The Story Recap Ch 5-7
Hey Dublin-Powell Youth and thanks for joining me for Bible study on the first day of this week. We are continuing our recap of the Story this week, we’re going to recap chapters 5, 6, and 7 as we follow the people of Israel from Egypt to the Promised Land. Today is Sunday, May 24th, let’s get into it.
Just as a reminder we are walking through The Story together, which is an abridgement of the NIV Bible. This book doesn’t contain the full text of the Bible but it does contain a whole lot of the Word of God, selected to give us a broad overview of the story of the Bible. We want to understand the whole picture of the Bible so that when we dive deep into specific studies we do so with an understanding of the overarching themes of Scripture! We had quite a break from the Story for the last couple of months so we’re quickly going through the chapters we had previously covered before moving on.
Chapter 5: New Commands and a New Covenant
Chapter 5: New Commands and a New Covenant
Once the people of Israel have crossed the Red Sea and are safe from the Egyptians, God leads the people through the desert, as a cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night. He leads them to the base of Mount Sinai. God calls Moses to go up the mountain to meet with Him, and warns the Israelites that no living should touch the mountain while He is meeting with Moses or it would be killed. Moses goes up to Mount Sinai where God is present and receives this offer:
‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”
And Moses climbed back down the mountain to share this offer with the Israelites, who dclare “We will do everything the Lord has commanded!” And so Israel spends 3 days preparing themselves to make the covenant official, and when God returns to the mountain He calls Moses up to meet Him again. And this time He gives Moses the rules of the covenant, which Moses brings back down to them, and soon Moses is called back up to meet with the Lord, but this time he’s up there for 40 days. So the Israelites do what anyone would do in a new relationship, the other party appears to be ghosting them for over a month, they haven’t heard from the Lord, so they decide maybe this wasn’t meant to be after all, I mean what did He ever do for us besides hear our cries in bondage, display His might to Pharaoh so the he would set us free, and then deliver us from the pursuing Egyptian army by literally PARTING A SEA, and then promise to keep us as His own treasured possession? Yeah it’s time to move on, what if we made a statue of a calf out of gold?
And so Moses pleads to God to have mercy on the Israelites, goes down and wipes out the Israelites who refuse to turn away from the calf, and literally makes the rest of them drink the calf by crushing it down into powder and mixing it with their drinks.
At the end of this chapter, 2 HUGE paradigm shifts have taken place. The Mosaic covenant is established between God and Israel, and God now lives among His people in the tent of meeting that the Levite priests set up everywhere they go.
Chapter 6: Wandering
Chapter 6: Wandering
So obviously the Israelites learned their lesson at Mount Sinai and stay faithful to God throughout their trip to the Promised Land, and it’s a quick and uneventful journey full of fellowship with the Lord and praises sung to His name, right? Yeah, not so much.
God continues to lead the Israelites in His cloud and pillar of fire, and He provides food in the form of mana that falls every morning, which of course the Israelites complain about. So God gives them the meat they want, and they eat so much of it that eventually what always happens when humans eat animals without checking the internal temperature to ensure its fully cooked, plague, people die, gee wow it’s almost like God knew meat wasn’t the best sustenance while we’re doing the nomad through the desert thing, whatever.
Eventually they get to Canaan, the borders of the Promised Land, and Moses sends in 12 spies to scout the land. The spies see that the land is as wonderful as the Lord has promised, but they are terrified of the inhabitants of the land. So they go back and give a false, exaggerated report, hoping to discourage an invasion. Many of the Israelites agree with them, and complain that they should not enter the Promised Land.
God grants their request, in an excellent example of “be careful what you wish for”, and condemns Israel to wander the desert for 40 years until all of those who refused to fight for the Promised Land have died.
During this wandering, Moses deviates slightly from God’s instructions for drawing water from a rock, striking it instead of speaking to it. As a result of this disobedience, God tells Moses He will not lead Israel into the promised land.
Eventually, after much rebellion and idolatry and death, Israel is led to the edge of the Promised Land. Moses knew that this was his time to die, as he could not lead Israel into the promised land. He gave them one last encouragement before his death:
Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall go with this people into the land that the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall put them in possession of it. It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
After this, Moses climbed a nearby mountain, where God showed him the land that was promised to Abraham and would soon be delivered to Israel, and Moses died.
In this chapter we see the consequences of sin, big and small. Moses, perhaps the prophet closest to God in all the Old Testament, could not lead Israel into Canaan because he struck a rock that he was told only to speak to. Where God is specific in His commands, we are to be specific in our obedience. This is the source of many of our traditions in the church, like singing acapella, which follows the command in Ephesians 5:19 to “Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord”.
Chapter 7: The Battle Begins
Chapter 7: The Battle Begins
In chapter 7, Moses is dead, and Joshua, son of Nun, now leads Israel. One of the first major cities the Israelites conquer is Jericho, which is conquered by the power of God who has the Israelites march around the city for 7 days in a row. On the 7th day, they walk around 7 times and blow a great trumpet and shout, and the impenetrable walls of Jericho fall.
By God’s power and His leadership through Joshua, Israel goes on to conquer city after city, clearing out the land that was promised to Abraham for God’s people. They lost only one battle, against Ai, because a soldier named Achan took some plunder for himself when it was rightfully God’s. Eventually, when they celebrated their victory over the city of Ai after Achan was put to death, Joshua read the entire book of the law to the people, all of the blessings and curses, to remind them of their relationship with God.
Israel continues to march through the land, and eventually conquers the whole land. At this point, Joshua has grown quite old, and is near death. Much like Moses, he wanted to encourage the people of Israel before his death. He reminded them of every great dead that God had accomplished from Abraham to their recent conquests. And implored the people to
“Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
In this final chapter, we see the faithfulness and power of God, delivering on every one of His promises to His people, when they are faithful to Him, they are unstoppable in battle.
So that is the story of the Promised Land! God established a covenant relationship with His people beyond what He had promised originally to Abraham, and gave them the law. The will of God written down in the book of the law so that it could be preserved for all of Israel.
Next week we will finish our recap and get ready to press on in the Story so if you can’t find your copy of the Story this would be a good time to start looking!
As I mentioned last week, Pepperdine University is holding an online event the evening of May 27th with several great speakers including some young people as well giving some encouraging 5-minute lessons for us. I plan to watch, it should be a real fun time and I encourage you and your family to watch this together as well. More information including a link to register which also enters you into a drawing for AirPods is in the description below.
Thanks again for joining this week! Our journey through the Story is really rolling again and I’m excited to share it with y’all. Let me pray for us before we go.
Lord, thank you for your faithfulness to your people. Thank you for choosing to reveal your will to your people through the law, and thank you for fulfilling that law through Jesus. Lord I pray that you be with each and every person listening to this message from home and let your Story be a part of their lives. Be with us this week, Lord, protect us, and continue to use us as messengers of the Gospel for your glory and for the glory of your son Jesus. We pray in Jesus name, amen.
Thanks again everyone, I wish you the grace and peace of our Lord this week.