Sabbath School Lesson for May 8-14, 2021

Overview of Lesson 7

Israel’s Exodus, or escape from Egypt, was the subject of study this week. The covenant of God, extended to the former slaves at Sinai, helps us see the divine grace available for our own emancipation from sin. Areas of study covered were…

  • the example of an eagle teaching its young to fly (Sunday)
  • the pattern of salvation of mankind through God’s merciful deliverance (Monday)
  • the significance of the sanctuary in teaching us about our redemption through the Messiah (Tuesday)
  • the kind of obedience God requires from His children (Wednesday)
  • the reason our own righteousness does not fulfill our covenant agreement with God (Thursday)

God’s instruction was especially needed at Sinai, because so much information about the worship of God had been lost during their years of slavery in Egypt. After seeing with their own eyes the many miracles God performed to set them free, it should have been the perfect time for them to receive some intense training about the plan of salvation.

Memory Text: ” ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.’ ” Exodus 19:4 RSV

The story of the Exodus resonates with all Christians, as we encounter the enslavement sin brings to our lives. The ultimate Exodus for us occurs when Jesus comes again to take us from this sinful world. But until then, our relationship with God brings us freedom from fear, worry, and many other negative effects of sin.

Sunday: On Eagles’ Wings

God not only promises to be our shield of protection, but He’s an active participant in keeping us from falling. Like the parent eagle, lifting its young up on wings of flight, we can soar with God to places on high.

By the time the Israelites reached Mt. Sinai, they had often witnessed times when they soared above their Egyptian enemies to places of victory. God was acutely aware of their helpless condition. As the psalmist expressed it, He knew their frame and remembered they were dust (Psalm 103:13, 14). Our heavenly Parent knows what we’re made of, because He’s the one who made us.

Before announcing His Law, God reminded them of His loving acts on their behalf. His concern for them was obvious. They should have been ready to learn more fully about His plans to redeem them, not just from their Egyptian oppressors, but from the enslavement of sin.

Bible Verses to Read and Discuss:

Deuteronomy 32:10-11 and Psalm 17:8

  • Why are we “the apple of His eye”?
  • When has God lifted you up, when you were about to fall?

Deuteronomy 1:29-31 and Psalm 103:13, 14

  • Why does God feel like a Parent to His children here on earth?
  • How would you describe God’s style of parenting?
  • How does His caring concern affect our desire to love and care for others?

Monday: The Pattern of Salvation

God’s pattern of deliverance has often been explained in the context of paying a ransom. That ransom price was the death of God’s own Son. We should greatly treasure all He has done, is doing, and will do on our behalf. He saved Noah from the Flood and, through Moses, He saved the Israelites from slavery. God reminds us of these saving acts, in order for us to have faith in our own deliverance from sin every day. The promises are real.

Exodus 6:6, 7 tells us that God accomplishes our salvation with “an outstretched arm and with great judgments”. The outstretched arm represents His loving embrace of mercy, and the judgments describe His miraculous acts that bring us His justice. Both mercy and justice are needed to bring about our salvation.

God expects us to show others the same mercy and justice He has shown us. The closer our relationship with God, the easier it is to be like Him. That’s why Jesus came in the flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). He wants us to see firsthand what it means to be merciful and just to our fellow human beings on earth. He left us the perfect pattern to follow.

Bible Verses to Read and Discuss:

Exodus 6:6, 7, Mark 10:45, and 1 Timothy 2:6

  • Describe how Jesus is our Redeemer who paid the ransom for our deliverance.
  • What did the experience with Moses at Sinai teach us about this transaction?

John 1:14

  • Why did Jesus come to earth as a human?

Tuesday: The Sinai Covenant

The covenant given to Moses at Mount Sinai represents the fourth time God showed this agreement to His people. Adam, Noah, and Abraham were the previous recipients of this opportunity to know God in a special way.

