THE SINAI COVENANT : MOSES

The call of Moses (Exodus 3:1-22)

The call of Moses took place as follows;

  • Moses had gone to look after his father-in-law’s flocks near Mt. Horeb/ Mt. Sinai which means mountain of God.
  • An angel appeared to him as a burning bush which was not being consumed.
  • Moses moved near to see what was happening and God called him by his name in the middle of the Burning bush.
  • He was instructed not to move any closer and to remove his shoes because the place where he was standing was Holy ground.
  • God assured Moses that he was the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
  • Moses hid his face because he was afraid to look at God.
  • God told him he had seen the suffering of his people (Israelites) and was ready to liberate them from Egypt.
  • God commanded Moses to go to Egypt to free the Israelites.
  • Moses protested that he was not worthy but God gave him the assurance that;
  1. God would protect him and be with him.
  2. They would worship God at Mt. Sinai after leaving Egypt.
  • Moses asked God what his name was and God replied, “I am who I am,” meaning:
  1. God was what He was in the past and will always be the same i.e. God is eternal.
  2. God does not change with time or situations.
  3. There is no human description of God.
  • God then assured Moses that the Israelites would respond positively while Pharaoh would be stubborn until several miracles were done.
  • Moses was given two signs as a proof that he was God’s messenger.
  1. His rod/ walking stick/ staff turned into a snake;
  2. His hand was affected by leprosy.
  • Moses being a stammerer was given Aaron as his spokesperson.
  • Moses later left for Egypt with his family.

Reasons why Moses was reluctant to accept God’s call

  1. He was a murderer.
  2. He was a fugitive / a run away.
  3. He was a stammerer.
  4. He was not sure of God/ God’ name.
  5. The people would doubt him.
  6. He knew Pharaoh would refuse to let the people go.
  7. He felt he was worth the task.

Attributes of God learnt during the call of Moses

  1.  God is Holy/pure.  He told Moses to remove his shoes for he was standing on a Holy place.
  2. God ears the cries of his people/answers prayers Vs.7.
  3. Just/God punishes the wrong doers.
  4. Deliverer.Vs.8.
  5. God of History, vs. 15 and Vs. 6
  6. Caring/loving/ merciful/ compassionate.Vs.7.
  7. Faithful/ fulfills promises e.g. fulfilled the promise made to Abraham.
  8. Demands faith and obedience from those he calls/sends.
  9. Transcendent/mysterious/beyond human understanding e.g. burning bush.
  10. Personal/knows us by name e.g. called Moses by his name.vs.4.
  11. Uses human beings to accomplish a task e.g. Moses/God commissions people to perform certain tasks/ works through people He chooses.
  12. Empowers those He sends/doesn’t give people impossible tasks e.g. enabled Moses to perform miracles e.g. changing stick into snake.
  13. Awesome/demands respect vs.5/ worthy of respect.
  14. Knows our suffering vs.7.  He had seen the affliction of His people in Egypt.
  15. Has power over nature/all powerful vs.2 e.g. bush burning though not getting consumed/ almighty/ omnipotent.
  16. Eternal. vs. 14 I AM WHO I AM.
  17. All-knowing i.e. knows us by name, our sufferings e.t.c.
  18. Protects his people vs. 12 e.g. promised to protect Moses.
  19.  God is omnipresent.
  20. Uses events to reveal Himself to people e.g. burning bush.
  21. God is miracle working God.

What Moses learnt from this incident/call about God

  1. God is a God of History i.e. He is a God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
  2. God is loving and caring and is concerned with the welfare of his people.
  3. God is transcendent i.e. He is beyond human understanding and description.
  4. God chooses whoever he wills to carry out his plans e.g. He chose Moses, a murderer, fugitive stammerer.
  5. God expects total faith and obedience from the people he chooses to serve him.
  6. God fulfills his promises i.e. he was ready to deliver the Israelites from bondage/ slavery he had promised Abraham.

