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9. Wanderings and war

My notes for teaching the Old Testament, by Mama Brenda.

Leaders’ notes: Lesson 9 - Wanderings and war

This study covers: Exodus 15:22-19:25; 39:32-40:38.

Numbers 1:1-4:49; 10:11-14:45; 16:1-17:12; 20:1-27:23; 31:1-36:13.

Deuteronomy 1:1-4:49; 7:1-11:32; 31:1-34:12.

“Theologically, the tabernacle as a dwelling place of God on earth is of immense importance, as being the first in the series: tabernacle, Temple, the incarnation, the body of the individual believer, the church.”

(From the Illustrated Bible Dictionary, IVP, Leicester, 1998 edition, Part 3/Tabernacle).

In the stories we are looking at today we think of this new portable building Moses is instructed to project build, the tabernacle. We do not realise and feel the significance of this in the lives of the Israelite people. God was seen to be with them. From our standpoint 3,000 years later we need to take into our thinking the series mentioned in the quote above. The tabernacle in the wilderness, then the Temple that Solomon built, followed by the Incarnation of Jesus - God in human flesh - the God/Man, then the indwelling Holy Spirit in the the believer, and finally the presence of God seen in the gathered community of believers. You may want to think that over. It may fit in today’s lesson. It may fit when we come to Solomon. It may fit when the prophets are calling the people to show God in their lives.

Back to this lesson.

We will look at all the passages in two ways which will help us absorb the details and history:

1. the geography and the time involved

2. the major events

Give out notes or ask students to open their books.

Teach time and geography, making sure you are keeping the ladies with you.

Student's worksheet: Lesson 9 - Wanderings and war

This study covers: Exodus 15:22-19:25; 39:32-40:38.

Numbers 1:1-4:49; 10:11-14:45; 16:1-17:12; 20:1-27:23; 31:1-36:13.

Deuteronomy 1:1-4:49; 7:1-11:32; 31:1-34:12.

We will look at this true history in two ways: Time and geography

We pick up the story when the Israelites had left Egypt and experienced the miracle intervention of their God protecting them from their enemies, and killing their enemies.

Although the words desert and wilderness are used for the wanderings of the Israelites, the land was not desert as in the Sahara or Empty Quarter of Saudi Arabia, all sand and no life. The wilderness was a group of areas which did not support life, some oases, and land that could feed some animals and people for a while but not continually. Moses had spent 40 years looking after sheep for Jethro a bit further east in a similar area called Midian, which we know now as north eastern Saudi Arabia. See the map on page 2. Nomads in Sudan and Darfur have to keep moving on to have enough pasture for their animals.

Three days after the miracle of the Exodus, this vast column of people, belongings and animals were in the Desert of Shur, also called the Desert of Etham, and there was no drinkable water.

A month and a half after they left Egypt they were in the Desert of Sin, further south on the Sinai Peninsula.

Exactly three months after leaving Egypt they reached the Desert of Sinai, further south again, and camped in front of the mountain. They camped at Sinai for a good part of a year, received the rules to live by from God and celebrated their first Passover remembrance there.

On the 20th day of the second month in the second year after the Exodus from Egypt, so a month after the first Passover remembrance, the Israelites started to move from Sinai to the Desert of Paran, near to Kadesh Barnea. We have no more time details until 38 years later - 40 years after the Exodus - when the Israelites arrived in the Desert of Zin, on the northern side of Kadesh Barnea. In those 38 years they had moved around the Sinai Peninsula, camping and moving, as God told them by the pillar of cloud and fire.

At Kadesh Barnea again, they were at the southern end of the land God had promised them so long before. On this second time around they headed north-east skirting round the east of the Dead Sea, avoiding Edom and on to Moab, defeating King Og and King Bashan on the way.

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Leader's notes: Lesson 9 - Wanderings and war.

Get the ladies to find the information for each major event reference, and then share in the whole class. You may need to elicit information and help them.

You may think this is strange but it worked with my group. I asked them while we found the information in the major events, to shout out “Praise the Lord” when the Israelites praised the Lord, and to say “grumble, grumble, grumble” when the Israelites grumbled. You should hear a lot more “grumble, grumble, grumble”s than “Praise the Lord”s!

You may want to teach some of the longer references to save time.

Student's worksheet: Lesson 9 - Wanderings and war.

The lands of those kings (see page 29) were given to the tribes of Gad and Reuben and half the tribe of Manasseh to settle in, but the men had to continue to help the rest of the Israelites capture the whole of the Promised Land first.

Major events

Back to the story when the Israelites had left Egypt and experienced the miracle intervention of their God protecting them from their enemies, and killing their enemies.

Exodus 15:22-26 Three days later and in the Desert of Shur, at a place called Marah, the water was bitter and the people grumbled. God, through Moses, provided for them.

Exodus 15:27 The Israelites arrived at Elim with 12 springs and 70 palm trees.

Exodus 16:1-32 The Israelites complained again. ‘We had meat in Egypt. We are going to starve here.’ Moses told them they were actually complaining against God, not just him and Aaron. The community saw the glory of God appearing in a cloud in the desert, and God said to Moses “Tell them, ‘At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.’’’ So it was, quail came in the evening, and ‘what is it’, (the meaning of the word 'manna'), was there in the morning. There were instructions about how much and when to collect the manna, which the Israelites promptly disobeyed. They could bake or boil the manna, and it was God’s provision for them until they had celebrated the first Passover in Canaan after crossing the River Jordan and before they took Jericho. They ate of the produce of the land, unleavened bread and roasted grain the day after Passover, and the next morning the manna was not there for them.

