Grace and Hope in The Pentateuch

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Grace and Hope IN

THE PENTATEUCH Anne O’BrieN God’s beautifully created, perfect world had become a world of wickedness. Things didn’t really improve after the Great Flood. The incident at Babel (Genesis chapter 11) shows their sinfulness; and how God divided the nations. We then read the genealogy of Shem – one of Noah’s sons (from where we get the word Semites and Semitic) and we see the beginnings of God’s Grace toward a people he would call out as his own).

Grace and Hope throughout the Bible – THE PENTATEUCH God’s beautifully created, perfect world had become a world of wickedness. Things didn’t really improve after the Great Flood. The incident at Babel (Genesis chapter 11) shows their sinfulness; and how God divided the nations. We then read the genealogy of Shem – one of Noah’s sons (from where we get the word Semites and Semitic) and we see the beginnings of God’s Grace toward a people he would call out as his own).

GENESIS – The Patriarchs If you turn to Luke chapter 3, you will find the genealogy of Jesus, and if you begin at verse 38 and work backwards you will see how the descendants of Adam lead us to the line of Shem (mentioned in verse 35). And then you will notice in verse 34 that the descendants of Shem were Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – often referred to as the Patriarchs. Abraham was a Semite and he was a Hebrew – but, at the time of his calling, he was ignorant of Godly things. However, God saw in him a man who was willing to love and obey him and to follow his commands. Abraham was called by God – which was an ACT OF GRACE AND HOPE for a sinful world. Read Genesis 12v1-3 Abraham’s promise was threefold: 1/ God would make him into a great nation 2/ God would make his name great 3/All people on earth would be blessed through Abraham To a man who was travelling to he knew not where, who was unknown and whose wife was barren (Ch.11v20) this must have seemed ridiculous to Abraham – and yet he willingly obeyed God. The apostle Paul makes it clear that Abraham received God’s grace through his faith (Romans 4v3-5). Abraham came to know and love a faithful God. Read chapter 17 verse 8 God promised an everlasting possession of the land of Canaan (later Israel) to Abraham and his descendants, based on keeping a covenant with him, based on grace – not on works. And verses 10&11 Circumcision of all males would be an outward sign of the covenant, a promise between God and their offspring. Verse 13 – again it is an everlasting covenant, an everlasting promise of a future. Read chapter 15v1-6 God promised that, through the yet unborn son, Abraham’s descendants would be as vast as the number of stars in the sky. And Abraham believed God because he had an understanding of the hope and grace that God brings. In due time (despite her infertility) Sarah’s own son, Isaac, was born – another step in God’s plan of grace for mankind. Read chapter 21v1-7 Chapter 22 covers the story of how Abraham was asked by God to offer up Isaac as a sacrifice. It is a story of the testing of both Abraham’s and Isaac’s faith – and for one purpose: It displays God’s intended grace for the world through Abraham’s line (seed/ offspring). Read verse 18. Isaac followed in Abraham’s footsteps and showed the same faith and trust in God. Neither of them understood how God was going to bless the nations but they had experienced God’s grace, so they believed what God said. In due course Isaac married Rebekah and Jacob and Esau were born. Read Chapter 25v24-34 Esau, as the elder brother would be the natural heir of his father’s possessions. But he did not understand or appreciate the responsibility attached to belonging to the line of blessing and grace. The last phrase we read says it all: Esau despised his birthright – he did not believe in God’s promises, unlike Jacob. So that when Isaac was on his deathbed, he was tricked into blessing Jacob and not Esau. Was this right or wrong? Apparently, it wasn’t about right and wrong, but about faith and determination to be in God’s line of blessing. In chapter 27 Verse 29 we see the blessing that Jacob received. Chapters 28 and 29 tell us how Jacob was packed off to Paddan Aram some 3-400 miles north, so that he might find a bride from within the family which God had promised to bless. On the way God repeated Abraham’s blessing to Jacob. Read chapter 28v10-15 Jacob marries Leah and Rachel and journeys back to Canaan. On his way he had a meeting with God. Page 2

