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Numbers 20, Psalm 90

This chapter begins with endings. Miriam’s death punctuates the fact that forty years have passed and Israel’s wandering is over. But these are wilderness children, raised on tales and legends of Egypt and skilled in the same bellyaching habits as their parents. For them, Canaan has always been a vague destination; they are nomads, always moving, never arriving. In the spring of that fortieth year, Israel migrated back to Kadesh-Barnea. It was a regular stop during the wandering years since it had a reliable source of water. But this time they found it dry. History repeats itself and we wonder if they’ll ever learn. (Will we?) In this episode we see Moses’ greatest failure and deepest regret. Weep with him, but watch him rise and keep going, determined to finish well. The work isn’t done. It’s a new generation. And this chapter ends with beginnings.

Numbers 13-14

The journey was almost over. After settling the multitude at Kadesh-Barnea, Moses sent twelve men into Canaan to scout the land and determine the best route of entry. The promised land was so close now, Moses could almost taste it. Bring back some of the fruit, he said. Forty days later, the spies returned with giant clusters of fruit on their shoulders and mutiny in their hearts. In many ways, Israel was its own worst enemy. Like crabs in a bucket, they kept pulling each other down. Fear. Rebellion. Anger. Regrets. This three-part series, The Crab Bucket List, confronts sins that trip us up and attitudes that get in our way.

Numbers 11-12

Exodus ends with the glory of the Lord filling the newly completed tabernacle. The pillar of cloud and fire was a visible reminder that God was with them, day and night. When it hovered over the tabernacle, the Israelites knew to stay put. When it moved, they would break camp and set out. Sometimes the cloud lingered for many days, or it might only be one day. Day or night, whenever the cloud lifted, they knew it was time to move. In the book of Numbers, Moses and the Israelites leave Mt. Sinai and begin their journey to the land that God promised them—a trip that might have taken less than two weeks, had they been obedient. Their attitude through the wilderness would make all the difference. Centered, or self-centered? Despite all that God was doing, they grouse and complain. Like crabs in a bucket, they kept pulling each other down. Fear. Rebellion. Anger. Regrets. This three-part series, The Crab Bucket List, confronts sins that trip us up and attitudes that get in our way.

Exodus 34

Moses stepped out of his tent into the cool morning air. Dawn was his favorite hour, easing gently into a new day while the camp still slept. He was bone-tired and weary. But the mountain, like a sleeping giant silhouetted against the desert sky, called to him. It would take several hours to reach the summit. At first, the path was smooth—then it crumbled and rose sharply, every step filling his sandals with an avalanche of shale. Slow and steady, clutching stone tablets in one arm, leaning hard on his staff to keep from slipping. By the time he reached the granite peak, white-hot sun was flooding the desert floor far below him. What compelled Moses, an 80-year-old man, to make this solitary climb? You know the story well, but read it again with fresh eyes to see God’s glory.

Exodus 33

Moses could not imagine going forward without the Lord’s presence. How could he lead the people if God Himself wasn’t there to show him the way? How could they be known as God’s people if the Lord wasn’t present among them? Please Lord, go with us. With is a little word that makes a big difference. This session in our four-part series, His Presence, explores lessons in the power of prayer, second chances, and God’s merciful desire to continue with His people.

Exodus 32

Broken. God’s commandments. Israel’s promise. Moses’ heart. It happened right after the covenant was signed and sealed. It happened while the glory of the Lord, visible from the camp below, set the mountaintop ablaze. To her shame, Israel became a harlot on her honeymoon. Forty days, and still no Moses. In his absence, they weren’t feeling God’s presence. It was only a matter of time before forgetfulness set in. They exchanged the glory of God for the image of a calf. “How could they?” we ask. It seems like a random choice to us, but they were falling back on what was familiar. Aren’t we capable of this too? In times of uncertainty, old habits and patterns of thinking feel safe.

Exodus 24

In this last session of our three-part series, Indispensable Truth, we continue to explore why God’s
law is still our moral compass. Everything about the law points us forward to Jesus who would come and live a sinless life in full obedience to the law. The law—as far as the individual is concerned—was never meant to make one righteous. It was given to show us that we could never be righteous in our own ability or works. The law shuts our mouth but opens our eyes.

Exodus 20:15-21

In this last session of our three-part series, Indispensable Truth, we continue to explore why God’s
law is still our moral compass. Everything about the law points us forward to Jesus who would come and live a sinless life in full obedience to the law. The law—as far as the individual is concerned—was never meant to make one righteous. It was given to show us that we could never be righteous in our own ability or works. The law shuts our mouth but opens our eyes.

