Adult Sunday School Lesson for October 15, 2017
To embrace the presence of God in awe, wonder, and commitment to doing God’s will
Background: Exodus 20
Exodus 20:18-26 (CEB)
18 When all the people witnessed the thunder and lightning, the sound of the horn, and the mountain smoking, the people shook with fear and stood at a distance. 19 They said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we’ll listen. But don’t let God speak to us, or we’ll die.” 20 Moses said to the people, “Don’t be afraid, because God has come only to test you and to make sure you are always in awe of God so that you don’t sin.” 21 The people stood at a distance while Moses approached the thick darkness in which God was present.
22 The Lord said to Moses: “Say this to the Israelites: You saw for yourselves how I spoke with you from heaven. 23 Don’t make alongside me gods of silver or gold for yourselves. 24 Make for me an altar from fertile soil on which to sacrifice your entirely burned offerings, your well-being sacrifices, your sheep, and your oxen. I will come to you and bless you in every place where I make sure my name is remembered. 25 But if you do make for me an altar from stones, don’t build it with chiseled stone since using your chisel on the stone will make it impure. 26 Don’t climb onto my altar using steps: then your genitals won’t be exposed by doing so.”
I will come to you and bless you in every place where I make sure my name is remembered. (Exodus 20:24)
Today’s lesson is a continuation of last week’s lesson. Last week Moses brought the Israelites to the mountain. Our text today begins after the Ten Commandments has been delivered to Moses. The people wanted no part of the fire spewing God and what they thought was certain death. Their request was for Moses to deliver God’s message, so they would not have to face God.
Moses delivers the message as the people had requested. The message was pretty straight forward, “You saw for yourselves how I spoke with you from heaven. 23 Don’t make alongside me gods of silver or gold for yourselves.” We know in hindsight they soon broke this commandment. (See Exodus 32)
There is a parallel passage in Deuteronomy 5 that also addresses this instance found in today’s text. I would suggest you read both passages to get the full effect of this encounter.
As we look further at today’s text, you can see how compassionate, jealous, and zealous God is about those He loves and has called. Obey all that God has commanded and you can expect blessings, disobey and trouble will find your family for the next three or four generations. Jeremiah 31:29 In those days, people will no longer say: Sour grapes eaten by parents leave a bitter taste in the mouths of their children.
We should be thankful today that Jeremiah has given us hope because, we nre no longer bound by the Law, but rather have a new hope that comes from Christ. As Jesus explained to the Pharisees, “there is really only two laws that apply, love the Lord with all of our heart, mind and soul, and our neighbor as ourselves.”
The burden now falls to us to teach our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, God’s ways and law, as defined in the hymn from Psalm 119:33-40 “Teach Me O Lord”.
33 Lord, teach me what your statutes are about, and I will guard every part of them.
34 Help me understand so I can guard your Instruction and keep it with all my heart.
35 Lead me on the trail of your commandments because that is what I want.
36 Turn my heart to your laws, not to greedy gain.
37 Turn my eyes away from looking at worthless things.Make me live by your way.
38 Confirm your promise to your servant— the promise that is for all those who honor you.
39 Remove the insults that I dread because your rules are good.
40 Look how I desire your precepts! Make me live by your righteousness.