Read chapter 32v24-30 Jacob would not let go of the Man/Angel/ God/Jesus? He knew it was God in some form. Jacob was desperate for God’s blessing and grace to be poured out on his life. The blessing came, “You will be called Israel, because you struggle and overcome”. So, Jacob was a Semite, a Hebrew, and now the head of the Israelites which were yet to come. God repeated this on Jacob’s return to Bethel (ch.35v10-12) and also gave to him the blessing he had given to Abraham and Isaac: that he would do a work of grace through their offspring that would bless the whole world. Of course, we know that he was referring to Jesus and salvation. Chapter 35v23-26 Here we have a list of Jacob’s 12 sons: Rueben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Joseph and Benjamin. This is the first mention of Judah, after whom the Jews are named, and which brings us one step nearer to God’s grace and the eventual line of Jesus. And Judah was a Semite, a Hebrew, an Israelite and the beginning of the Jewish race. Conclusion Step by step as we go through the Bible we will see how this line is continued. Why is this important and how does it show us God’s grace? Look at the people God chose and think why he chose them. Abraham - A Semite Unknown and unimportant, wife infertile. Isaac – A Hebrew The second son of Abraham, also infertile wife Jacob- Israelite The second son of Isaac, a cheat God didn’t choose the firstborn, he didn’t choose the best, he didn’t choose the best-natured or the cleverest. Then they would have earned their place in some way. By choosing the weak and the inferior he showed his grace. And he shows the same grace to us. Galatians 3v29 If you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise Like Abraham, we are accepted by God simply by realising his grace to us and walking in obedience to him.

Grace and Hope – EXODUS The Book of Genesis finished with Jacob and all his family moving to join Joseph (now in a high position) in Egypt, as a result of a famine in Canaan/Israel. But sadly, the Book of Exodus commences with the decline of their favour, following Joseph’s death and the reign of successive Pharaohs. So that we read how they are being treated very badly, as slaves. But, despite the conditions, God was blessing their numbers, so much so, that the Egyptians were worried by the threat of rebellion. So it was that Pharaoh decreed the death of all new-born baby boys in Egypt. But God saw and heard their distress. Read chapter 2 verse 24. And the result of this was Moses – hidden in a basket in the reeds of the river – and miraculously adopted by the Pharaoh’s daughter. When all seemed lost to the Israelites, God intervened in a totally unexpected, unforeseen, miraculous way. Moses was the man through whom God would show his grace to the Israelites. Moses was the only man who would have access to Pharaoh. He was brought up by Pharaoh’s daughter, he could come into Pharaoh’s presence and he was well educated, being able to read and write. MOSES For good reason, we are temporarily diverted from the line of Judah. Moses was born of the tribe of Levi. At that time unknown, God had elected the Levites to become the priestly tribe of Israel – as will be seen in Leviticus. Moses was to be a very important part of God’s plan to show grace to the world by formalising the covenant that He had made with Abraham centuries earlier. Read chapter 2v11-15 Moses – murdered an Egyptian, deceived people, got frightened and fled. But did God give up on him? No, he showed his grace, both to Moses and the Israelites, by pursuing him. Read chapter 3v3-6 and 16-17 This whole chapter explains Moses’s commission – but Moses is more than reluctant!! But, God did not give up on him. Page 3