The plan of redemption was illustrated to Israel through Moses, after their time of bondage in Egypt. It came in three parts:

  • the Exodus itself, where they were physically brought out of Egypt so they could be free from slavery (representing our justification)
  • the giving of the Law to Moses on the Mount, so they could learn about and become like God (representing our sanctification)
  • the building of the tabernacle sanctuary so they could enjoy God’s presence (representing our glorification)

The sanctuary made it possible for them to have the fullest information about the plan of salvation up to this time. The Israelites had opportunity to experience God in a brand new way. The purpose of the sanctuary service was to teach them how our redemption works. It was to bring them as close to God as was humanly possible at the time.

Bible Verses to Read and Discuss:

Exodus 19:4

  • How did this event show them how we are justified, having our sins washed away?
  • What is the first step in our salvation and where in the sanctuary was this shown?

Exodus 19:5

  • How did their obedience to the Law show how we are sanctified, or made righteous before God?
  • What part of the sanctuary did they learn how to live holy lives through Bible study (the table of shewbread), witnessing (the lampstand), and prayer (the table of incense)?

Exodus 19:6

  • Where in the sanctuary was God’s presence actually experienced?
  • Why was only the High Priest allowed in the Most Holy Place?
  • When will we fully reach our glorification and be totally free from the effects of sin?

Wednesday: God and Israel

When God called the nation of Israel to be His special treasure, it was not done without their consent. We see this throughout Bible history. Noah’s family willingly joined their father in building the ark. Those who traveled and dwelt in tents with Abraham were not coerced to be part of his household.

In order to be part of the group of travelers that left Egypt, they too had willingly put blood on their doorposts and followed all the instructions Moses gave them in preparation to leave. So long as they obeyed God, He could join them on their journey and assure their safe arrival in Canaan.

This process is in effect for every believer even today. We must have faith in what God can do and express our love for Him by being obedient to His Law. This must happen to every follower of Yahweh, in order to secure our salvation and safe arrival in our heavenly home. This is our part of keeping the covenant.

Bible Verses to Read and Discuss:

Exodus 19:5, 6

  • What was needed for Israel to do, in order to be a holy nation?
  • Why is our obedience needed when we decide to follow God?

Hebrews 11:6

  • Why must faith precede our obedience?
  • How would you describe obedience in relation to our faith?

Thursday: Promises, Promises…

The Israelites tried hard to obey all God had asked of them. They proclaimed right away that they would obey all His commandments, thinking that their obedience would be their ticket to safety and a reward in heaven.

They had plenty of faith in their own ability to be righteous, and that seemed to be the only goal they had in mind. Their faith should have been in God and His ability to make them righteous. Their desire should have been only to know God better.

No matter how hard we try on this earth, our fallen, sinful humanity will never allow us to be the perfectly obedient people we’d like to be. Our attempts to “do right” are like “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). And unfortunately, those Moses led out of slavery did not understand this principle, and it cost them dearly.

Our promises to God can be shallow and useless without faith in God’s ability to make us righteous. We can never do it on our own. His promise to do it for us is the only promise we can trust.

Bible Verses to Read and Discuss:

Romans 9:31, 32, Romans 10:3, and  1 Corinthians 1:23

  • What makes Christ a stumbling block for some followers of God?

Hebrews 4:1, 2

  • How do we fall short of God’s rest?
  • How does Sabbath rest relate to this concept?

Isaiah 53:6, Isaiah 64:6, and Romans 3:23

  • Why isn’t our righteousness capable of saving us?

Friday: Final Thoughts

Besides Noah’s family being saved from the Flood, no one saw quite as dramatically God’s grace in action than the Hebrews brought out of Egyptian slavery. This was an ideal time for God to draw near and explain more of His covenant promises. Here are the three main points of the covenant God showed them at Mount Sinai. From Exodus 19:5, 6, we see these ideas…

  1. God wanted them to be His treasured possession, above all nations.
  2. They were to be a kingdom of priests, blessing and ministering to those around them.
  3. The end result would be a sanctified, holy nation, an example for other nations to follow.

From these points, we see the plan of salvation. Namely our justification, sanctification, and glorification. It’s a process that not only delivers us out of our sinful condition, but brings us right to the throne of our holy God.

Faith is always needed for the covenant to be effective. Works are merely the expression of our faith. This is the lesson the Hebrews were yet to learn, as they struggled to follow their Lord through the wilderness and beyond.

Next Week: Sabbath: Covenant Law

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