Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Lord Came Down in a Cloud

Release Time again.
Exodus 34

5 GOD came down in a cloud and stood there beside Moses and called out his holy name, GOD. 6 GOD passed in front of Moses and called out, "GOD, GOD, a Lord of mercy and grace, endlessly patient—so much love, so deeply true— 7 I keep my promise for thousands of generations, forgiving evil, rebellion, and sin. Still, I do not ignore sin. I hold sons and grandsons responsible for their parents' sins to the third and even fourth generation."

8 At once Moses fell to the ground and worshiped. 9 Moses said, "Please, O Lord, if you see anything good in me, please Lord, travel with us, hard-headed as these people are. Forgive our evil and sin. Own us, possess us as your own people."

Many years before Jesus was born in Nazareth, God's people, who later were called Israel, lived as slaves in Egypt, a country that was not their home. God heard their cries of pain and promised to take them out of slavery and bring them home to the land he had chosen for them. To help his people journey home, God chose a leader named Moses.

In between Egypt and their new home, the people had to trek through a wilderness desert. Moses followed God's leadership in leading the people out of slavery. But the people did not always obey. Just like us, many times they decided to do things their own way. Like us, they didn't trust that God's way is always best, even if it doesn't seem to make sense at the time.
  1. Before Jesus was born, what was the name of God's people?
  2. What was the name of the foreign country they lived in?
  3. Who led God's people through the wilderness? (2 answers)
  4. Does God ever make a mistake?
When his people disobeyed, God became angry. When this happened, Moses would talk with God and beg him to have mercy and forgive them. Time after time, God changed his mind and forgave. In the Bible passage we just read, Moses asks God for proof of his love and forgiveness. He asks God to go alongside them into the land of promise.
  1. When God became angry, what did Moses ask God to do?
  2. Do we get angry at God? If so, if that okay? Explain.
  3. Do you ever try making deals with God?
God had been with his people all the time, and he continued to be with them as they went through the wilderness into the Promised Land. But many years after Moses, God came to be with us in a way that was even more real. God came into this world in the human person, Jesus Christ.
  1. How did God come to this earth to be with us in a very real way?
  2. Why did God come to earth in that way?
  3. Is God still here on earth with us and in our lives?
  4. Explain.
In Jesus Christ we can know what it means to be loved no matter what we do or who we are. In Christ, we learn God's love comes to us as a gift without any cost to us. Moses asked God to be with his people and to accept them for his own. In Jesus Christ, God indeed is with us wherever we are, in whatever we do. In Christ, we become the People of God.
  1. If someone gives us a gift, what do we need to do for it to belong to us?
  2. God gives us his love as a gift. How do we make God's love our own?

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