Read chapter 4v1-9 and v10-13 God gave Moses 3 miraculous signs – the staff changing into a snake; the leprous hand; water into blood. So, Moses believed God, as did the Israelites when they saw the signs. Once again, we see that God – in his grace - chooses someone who is far from perfect, and in this case far from willing too! And, quite likely someone who was getting a bit frail. Moses was 80, and his brother Aaron was 83! There’s hope for us all! And so, in chapter 7, we see that Moses had returned from hiding in Midian,j to Egypt. And, with his brother Aaron, he confronted Pharaoh. But Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and despite the plagues that came upon them (recorded in chapters 7-11), he would not relent and let the people go. That is, until the occurrence of the Passover night. Read chapter 12v12-14 The symbol of the blood over the door was to be a sign for the Angel of the Lord to “pass over” that house, so that the life of the firstborn would be saved. This would be an everlasting commemoration – a time for thanksgiving, a time to remember how God showed his grace and salvation to the Israelites. This was the blood of a lamb which sealed the Old Covenant. The Bible says that we, as believers, have symbolically applied the sacrificial blood of Christ to our hearts and thus have escaped eternal death. Just as the Passover lamb’s applied blood caused the “destroyer” to pass over each household, Christ’s applied blood causes God’s judgment to pass over sinners and gives life to all who believe in him. It is a mark of God’s grace to us; given to us because we believe, not because we could earn it in any way. The blood of the Lamb is the good news for all people for all eternity. Under the New Covenant we are to remember Christ’s death until He comes again. The Blood is the greatest symbol and expression of God’s grace to mankind. Read chapter 12v31-36 Pharaoh couldn’t fight against the Lord any more and begged the people to go. The Egyptians urged the people to go – they were frightened for their lives. But we see how God used the Egyptians as vessels to show his grace to the Israelites – see verse 36. Favour has the same meaning as the word grace. So it was that the Israelites left Egypt with vast amounts of gold and silver (which becomes evident later in Exodus when they made the golden calf ). In Egypt they had nothing, in exile they had gold and silver to barter and trade with in order to provide for them in the wilderness. In the midst of their troubles God poured out his grace and blessing. Read chapter 13v19 Two hundred years after Joseph’s death, he had not been forgotten. But, more than that, his dying wish had not been forgotten. Joseph believed in the promise to Abraham that their descendants would inherit the land of Canaan. Moses also believed. He knew they were being called out of Egypt in line with God’s promises and that Joseph was a part of them – and so he took his bones with him to fulfil Joseph’s wishes. (See Genesis 50v24-26) Read chapter 14v13-22 and verse 28 We know this miracle so well, but it is thrilling to read because we see God’s miraculous hand of grace at work throughout. If you go out for a walk the day after it has rained, you get muddy boots. But, the Israelites crossed the river bed on dry ground. Amazing. Read chapter 15v27 First a miracle, which is then topped by grace. The waters at Marah were bitter and God told Moses to throw a piece of wood into the water which purified them. But, as a special blessing, he led them to ELIM – where they camped by refreshing springs and had shade from palm trees. This was an act of grace – a bonus they hadn’t expected. And God’s gracious provision continued. Read chapter 16v13-16 and chapter 17v6 It is believed that the total number of Israelites who left Egypt was around two and a half million plus their animals (this is about double the population of Cyprus). As a comparison, the largest refugee camp in the world today, currently has nearly a million people and they stretch as far as the eye can see (you may have seen it in Bangladesh on TV). Moses was effectively in charge of a whole country of people who were on the move. Without God’s grace and provision of food and water they would have perished. And God kept up the miraculous provision for 40 years! – see verse 35. God never changes He is the same God of the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Page 4

He has the same power to do miracles and he extends his hand of grace to all who come to him. He is a God of Grace. The following chapters in Exodus describe how the Lord instituted the Priesthood and gave The Law. We will look at the Priesthood in Leviticus and The Law in Deuteronomy where they are covered in more detail.