Exodus 17:1-7 There was no water where they camped at Rephidim, and the people grumbled against Moses and queried whether God was with them. This time, on God’s instruction, Moses had to strike a rock to produce water.

Exodus 17:8-16 The Israelites were attacked by the Amalekites. Joshua led some men to fight the attackers and Moses goes up on a hill overlooking the battle. While his hands were raised Israel prevailed, but when his hands were lowered the Amalekites prevailed. Aaron and Hur put a stone for Moses to sit on and supported a hand each until sunset when Joshua won the battle. You don’t have to be in the problem to be active in praying for those who are!

Exodus 18:1-27 Moses had a visit from his wife and two sons, together with his father-in-law.

Verses 9-12 Jethro rejoiced in what Moses’ God had done, and worshipped Him. He also advised Moses that all the judicial responsibility was too much for one man, and he

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Leader's notes: Lesson 9 - Wanderings and war.

Keep going – it’s not 40 years yet!!!!

Student's worksheet: Lesson 9 - Wanderings and war.

(from page 30) ... should appoint trustworthy men to be judges. Only the most difficult cases would still come to Moses. You can only do so much. You need to share responsibilities if there is too much for you, or be willing to pick up responsibilities if you see someone else is overburdened.

Exodus 19:1-25 Moses went up the mountain to talk with God, and came back with a message from God that the people had to prepare themselves and be very respectful near the presence of God. In their enthusiasm they were not to rush and push into His presence because His holiness would consume them. That is our God! He is not a man, He is God. He is holy. He is pure. He is all powerful. He is all knowing. We can only approach our God because of the atoning relationship we have with Jesus Christ who is fully man and fully God.

Exodus 20:1-21 Moses received the Law from God. We will look at this next time.

Exodus 32:1-33:23 Aaron allowed the people to worship a golden calf in the absence of Moses. There was severe punishment.

Exodus 39:32-40:33 Some of the Law was specifically about the Israelites’ worship of God. Moses had established a Tent of Meeting where he met with God and the pillar of cloud guarded the entrance while they spoke. God instructed him in a very detailed way to make a Tabernacle which could be erected, disassembled and carried. This was completed and ready for use just before the time the Israelites celebrated their first Passover since Egypt. The phrases Tabernacle and Tent of Meeting were then sometimes used interchangeably.

Exodus 40:36-38 “In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out - until the day it lifted. 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 house of Israel during all their travels.”

Numbers 1:1-54 God commanded a census to be taken, in tribal order.

Numbers 2:1-34 The camp was organised in a square of three tribes each side and the tabernacle in the centre.

Numbers 3:14-38 The three clans of the Levites, and Moses, Aaron and his sons, made up the four groups who protected a side each of the tabernacle from other Israelites inadvertently coming too close to it.

Numbers 10:11-13 The Israelites moved from Sinai to the Desert of Paran, near Kadesh Barnea.

Numbers 12:1-16 Aaron and Miriam spoke against Moses. Miriam was punished and Aaron rebuked.

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Leader's notes: Lesson 9 - Wanderings and war.

Interesting details. God provided totally for them. They had the skills and the materials. Can you see God providing details in your life?

Student's worksheet: Lesson 9 - Wanderings and war.

Numbers 13:1-33 Spies are sent out into the Promised Land for 40 days. Ten reported that it was wonderful, but they could not go in, for fear of the people there. Two - Caleb and Joshua - said it was wonderful and “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” Verse 30.

Numbers 14:1-4 and 10 All the people grumbled. They suggested they needed a new leader and threatened to stone Moses, Aaron, Caleb and Joshua.

Numbers 14:20-38 God said those who had shown contempt for Him would not enter the Promised Land. The people would wander for 40 years until those who had seen God’s dealings with them, and rebelled, had all died.

Numbers 20:2-13 No water again. Moses disobeyed in providing water, and Aaron was complicit in this. God says that neither of them will go into the Promised Land.

Numbers 20:22-29 Aaron was succeeded as high priest by his son, Eleazer, and dies.

Numbers 22:1-24:25 Balaam spoke truly from God.

Numbers 25:1-9 Camped across the river from Jericho. Israelite men are sexually immoral with Moabite women. Judgement from God, and 24,000 died.

Numbers 26:1-3, 63-65 A second census, proving that those who rebelled had died.

So between Numbers 14:38 and 26:65, 38-40 years have passed.

See Deuteronomy 2:14-15.

Numbers 31:3-6 1,000 men from each tribe, so 12,000 men, were mobilised.

Deuteronomy 2:2-9; 2:24-25; 3:8-11; 3:12-20 the beginning of the campaigns to conquer the Promised Land, and the allocation of land to the tribes.

Deuteronomy 3:21-29; 4:1-34:12 Moses spoke to the people about obedience to God and His laws, renewed the covenant, gave the succession as leader to Joshua. He blessed the tribes, before climbing to see the Promised Land, and then he died.

Note: Exodus 26:1; 26:29; 27:16; 28:6; 30:22-25; 35:30-36:1. God given skills - some perhaps learned in Egypt during their 400 years there, especially early in that time when they were popular with the Egyptians and there would have been cultural interchange. Then three months after leaving Egypt and travelling they have all the things they need for these crafts.

Numbers 12:3 What a man!

Please read for next time Exodus 20:1-17, Micah 6:8, Matthew 22:37-40

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