Exodus 20:12-14

Guardrails and Rumble Strips | How do you view the Ten Commandments? Some people see a rigid set of stone cold rules and regula@ons you have to keep if you want God to love and approve of you. But Jesus already accomplished that for us.

Exodus 19, Exodus 20:1-11

Three months after leaving Egypt, Moses brought the multitude to the mountain. The people may have expected to camp a few days before resuming their journey, but Moses knew this was more than a stopover. To be in this place, with millions of Israelites safely in tow, was a personal milestone for Moses. It was familiar ground, made holy by a burning bush encounter. Did he trace his steps back to that memorable spot?

Study Groups

WATER, FIRE, STONE
THE LIFE AND TIMES OF MOSES

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR GROUPS 1/8/20

Exodus 17, Exodus 18

You’re thirsty. So dry, you can barely swallow. Your head throbs. Your heart is thumping too fast, too shallow to catch your breath without slowing your pace. You want to sit down in the shade and rest but that’s not an option. There is no shade—and a multitude of cranky, exhausted people are expecting you to find water. After all, you’re the wilderness expert. Forty years, you should know this desert like the back of your hand! Do something!

Exodus 15, Exodus 16

Sunrise on the Red Sea. Moses climbed the nearest ridge for a wide-angle vision just to take it all in. With the sun warm on his back, he studied the sea for traces of the miracle they walked through. Gentle waves crested and broke in undulating rhythm as usual. Broken chariot wheels and lifeless Egyptians littered the shore. The tide was commencing to wash away millions of sandy footprints, evidence that God’s people had indeed walked through the sea. Daybreak and dry ground. Moses saw it with his eyes but he felt it with his soul.

Exodus 13, Exodus 14

The moon was still making its way across the night sky when Moses came back with the news. At last, it was time to go. We don’t know how long it took for the word to reach every hut and hovel, but the people were ready and wasted no time. Families lined up by tribe, and tribes fell into step behind their leaders. Can you picture it? Hebrew migrants pouring out of Goshen in the middle of the night, leaving a ghost town where they had lived, labored and died as slaves for centuries. But now God’s people were leaving the land of their affliction behind.

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Exodus 11, Exodus 12

On day four, the light emerges but not in Pharaoh’s heart. He summons Moses to announce that he has decided to grant their request. In a grand gesture he adds that even your children can go. But Moses refuses to negotiate God’s terms. After months of devastation and suffering that brings Egypt to the brink of collapse, Pharaoh squanders it all—and for what? Before the night is over he will lose his own son.

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Mark 9

1 And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.” 2 And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, 3 and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them. 4 And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. 5 And Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” 6 For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified. 7 And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”

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Exodus 7, Exodus 8, Exodus 9, Exodus 10,

Egypt experienced one calamity after another. The people, the land, even the animals suffered because of Pharaoh. Every time he refused to let God’s people go, Pharaoh invited disaster on his own people.

 

The plagues were more than a random series of catastrophes to force Pharaoh to release the Hebrew slaves. With these judgments, God demonstrates His power over creation and exposes Egypt’s powerless gods. The plagues occurred over a period of about nine months.

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Exodus 5, Exodus 6

Exodus began with a pharaoh who feared a growing Hebrew population, so he decreed death for all baby boys. But times have changed. The pharaoh that Moses is dealing with isn’t about to let go of his Hebrew slaves. Who does Moses think he is, coming to Pharaoh with such a demand?

Exodus 3, Exodus 4

Moses cupped a hand over his eyes and squinted toward the mountain. From a distance at dawn, it looked like a camel’s hump jutting up from the desert floor, but now the sun was playing tricks with shadows. Shielding his eyes, Moses stared up into the craggy face of Mt. Horeb staring back down on him. He loved the solitude of this place. Mountains don’t care about time. Minutes and days and decades mean nothing to them. Mountains teach you to forget. And Moses had learned that lesson well.

Exodus 1, Exodus 2

Moses: Lawgiver . . . Lawbreaker . . . Liberator.
God called and Moses said, “Here I am.” Then he heard the plan and said, “Send someone else.” That’s not the kind of response we expect from an epic leader like Moses, but have we ever used a similar excuse? I can’t. I’m not qualified. It’s too soon . . . it’s too late.

We know Moses, the great hero of history, but who was the man behind the legend? He was born in poverty, raised in a palace, but the wilderness became his home. He was an outlaw, a loner, and a Lawgiver. Reluctant to lead but determined to follow God. At times he could be impulsive, impatient, explosive. He was idolized and criticized yet remained humble and forgiving. How did this man with so many complexities become a world-changer? Is the secret to his friendship with God something we can tap into? With Moses’ life and times as our script, we will explore why God chooses unlikely heroes—flaws, failures, and all—to accomplish His perfect plan.

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