Grace and Hope – LEVITICUS Leviticus means: Relating to the priesthood. 1 Peter 2v9 says “we, as believers, are all priests” and therefore Leviticus relates to and is relevant for each person who has committed their life to Jesus Christ. Function of the Priesthood Priests enable people to have access to God. As priests we have a right to come before God at the altar, as did the priests of old. However, our privilege is far greater than theirs. They could not enter God’s presence in the Holiest place of the Tabernacle. Only the High Priest could do that, once a year on the Day of Atonement. But WE have a High Priest in Jesus. At the time of Jesus’ death the veil in the Temple was torn into two, so that Jesus took away that barrier which prevented man from going into the Most Holy Place. We now have access to God’s presence. Such is God’s amazing grace. SACRIFICE – Forgiveness and Fellowship CHAPTERS 1-7 Read Ch 1v3, 2v1, 3v1, 4v4, 4v13-15, 4v22, 4v27-28, 5v14&15 God introduced a system where people could find forgiveness from their sin. There were rules and regulations in Leviticus covering all eventualities and all people. The purpose of sacrificial atonement was to make it possible for people to stand before God without fear, knowing that they had been cleansed by the shedding of blood. These offerings were a “type” of the sacrificial death of God’s Lamb, Jesus Christ. Knowing this, we see how God was working out his grace and favour through these Levitical Laws. As well as the sin offerings there were fellowship offerings (chapter 7 verse 11 onwards), giving the people the opportunity for worship, thanksgiving, and a fellowship meal as they rejoiced in God’s grace. God also rejoiced with them – see the last sentence of chapter 1v17: an aroma pleasing to the Lord. Our need for forgiveness has not changed. Praise God, under the New Covenant He has made another way, through Jesus Christ who became our fragrant offering. And our time of fellowship and offering is precious to God, as it is to us. Read Ephesians 5v2 and 2 Corinthians 2v15. Living Bible: As far as God is concerned, there is a sweet, wholesome fragrance in our lives. It is the fragrance of Christ within us, an aroma to both the saved and the unsaved all around us. Chapters 8-10 – THE PRIESTHOOD AND THE ALTAR These chapters deal with the ordination of Aaron as High priest and his sons as priests and mediators of the Covenant. Priestly service was the work of all the Levites, all men from the tribe of Jacob’s son Levi – as were Moses and Aaron (so there were hundreds of them in fact). By God’s grace, God provided a way for the people to be put right with himself. Read chapter 8v10-13 The priests were consecrated and then they consecrated the altar and offered themselves in service. But the cross becomes our altar – purified by the blood of Christ. As we stand before the Cross, we are required to make an offering in acknowledgement of God’s grace. Our offering is not a sacrifice, but our hearts. Read Romans 12v1. In view of God’s grace, we should respond by offering ourselves to God – not just in words but in deeds, as a sacrifice. One thing is clear from Leviticus, and that is that sacrifices are costly. Jesus gave his life for us. What do we offer to him for showing us such amazing grace? Chapter 16 – THE DAY OF ATONEMENT This was designated the one day each year when the High priest could enter the most Holy Place of the Tabernacle. This was a most special place that housed The Ark of the Covenant, over which God’s presence dwelt. Only the High Priest, after being cleansed and forgiven, could enter this special place (at risk of his own life). It was the occasion when atonement was made for the sins of the whole Israelite community. It involved two goats – the sacrificial goat and the scapegoat. As one goat was killed as a sin offering, a second goat was set loose into the desert. The scapegoat carried the sin and the guilt of the people out of the community. Aaron laid his two hands on the scapegoat’s head, confessed the sins of the people on it, and then the scapegoat was sent into the wilderness, never to be seen again. Page 5