Christian values learnt from the call of Moses

  1. Humility.
  2. Courage.
  3. Faith.
  4. Love/ mercy/ care.
  5. Honesty.
  6. Obedience.
  7. Reverence/ respect/ honour/ God-fearing.
  8. Service.
  9. Holiness.
  10. Inquisitiveness/ knowledge/ curiosity.
  11. Patience/ persistence.
  12. Justice.

THE TEN PLAGUES
Exodus 7:14-11:1-10

Introduction

  • When Moses reached Egypt, he gathered all the Israelite elders then told them what God had sent him to do.
  • He performed all the miracles God had shown him and the Israelite elders believed in his mission.
  • When Pharaoh was approached to let the Israelites go, he became stubborn and increased the workload for the Israelites
  • Moses had to perform plagues on Egypt.  (A plague may be a disease or an unfortunate occurrence in one’s life) (Exodus 7:4 – 5)
  • The signs and the wonders of the plagues were to make the Israelite and Egyptians know that only Yahweh was worthy of the title God.
  1. The plague of blood (Exodus 7:14 – 25)
  • Moses was commanded by God to tell Aaron to strike the waters of the Nile.
  • He did this in the presence of Pharaoh and the waters of the Nile turned into blood.
  • All the fish died and there was no water to drink.  This lasted seven days.
  • He did not release the Israelites.
  1. Plague of frogs (Exodus 8:1 – 15)
  • The Lord commanded Moses to tell Aaron to stretch his hand over the streams, canals and ponds.
  • Aaron did as was commanded and there were frogs all over the land of Egypt.
  • On seeing this, Pharaoh pleaded with Moses and Aaron to pray to the Lord to get rid of the frogs and he would release them.
  • They prayed and all the frogs died when Pharaoh saw that the frogs were dead, he changed his mind.
  1. Plague of gnats (Exodus 8:16 – 19)
  • Gnats are small two-winged biting flies.
  • The Lord instructed Moses to tell Aaron to strike the ground.
  • Aaron did and all the dust in Egypt turned into gnats.
  • The gnats covered the entire land.
  • Even the magicians accepted it as God’s work, but Pharaoh still refused to let the Israelites go.
  1. Plague of flies (Exodus 8:20 – 32)
  • The Lord warned Pharaoh through Moses that he would send swarms of flies to the Egyptian houses.  But the Israelites houses would be spared.
  • When this happened, Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron and promised to let them to go and worship so that the flies would go away.
  • Moses prayed and the flies went away.  However, Pharaoh changed his mind and again refused to let the Israelites go.
  1. Death of livestock (Exodus 9:1 – 7)
  • God sent a plague that killed all the Egyptian animals. Their cows, donkeys, camels, sheep, goats and horses were all killed.
  • The Israelites were not affected.  Still Pharaoh refused to release them.
  1. Plague of boils (Exodus 9:8 – 12)
  • Moses threw ashes into air as God had instructed.
  • This produced boils which became open sores on the skin of the Egyptians.
  •  Unmoved by the suffering of his people, Pharaoh would still not let the Israelites go.
  1. Plague of hail (Exodus 9:13 – 35)
  • Moses raised his stick and there was a hailstorm with lightning and thunder.  The people, animals and plants that were struck were killed and destroyed.
  • Pharaoh promised to let the Israelites go but as soon as Moses had prayed and all the hail and thunder stopped.  Pharaoh changed his mind yet again.  He did not let the Israelites go.
  1. Plague of Locusts (Exodus 10:1 – 20)
  • Locusts covered the whole land and ate all the crops in the fields.
  • The locusts ate all that had not been destroyed by the hail.
  • Pharaoh once more pleaded for the plague to be lifted.
  • As soon as locusts were out of Egypt, Pharaoh changed his mind.  He still would not let the Israelites out of Egypt.
  1. Plague of darkness (Exodus 10:21 – 29)
  • God instructed Moses to stretch out his hand to heaven.
  • There was total darkness in Egypt for 3 days.  The Israelites had light where they were living.
  • Pharaoh remained unmoved and would still not let the Israelites go out of Egypt.
  1. Death of first-born sons (Exodus 12:1 – 31)
  • The last plague is the death of the Egyptians male first born.
  • The Lord would kill all the first born sons and first male animals of the Egyptians at midnight.
  • The Israelite males would be spared.

