen."

Exodus 14:30-31 - "Thus the LORD saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. Israel saw the great power that the LORD used against the Egyptians, so the people feared the LORD, and they believed in the LORD and in his servant Moses."

Where did God bring the people after their rescue from Egypt? Why the pitstop?
- it was the sign that he was trustworthy (cf Exodus 3:12)
- escape was not the main aim, relationship with God (= blessing) was
- the law did not give them a way of being right with God but taught them how to live in relationship with the God who had saved them for this purpose (God's rule promise)

How were the people right in their response?
Exodus 20:18-20 - "Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off and said to Moses,"You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die." Moses said to the people, "Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin."

Exodus 24:3 - "Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD and all the rules. And all the people answered with one voice and said,"All the words that the LORD has spoken we will do.""

What was the point of all the instructions on interior decoration and blood splattering?
- seeming fulfilment of the God's rule promise (Exodus 29:42-46). Great comfort and assurance to have God himself with the people!
- implies that despite prior positive response, people will still continue to sin and have to make atonement for sin

How soon do the people demonstrate their need for atonement by blood?
Exodus 32. They are really no better than the Pharaoh, and much whinier.

What surprising thing does God do?
Exodus 34

What was the role of the tabernacle?
God's presence with the people

What was the role of purification rites?
Demonstrate that God was holy and need to be clean to meet God (Exodus 40).

Why was Leviticus so important (and not a boring old book to be skipped on the way to Numbers)?
Detailed instructions how to live under God (relationship rules) and to make things right with God when they inevitably sinned. Atonement, holiness.
Blessing for obedience, terrible curses for disobedience (Leviticus 26).

How is God upping the stakes in being able to fulfil his promises?
Israelites' short track record not terribly good.

How long were the Israelites at Mount Sinai before they set off?
Numbers 10:11

How long did it take for them to distrust God again?
Numbers 11:1-9
Numbers 12

What effect did this have on being able to receive the land that was promised to them?
Numbers 13:1 - so close!

How do the people, even at this juncture, manage to shut themselves out from the land?
Numbers 14:1ff

How else could God have fulfilled his promises?
Numbers 14:11ff

Why does God make the concession he makes in Numbers 14:20-25?

What demonstrates that the people haven't truly repented?
Numbers 14:39-45 Did not trust God's word!

How was even the method by which the people could make atonement for their sin jeopardised?
Numbers 16

What hope was there in all the law-giving that the younger generation would inherit the land as promised?
Numbers 33:50-35

In Deuteronomy, Israel is again on the brink of entering the promised land after wandering in the desert for 40 years. How does Moses warn the people?
Deuteronomy 7:6
Deuteronomy 10:12-13
Deuteronomy 28:15
Deuteronomy 28:63-64

Was the promise of land fulfilled?
Joshua 21:43-45

What the repeated warning? Why is it given?
Joshua 23:12-13

What have we learnt about God through his actions since that is how we are to know him?

What have we learnt about man?

Having this in mind, what is the outlook for the Israelite's continued enjoyment of the land and God's blessings?



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