The goats typify what Jesus accomplished. He shed his blood to pay the price for our forgiveness. But we are also told that our sin is literally taken away and forgotten. See Hebrews 8v12 What amazing grace! Chapter 23 – FESTIVALS AND REJOICING In this chapter these are as follows (greatly simplified!): Verse 3: The sabbath – a God given day of rest and fellowship Verses 4-8: The Passover – a day to remember deliverance Verses 9-14: Offering the first-fruits of the Promised Land Verses 15-22: Pentecost, the offering of new grain and wine Verses 23-25: Festival of trumpets – or music and praise Verses 26-32: The Day of Atonement and sins forgiven Verses 33-43: Feast of tents to remember deliverance from Egypt These special days were a time of holiday and blessing for all Israel. They were times set aside for rejoicing in God’s grace. Read Colossians 1v12-14: We can share in the same inheritance which was promised to the people of Israel, as we trust in Jesus and fellowship together with his people. Read Chapter 24v1-3: KEEP THE LIGHT BURNING It was the job of the High Priest to keep the light burning in the Tabernacle so that all people could be forgiven. Jesus is the Light of the World. Like the people of Israel, we carry the olive oil, the Holy Spirit, so that we share in being the light to lead people to Christ. Praise God for his grace and mercy, both in the Old Covenant and in the New Covenant; and Praise Him that Jesus Christ fulfils all the requirements of the Old Testament.

Grace and Hope – Numbers Numbers does exactly ‘what it says on the tin’. There is a census at the beginning of the Israelites’ journey in the wilderness (chapter 1) and a further one at the end (chapter 26). Numbers reveals the rebellious heart of most of the Israelites, and so we see that it was only by God’s grace that they survived at all to enter the Promised Land. The Book is about sin and grace – but it makes us realise that God’s grace is working in the background, even when things seem to be at their worse. Chapter 2












Levites Benjamin




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Read verses 1&2 and v34: The Tabernacle was the focal point of God’s presence among the people. Everything about the layout was centred on, and around the Lord. The last verse of Exodus says: So the cloud of the Lord was over the Tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of ALL the Israelites during All their travels. The visible effect of the presence of God was there all the time. The Lord was to be seen as the centre of their community and the centre of their lives. What grace! And yet, despite all this proof of God’s presence, they openly disobeyed and grumbled and rebelled. Despite the undeniable proof that God was real and powerful, they dared to rebel. Q. Do we know God is with us all the time? Is he the centre of our lives? Are we focussed on his presence to help, or are our eyes turned away from Him – for he is surely with us, all the time. Are we aware of his grace and mercy in the good times and the bad times too? Chapters 3-11 – Many of the things written here are reminders of what Moses has already written in Leviticus concerning the priesthood and their duties. We also read how the people made life difficult for Moses with their perpetual complaining, especially regarding the food. Read ch11v1-3 And now read Moses’ prayer to the Lord in verses 10-17. God showed his grace to Moses by providing Godly men to come alongside him – and he blessed them with an outpouring of his Holy Spirit (v24,25) God’s grace comes just when we need it, when we feel like we cannot go on, when we’re on the point of giving up, when we cannot take any more – then we call to him and he answers. He doesn’t necessarily change the situation, but he gives us a special blessing and sense of his presence. Chapters 13&14 To encourage the people, God told Moses to send 12 spies into the Land of Canaan so that they could see the beautiful place that was waiting for them. So Moses sent out 12 men, one from each tribe on a 40 day reconnaissance. We know the story well. When they returned, 10 men reported giants and a formidable fighting force which would destroy the Israelites. Only 2 men, Joshua and Caleb, saw the beauty of the land and the provision within it. Caleb spoke out (13v30) and said that they could certainly take possession of the Land. Again, all the Israelites grumbled and talked of stoning Moses (14v10). Miraculously God showed his presence again – he was not pleased! He wanted to strike the people down. Once again, Moses interceded for the people and God relented (see 14 verse 19). They would not die, but neither would they enter the Promised Land. They would end their days in the wilderness and only Joshua and Caleb would go into the Promised Land taking the next generation of Israelites with them (see 14 verse 30). Sometimes God’s grace is shown in his judgment. What do you think of that statement? Chapters 15-19 In view of the people’s sin, these are more, timely reminders of the cost of sin and the necessity of the priesthood. No-one deserved God’s grace, but God had made a way for them to be forgiven if they were truly repentant. Messianic references in Numbers n Exodus 17v6 describes how Moses was told by God to strike a rock and that water would come forth. In Numbers 20v6-12 we see God telling him to speak to a rock to bring forth water. But Moses, in his anger, struck the rock twice – and in doing so lost his right to enter the promised Land. What was so special about the water and the rock (apart from it being a miracle)? See 1 Corinthians 10v1-5. The rock was JESUS CHRIST! And read John 4v14. The water was JESUS CHRIST. These verses explain why the ‘Moses and the Rock’ episode were such a big deal. n

