Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Exodus 19:8-9 1
8 The people all responded together, “We will do everything the Lord has said.” So Moses brought their answer back to the Lord. 9 The Lord said to Moses, “I am going to come to you in a dense cloud, so that the people will hear me speaking with you and will always put their trust in you.” Then Moses told the Lord what the people had said.

moses_burning_bush_bysantine_mosaicBackground 2

Exodus is one of the first 5 books of the Old Testament which are often called the Torah or the Pentateuch. The Greek translation gave this book its name Exodus, meaning “to go out”. It is written in two parts:

  1. Chapters 1-18: the first part of Moses’ life; the Israelites’ troubles in Egypt; the events and the plagues that led the Israelites to leave Egypt.
  2. Chapters 19-40: how God gave the Law to Moses; how they built the special holy tent (Tabernacle); the rules for worship.

Moses was the most important person in all these events. He was the main person who recorded the events. Exodus 24:4 has these words. ‘Then Moses wrote down everything that the LORD had said.’ Later, when Joshua built an altar, he followed Moses’ instructions for it (Joshua 8:31).

Moses’ name appears 804 times in the Bible. It appears in the books of both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Numbers 12:3 describes Moses as ‘a very humble man. He was more humble than anyone else on the earth’. But Moses was also a great leader. He had great courage and he had a very close relationship with God. Without Moses, the Israelites might not have escaped from Egypt and reached the Promised Land.

God had prepared Moses and chose Moses to act on His behalf (Exodus 3:8-10). God does never changes, and He carries out His promises. This book, Exodus, emphasizes that God is holy. He looks after his people but He is separate from them. The Israelites had to stay away from Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:12). Not even Moses could see God Himself (Exodus 33:18-20). They used many objects when they worshipped God. And each of those objects was special and holy. Each thing reminded the Israelites that nobody should approach God in a careless way. God expected His people to be holy. ‘Be holy, because I, the LORD your God, am holy’ (Leviticus 19:2). God’s 10 commandments and the other rules are in Exodus chapters 20-23. They show what God demands from his people. He wants moral behavior all the time in people’s ordinary lives.

Biblical Truths 3

Verse 8 All the Israelites promised that they would obey God. They wanted him to be their God. They did not know yet all that a holy nation needed to do. Soon they did wrong things. So they did not obey God (Exodus 32:1-4).

Verse 9 A dense cloud was a sign that God was present with them. The people would learn to have confidence in Moses as their leader.

Items for Discussion

  • Why was Moses a great leader?
  • For Moses, God used a cloud to signal His presence. How do you think God does that today for His leaders?
  • God chose to help Moses by building confidence in their new leader. Can great leaders be successful without God’s help?
  • Why should leaders also be great teachers?
  • What are God’s expectations for us in choosing and/or following our leaders?

 

1 Corinthians 13:12-13
12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Background

Corinth was an important city located on a very narrow section of land (called an ‘isthmus’) in the southern part of Greece. It was also the capital city of the region called Achaia. It’s importance for commerce was facilitated by two harbors. The harbor on the east coast was 4 miles (6 km) from the harbor on the west coast. Today a canal joins the two harbors. In Paul’s time, people pulled small boats across from one harbor to the other one. They dragged them on a kind of ship railway. Porters carried goods from large boats to the other side. They put the goods on a different boat. The journey would otherwise have been over two hundred miles round a very dangerous part of the sea.

As a busy trading center, Corinth was a good place for the Gospel to spread. Merchants and travellers could hear the message and take it with them. There were many different people in Corinth. There were Romans because it was a Roman colony. There were Greeks, Jews, people from Asia and from further east. There were rich people and many slaves. There was also a temple to Aphrodite, the Greek female god of love. There were thousands of prostitutes in the city. Many of them belonged to this temple. Corinth became well-known for bad sexual behavior. To live ‘like a Corinthian’ meant to become a drunk often or to visit prostitutes.

Bible Truth 4

Verse 12 Paul uses two examples to show what he means:

Corinth was famous for good mirrors. They did not have clear glass then, so they made them out of metal. But highly polished metal is not as good as a modern glass mirror. It would reflect the image of a person, but not a perfect image. John said, ‘We know that when Jesus appears, we shall be like him. Because we shall see Him as he is’ (1 John 3:2). God already knows us completely. In the next age, we shall understand God’s ways. We cannot understand them completely in this life.

Verse 13 Faith, hope and love seem to have been a well-known group of qualities. Paul speaks about them in other letters. For example, 1 Thessalonians 1:3; Colossians 1:4-5. These three words explain the whole of the Christian life in this world. Christians have ‘faith’ that God will forgive them because of Christ’s sacrifice. They have ‘hope’ for the future, because of Christ’s resurrection. They live a life of faith and hope among Christian brothers and sisters whom they ‘love’. Of these three, only love will remain into eternity. Faith will no longer be necessary. Hope will become knowledge. Love is the greatest, because God himself is love (1 John 4:8). A friendship with Him will never end, but it will continue into eternity.

Items for Discussion

  • Knowing what you now know about the city of Corinth, why do you think Paul would use an analogy of looking in a mirror to understand Christ?
  • Our world, as with the world of Corinth, seems to always get “love” wrong – How would you describe the love that Paul is referring to?
  • When we share the Gospel’s message, which is the most important, stories of stalwart faith, of unending hope or bountiful love?
  • When corruption surrounds us, why are ”faith, hope and love” so important?
  • Why will only “love” exist in eternity?

Discussion Challenge

  • So what is your story? Your faith walk; The hope you carry with you; and the love of God you have experience?

Notes:

  1. NIV New International Version Translations
  2. http://www.easyenglish.info/bible-commentary/exodus-1-18-lbw.htm
  3. http://www.easyenglish.info/bible-commentary/exodus-1-18-lbw.htm
  4. http://www.easyenglish.info/bible-commentary/1-corinthians-lbw.htm
Share