Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part II: God's Sustainment Of Israel In The Wilderness Amid Humanly Helpless Trials
H. Responding Productively To God's Permitted Alarming Trials In Our Lives
(Exodus 19:1-25; 20:18-20)
  1. Introduction
    1. At times in the Christian life, alarming trials can suddenly flood into our lives where our response of alarm may cause us to be confused as to God's intended purpose in allowing the trials to arise!
    2. Israel faced this challenge at Mount Sinai, and God's REASONS for them as revealed in the TEXT explain how we should similarly perceive and respond to the same kind of circumstances ourselves:
  2. Responding Productively To God's Permitted Alarming Trials In Our Lives, Ex. 19:1-25; 20:18-20.
    1. When Israel camped at the foot of Mount Sinai, the Lord called unto Moses from the mount to climb up to Him that He might gain God's message for Israel, Exodus 19:1-3.
    2. That message was an offer for God to make Israel His peculiar treasure, a holy nation and a kingdom of priests were they to obey His laws, and the proof of God's willingness to supply these blessings was based on His past great and gracious deliverance of the nation out of Egypt, Exodus 19:5-6, 4.
    3. When Moses told this message to Israel, the people responded that they would obey God, Exodus 19:7-8. This arrangement fit the format of a "suzerainty treaty between a powerful king and his vassals" where God was the Suzerain and Israel was His vassal, Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, 1978, ftn. to Exodus 19:3.
    4. However, aware of the tendency of Israel to doubt and thus disobey the Lord and His messenger, Moses, God then told Moses that He was about to speak with special effects so that the people would hear when God spoke with Moses and forever believe that God had sent Moses as His messenger unto them, 19:9.
    5. We also know from Exodus 20:18-20 that these special effects from God were designed to cause the people of Israel to revere the Lord that they might not disobey Him and thus miss out on His blessing!
    6. Accordingly, God arranged for His special effects that the people of Israel might be alarmed to this end:
      1. God warned the people through Moses to wash their clothes (Exodus 19:10), to be confined to their camp with barriers around the mountain (Exodus 19:12-13, 21) and even to abstain from normal sexual contact in marriage (Ex. 19:15) for three days (Ex. 19:11) to prepare for God's revelation of Himself.
      2. Then, on the third day, at the top of the mount were severe thunders, flashes of lightening, a thick cloud and a very loud sound of a ram's horn, causing all of the people of Israel to tremble, Exodus 19:16.
      3. Moses brought the people out to meet the Lord amid this awesome display, and God descended on the mountain with the display of a great fire, thick, rising smoke and a tremendous earthquake, 19:17-18.
      4. As the trumpet sound grew long and louder, God spoke to him in the presence of the people by a voice from the mountain, and Moses ascended the mount to meet the Lord, Exodus 19:19-20.
      5. God there told Moses to descend and charge the people and the priests to avoid breaking beyond their God-ordained boundaries to gaze unrighteously at God or He would destroy them, Exodus 19:21-22.
      6. When Moses replied that the people would not come up to the mount as God had already charged them to heed the boundaries, God commanded him to descend and get Aaron to return to meet Him on the mount, and to charge the people once again not to breach the boundaries lest He break out against them and destroy them for violating this boundary command, Exodus 19:23-24.
      7. Accordingly, Moses obeyed the Lord, returning down to supply this message to the people, Ex. 19:25.
Lesson: (1) God's (a) terrifying displays before the people of Israel (b) amid His unusual restrictions of their normal lifestyle activities (c) and amid reminders of His past gracious help to them were given to (2) cause the people (a) ALWAYS to BELIEVE GOD had APPOINTED MOSES to LEAD them (b) so that they might HEED God's WORD THROUGH Moses so that God might richly BLESS them!

Application: (1) If (a) AFTER we believers have witnessed God's HELP of us out of FORMER trials (b) we THEN face NEW trials that (c) unusually alarm (c) and/or include RESTRICTIONS in our otherwise NORMAL, righteous lifestyle activities, (2) GOD is seeking to get us to (a) BELIEVE He has sent the HUMAN MESSENGERS He has CLEARLY placed OVER us and (b) thus to HEED His WORD that they PROCLAIM unto us that He might RICHLY BLESS and NOT have to PUNISH us!