Read chapter 21v4-8. Again, the people grumbled and God sent snakes among them and many died. One again, Moses prayed to God and was told to make a bronze snake on a pole. Anyone who looked at the snake lived. The means God used to rescue the people from the curse, was a picture of the curse itself. Jesus became a curse on the cross to rescue us from the curse of sin – shocking as it sounds Jesus relates the serpent to himself. Read John 3v14&15 And that was how John explained salvation in the following verse – John 3v16!

Read Chapter 1v44-46 and chapter 26v51 The numbers – the tribes, the clans and individuals are counted by name. Each one is important, each is known to the Lord. They were not just “the Israelites” they were personally known by God. We are known by God, each one as an individual. He knows our name. He cares about each of us. The number of men leaving Egypt was 603,550 The number of men entering the promised land was 601,730 Page 7

Over 40 years a whole generation would die in the wilderness, but by God’s grace their numbers were more or less the same at the beginning and at the end of their journey. God is full of grace, keeping his promises, even when we fail to be faithful.

Grace and Hope – Deuteronomy Deuteronomy means Second Law. The Book contains the words of Moses spoken at the end of the Israelites’ forty years in the wilderness. So that, in this Book he reminds the people of all the things God has done for them and required of them, culminating in a renewal of their Covenant with God, prior to their entry into the Promised Land. Moses reminds the people that God is Sovereign and that they have been chosen by him, and by the Covenant Oath they would come under God’s righteous judgment. The Book culminates in the call of Chapter 30v19: I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God. Listen to his voice and hold fast to Him. A Reminder of the Law The importance of the Law – Read chapter 4v1&2 and v5-8 Moses stresses the importance of following the Law when they have entered the Promised Land. The Israelite nation is to reflect the greatness and glory of God to the heathen nations. They are to teach their children (v9) and observe the Law – Moses will not be there to help them. Again and again, he reiterates and stresses the importance of obedience and judgment, but also of God’s mercy and grace. The nation deserved none of this – it was purely by God’s grace that they survived to take their inheritance. Read 4v29-31 The Ten Commandments – Chapter 5 Remember, they had nothing written down to remind them. So, Moses reminds them again (in obedience to God’s command in 5v31) that they must be learnt and followed and taught to their children. Read verses 32&33 The First Commandment the most important I am the Lord your God, you shall have no other gods beside me. Read chapter 6v4-9 If they remembered the first commandment they would follow the rest. Read Matthew 22v37-40 Jesus was showing how that all the laws were covered by those two simple commands: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind; and love your neighbour as yourself. If the Lord is not the centre of our lives, we suffer. Think about the following quotes: If God is not Lord of all, he is not Lord at all. Can we call him Lord, if we are disobedient or not living in his will? If we are not mastered by God, we will soon be mastered by things. Something usually takes God’s place, whether it be money, possessions, entertainment, other people etc. Two reminders: Read 7v6 and 7v12&13 The God we serve Again, Moses reminds the people of when the Law was given, and the Tablets were broken. How much grace did God show when he rewrote the 10 Commandments on stone, once again? How much did God love his people – and even those who came across their paths? Read chapter 10v14-18 God’s love and grace is extended to all. We are ‘foreigners’ in the Biblical sense, and God has extended his love to us. In Jesus Christ he showed his love and grace to the whole world. Read Romans 6v8 More reminders for when they settle in the Promised Land When we become Christians, we have the ‘promised land’ of heaven as our inheritance – and we become a part of that kingdom when we turn to Christ for salvation. So, these commandments for living in the Promised Land (from chapters 12-16) are also appropriate for us: n Worship at the Tabernacle (12v4,5) – the Tabernacle was to stay in one place. It’s important for us to regularly worship together with the same group of people so that we have fellowship with God and each other; so that we learn from the Word; and so that we can participate in communion together. n Do not worship other gods (13v1-4) – Even in church we can be more focussed on the music or the food, than we are on God! Page 8