Attributes of God learnt from the ten plagues

  1. God empowers the people he sends to perform miracles and do his work.  He gave Moses the rod with which to work and cause the plagues.
  2. God is almighty/all powerful/ omnipotent and no other forces or power can challenge him.  The magicians could not match his powers and accepted that God’s powers are great (Exodus 8:18 – 19).
  3. God is determined to fulfill his plans/to save his people no matter how hard the task may appear to the human eye.  He does not give up on his people.  Exodus 8:22, 9:6, 10:23.
  4. God gives everyone a chance to repent.  He forgives the repentant.  Each time Pharaoh promised to release the Israelites, God relieved the Egyptians from the plagues.
  5. God is God of justice/ he punishes the wrong doer and protects the oppressed.  He afflicted the Egyptians who had enslaved his people.  He spared the Israelites.
  6. God fulfill his promises/ He is faithful.  The Israelites finally left Egypt as God had promised Exodus 3:7 – 10, Genesis 15:13 – 14, 26:3 – 4.
  7. God expects total obedience and faith from the people he sends.
  8. God is a loving/ caring God.  He sees the plight and suffering of his people and works to release them from their suffering.
  9. More powerful that the Egyptian gods.
  10. God was aware of the problems of the Israelites.
  11. Determined to save his people.
  12. God was working through Moses. This strengthened faith of the Israelites on Moses their liberator

THE PASSOVER
Exodus 12:1 – 31

Passover is derived from Hebrew word Pasach meaning “to pass” with the aim of sparing or protecting.

Preparations for the Passover
God instructed Moses to prepare the Israelites for the tenth plague.

Moses called all the elders of Israel and gave them the following instructions.

  1. On the tenth day of that month each man had to choose either a lamb or a young goat for his household.  If his family was too small to eat a whole animal, then he and his next-door neighbor were to share the animal.
  2. The animal chosen was to be a male, one year old and without blemish.
  3. Using a young animal signified the innocence of the sacrifice while an animal without blemish signified purity of the sacrifice.
  4. The animal chosen was to be killed on the eve of the 14th day of that month/eve of the night of the Exodus.
  5. The blood of the animal was to be smeared on the door posts and lintel of Israelites’ houses.
  6. The blood was to act as a sign of distinguishing the Israelites houses from those of the Egyptians so that the angel of death would spare them when he killed the first-born sons of the Egyptians.
  7. The lamb/animal for sacrifice was to be roasted whole i.e. with its head, legs and inner parts.
  8. Roasting was the quickest method of cooking since the Israelites were in a hurry.
  9. The meat was to be eaten that night with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.
  10. The bitter herbs signified the bitter experience of slavery in Egypt.
  11. Everything was to be eaten and whatever remained was to be burnt.
  12. They were to eat the sacrificial meat after they had dressed up and packed their luggage (Vs 9 – 11)
  13. The Israelite women were to ask for Jewellery, Silver and clothing from the Egyptian women on the eve of their departure.
  14. These items were to act as compensation for the free labour the Israelites had given Egypt.
  15. Everyone was to remain indoors until morning in order to be protected from the angel of death.
  16. The Passover was to be to be commemorated annually and its significance taught to the coming generation.

Note

  • On that night the Angel of death “passed over” the houses of the Israelites and killed the entire male first born of the Egyptians, including Pharaoh’s son.
  • There was great wailing in Egypt.
  • Pharaoh summoned Moses and released the Israelites.
  • The Israelites left Egypt for the Promised Land through the wilderness/Exodus.

Attributes of God shown in the Jewish Passover

  1. God is caring i.e. preserved the life of the Israelites.
  2. God loves.
  3. God is powerful i.e. took care of nature.
  4. God is provider of life i.e. killed the Egyptians.
  5. God is the creator and controller of human life.
  6. God is universal e.g. controlled lives of the Egyptians and Israelites.
  7. God is omnipresent i.e. everywhere including to the Israelite and the Egyptians.
  8. God is faithful to his promises.
  9. He punishes the disobedient
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