Exodus 1-29, 32-34, 40
Leviticus 1-10, 16-23, 25-26
Numbers 1-3, 9-17, 22-25
Deuteronomy 1-13, 17-18, 20-21, 25, 27-32, 34
CLASS NOTES FROM SINAI
EXODUS, LEVITICUS, NUMBERS, DEUTERONOMY, JOSHUA 1-8
Key Concepts (How to Read)
1. Pattern of Salvation - God acts, we react – Salvation precedes Law.
2. Covenant – The Old Covenant/Testament, now a conditional promise.
3. Law as a gift, sharing life with Yahweh (and, how to safely live with His presence).
4. Blessing to the nations: bringing God’s presence to the world, interceding for the nations
5. Shift from Slaves to Conquerors
6. Conquest, Promise fulfillment, and the importance of memory
Key Sections (What it says)
Exodus 1 - New problem for God’s plan.
Pharaoh commands all males being born to be killed immediately. Despite Pharaoh’s plan, Moses survives and is found by Pharaoh’s daughter.
Exodus 3:1-15 - Burning Bush
God calls Moses to free God’s people from the mighty hand of the Egyptians. God reveals His name/s and the calling he has placed on Moses. Exodus shows that God calls the unworthy to partner with Him in accomplishing His will here on earth.
Exodus 7-11 - 10 Plagues.
In this section of Scripture, God uses plagues to intentionally highlight and demonstrate His triumphant power over the “gods” of Egypt. The purpose of these plagues was to display God’s wonders to Israel AND Egypt. Through trials and oppression God calls all of His followers to love their enemies.
Exodus 12 – Passover
This passage displays the first salvation moment for Israel and defines the people forever. This passage can be paralleled with the stories and life of Jesus Christ.
Exodus 14-15 – Red Sea
The happenings and events of the Red Sea are seen as the second salvation moment for Israel. The Red Sea displayed God’s visible presence and interaction with His people.
Exodus 16-18 – Journey to Sinai
Theme of Ingratitude.
Exodus 19-20, 24 – Giving of the Law
The giving of the Law implemented a new “conditional” Covenant with Israel. But Law comes only AFTER both the Passover and the Exodus. The conditional covenant is really an invitation. Think pedagogically; the covenant with Abraham is like the adoption of a child, while the covenant with Israel is a marriage.
The 10 Commandments were given to Moses as a summary of the law; however, there were also 613 individual commandments in the Torah. The 2 Tablets were then summarized by Jesus using other commandments.
Exodus 33 – Golden Calf
Rest of Exodus, beginning of Leviticus – Tabernacle and Priests and Sacrifices
Think of God’s presence like electricity – it is enormously valuable but must be handled with care or it is potentially deadly. This is system to describe how God’s presence can safely abide with sinful mortals. Sacrifice mirrors Passover, substitutionary atonement. Priests are seen as intercessors. The tabernacle was seen as a place that protected us from too much access to God.
Leviticus – Law
The Law has a critical role – it gives us the privilege of knowing how to honor and obey Yahweh, and a pathway to being in his presence. There are several critical components of the law: 1. No distinction between sacred and secular. 2. No distinction between ritual and moral. 3. No area of our lives not affected by a relationship with God.
Numbers and Deuteronomy
These books discuss the journey to Canaan, The rejection of the people, 38 years wandering, and the return of Moses and His death.
The scouts, failure to enter, and 38.5 years in the desert.
Formation of a new people who don’t see themselves as slaves – This is God’s purpose.
In this passage, Moses' and Aaron's leadership is affirmed.
Numbers 21 - Conquest of Transjordan –
Sihon and Og
Transjordan tribes who stay on the east side of the Jordan River.
Deuteronomy - Final Sermon of Moses and his death
Moses sees the promised land but does not enter it.
Joshua – Conquest of Canaan
The second group of scouts is sent in, the second parting of the sea occurs, etc.
There are several moral implications of the conquest – Joshua 6:17, 21
The victory displays many different meanings but overall it is linked to holiness/faithfulness.
Covenant renewal – Joshua 5, 8:30, 24
Why is this critical? We must be reminded of the covenant. This passage causes us to take a moment to “Remember.” Our failures of memory are the root of much of our unfaithfulness.
Conversation: Discussion Questions
1. The story of the Exodus begins with the murder of the Israelite children by Pharaoh and the Egyptians, and ends with the death of the Egyptian first-born (not necessarily children) and the entire Egyptian army. How do we see the mercy of God in the midst of so much suffering?
2. Why is it so important that God’s salvation leads the Israelites to respond to him with obedience to the Law? How does our perception of God, and our relationship with God, change when we invert this order and imagine that our obedience leads to our salvation?
3. As a group, see if you can name all 10 commandments. Look at Exodus chapter 20 to get any you’ve missed. Which of these seem most, or least, relevant to your spiritual life?
4. As Christians today, we typically do not handle the LORD’s presence with caution. What would change if we saw God-with-us as both an amazing gift, and a great danger? Does, and should, our knowledge of Jesus change this perception for us?
5. Today we do not typically think about the food we eat as a spiritual decision, nor the clothes we wear, nor the amount we work during a week. We have falsely created a divide between the sacred and the secular. How can we begin to think of our food, our clothes, our work week, our holidays, etc, as spiritual decisions?
6. Why do you think the Israelites have such a difficult time trusting Yahweh in the desert, when he tells them to go up and conquer Canaan? This is the generation that lived in slavery, but also the generation that saw God’s wonders. Do we sometimes struggle to trust God, despite seeing his wonders in our lives and in Scripture? Why?
7. We spoke before about how faith is trusting God’s promises when we only get a glimpse of them. This week, we read that Moses died before entering the promised land, after leading the people for 40 years. Why is it significant that Moses never steps foot in Canaan?
8. The conquest, absent God’s explicit command, seems simply like genocide. How do we reconcile this event with the God of mercy we’ve been discussing each week?
9. Why does covenant renewal happen primarily with Joshua and the unified tribes? What is the connection between covenant renewal and conquest?
Next week we will focus on the end of Joshua, the period of the Judges, the book of Ruth, and the beginning of the United Monarchy. See you then!