Laws on clean and unclean food (14v6,9,11,19&21) These were given for health reasons. God expects us to eat healthily and not just eat what we like best! He expects us to look after our bodies so that we keep well. Tithing (14v22) By giving the first tenth to the Lord we show that we are trusting that he will provide for us. If we want to provide for ourselves he wont stop us, but we are more likely to miss out. As with all God’s laws, it is meant to bless us when we do it from our heart. Cancelling debts (15v1 &12) God made provision for people who would be living “on the streets” as a result of debt. They could become a voluntary slave to the people they owned money to, in exchange for board and lodging – but they must be set free on the seventh year. (This is why the Prodigal son, when he lost all his inheritance, went home to ask his father if he could become his slave). When God saved us from sin we owed him a debt. We should have become his slaves. But, in cancelling our sin, he also cancelled our debt to him. So that we are no longer slaves, but sons – WHAT AMAZING GRACE. Passover and Festivals (chapter 16) These times of coming together would remind the people of God’s great love and mercy and grace. They were opportunities to celebrate together, to remember that they were slaves who had been set free, and that they were a chosen people in the Promised Land.

Chapters 20-26 These chapters contain many laws, tying up loose ends. There seems a lot. However, if you have dealings with children you know they might say, “But you never told me not to touch it”! The Israelites were not going to have that excuse! Every detail was covered. At one time, Britain’s laws were solidly based on the Ten Commandments, and when we obeyed them God blessed us as a country. How relevant are the Ten Commandments for today? Blessings and Curses – Your choice Moses called all the people to hear the reading of the laws. He described how there would be blessings for all who kept the law with faithful hearts, but that there would be curses for those who disobeyed. This was a pivotal time in their history. They were about to enter Canaan. They would find a beautiful land, but they would also find opposition and difficulties. They would have nothing to fear if they obeyed the Lord and put their trust in him. But, they would take themselves outside of God’s protection if they wilfully disobeyed him. Moses made it as clear as he possibly could. And then he called them to make a choice – a personal commitment. Read chapter 29v9-15 It’s worth reflecting on our own commitment, especially during a time of sharing the Communion; and remembering God’s grace to us. A new leader chosen – Read chapter 31v1-8 Joshua was chosen, commissioned, and encouraged. More to come! Moses dies – Read chapter 34v1-8 Having blessed all the tribes (ch 33), Moses now 120 years old, was allowed to stand on Mount Nebo and view the Promised Land before he died. An unknown writer added that the Lord buried him, it is not known where. Only by God’s grace had he reached that place.

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The Estuary Elim Group of Churches are three Essex based Elim Pentecostal Churches in Ashingdon, Rayleigh and Southend on Sea with a shared Leadership team. We are a group of people responding to the love of God and the life changing message of Jesus Christ. Our services are lively with contemporary music, worship and preaching and teaching relevant to the 21st Century. To find out more about us visit Whether you are new to church, someone with questions or a committed Christian, we want to serve you and help you discover and fulfil God’s purpose for your life. If you would like an opportunity to email or talk to one of the team email your contact details to and we will get back to you. The Ashingdon, Rayleigh and Southend Elim Pentecostal Churches are branches of The Elim Foursquare Gospel Alliance (Registered Charity No. 251549) Page 10

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