God Renews His Covenant
Aren’t we glad for God’s amazing grace and His merciful patience? We sin. Then the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin. We repent. We ask God’s forgiveness. And, because of what Jesus did on the cross as our Substitute, the Father forgives and restores. He gives us a “second chance.”
That picture of God is clearly illustrated in Exodus 34:10-35. Join Pastor Larry as he leads us through the account of God's renewed covenant with Israel after their sin of idolatry. Isn’t He gracious?
RE-INSTITUTING THE COVENANT
1. As we saw last week, the Israelites’ disobedience had broken their covenant with God (rather quickly!), angered Him, and driven Moses to plead with God to show mercy to them. What do we learn about God’s character by reading that He listened to Moses, relented, and actually re-instituted His covenant with them?
2. Yet…Note that God’s covenant—even this renewed covenant—with Israel was still dependent on their strict obedience to His commands (v. 27). As history rolls on, Israel rebels again and again (their failure wasn’t a one time deal, and neither is ours!). And though God is “slow to anger,” He does ultimately bring punishment upon them for breaking the covenant…Is this how God relates to His people still—demanding strict obedience to His commands and punishing us if we disobey Him? (See Jeremiah 31:31-34, particularly noting the last statement) As a new covenant believer, how should you view sin and disobedience in your life—a deal-breaker with God? No big deal? Somewhere in the middle?What about sin that you return to repeatedly?
MOSES’ FACE (AND OURS)
3. Paul picked up on the discussion about Moses’ shining face when he wrote 2 Corinthians 3 & 4. Read 2 Corinthians 3:7-11, and briefly compare and contrast what Paul was saying about the new covenant – and it being greater than the old.
4. A few verses later in 2 Cor. 3:15-18, Paul says that when someone turns to Christ, the veil that had blinded them from seeing Christ’s greatness is removed…and in a manner even greater than what Moses experienced, every believer then beholds “the Lord.” While Moses’ face/glory faded time and time again, Paul says that Christians actually keep increasing in glory, becoming steadily more like the image of Christ. This intimacy and unhindered closeness with God led Paul to feel boldness (3:12) and courage/confidence (4:1) in sharing the gospel. How are intimacy with God and boldness in evangelism related to each other? What about in your own life—how are the two currently?
FOR THOSE WITH MEN’S OR WOMEN’S GROUPS:
Have honest conversation about your level of intimacy and closeness with God in recent days. And do some evaluation of what those under each of your’s leadership (or in your closest circles) are seeing in your face (i.e. What evidence is there of you increasing in glory and in the likeness of Christ)?
Children's Bulletin for April 22, 2012
10 And he said, “Behold, I am making a covenant. Before all your people I will do marvels, such as have not been created in all the earth or in any nation. And all the people among whom you are shall see the work of the Lord, for it is an awesome thing that I will do with you.
11 “Observe what I command you this day. Behold, I will drive out before you the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 12 Take care, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land to which you go, lest it become a snare in your midst. 13 You shall tear down their altars and break their pillars and cut down their Asherim 14 (for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God), 15 lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and when they whore after their gods and sacrifice to their gods and you are invited, you eat of his sacrifice, 16 and you take of their daughters for your sons, and their daughters whore after their gods and make your sons whore after their gods.
17 “You shall not make for yourself any gods of cast metal.
18 “You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month Abib, for in the month Abib you came out from Egypt. 19 All that open the womb are mine, all your male livestock, the firstborn of cow and sheep. 20 The firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, or if you will not redeem it you shall break its neck. All the firstborn of your sons you shall redeem. And none shall appear before me empty-handed.
21 “Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest. In plowing time and in harvest you shall rest. 22 You shall observe the Feast of Weeks, the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the year's end. 23 Three times in the year shall all your males appear before the Lord God, the God of Israel. 24 For I will cast out nations before you and enlarge your borders; no one shall covet your land, when you go up to appear before the Lord your God three times in the year.
25 “You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with anything leavened, or let the sacrifice of the Feast of the Passover remain until the morning. 26 The best of the firstfruits of your ground you shall bring to the house of the Lord your God. You shall not boil a young goat in its mother's milk.”
27 And the Lord said to Moses, “Write these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” 28 So he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights. He neither ate bread nor drank water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.
29 When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God. 30 Aaron and all the people of Israel saw Moses, and behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him. 31 But Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the leaders of the congregation returned to him, and Moses talked with them. 32 Afterward all the people of Israel came near, and he commanded them all that the Lord had spoken with him in Mount Sinai. 33 And when Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face.
34 Whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with him, he would remove the veil, until he came out. And when he came out and told the people of Israel what he was commanded, 35 the people of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses' face was shining. And Moses would put the veil over his face again, until he went in to speak with him. (ESV)