Exodus 34

These small group studies of Exodus contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, and applications.  Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.

Exodus 34 Inductive Bible Study

Outline:

I. Moses prepares two stone tablets to take up to Mt. Sinai. (1-4)

II. God descends the mountain and describes Himself to Moses (5-7)

III. Moses intercedes for the people the fourth time (8-9)

IV. Covenant renewed: Make no covenant with the peoples of the land (10-17)

V. Review of the basic parts of the Israelites’ covenant responsibilities. (18-28)

VI. Moses’ face is shining (29-35)

I. Moses prepares two stone tablets to take up to Mt. Sinai. (1-4)

Why did Moses need to cut out more stone tablets? What was God going to do with these? What does this show us about God’s character? Why was no other man or animal to go on the mountain? What does verse five mean that the LORD stood with Him while he called on the name of the LORD?

1. God’s commands had been broken. The people had rebelled against him and broken the covenant. They did not deserve to receive again the words of God. They did not deserve to have their leader meet with God again. They did not deserve God’s time, attention, blessings, or care. They did deserve to remain in their sin. They did deserve to remain separated from God’s love. They did deserve to be left to fend for themselves with God not in their midst having left them. But God did not abandon or forget them. He gave them a hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11. He once again made Himself known to them and agreed to approach them. The statement is true that God is a God of second chances. Examples in Scripture? Jonah, David, Peter, and one that maybe you don’t know about Manasseh, 2nd Chronicles 33:10-20. God didn’t turn away from the Jews and say “You’ve already broken my commandments. I will not give them to you again. “ almost the verse not to throw your pearls before swine. God would have been justified in having this reaction, but He chose to show them grace and mercy, to give them hope, to give them a second chance. The great lesson for us here is not to live in the past. Maybe you broke God’s commands  before like the Jews did here. But God wants you to stand up, confess, and strive once again to obey them the next time. Do not despair and think that God has left you and you can never turn around and turn back to God. While there is breath, there is always hope.

2. However, notice that God wasn’t going to change His commands. He wasn’t going to lower His standards. He wasn’t going to make them easier to follow. He was willing to forgive and extend His grace, but He wasn’t willing to move or compromise. The commands were the same. If you want to come back to God again, you must do it on His terms. Most of the time, that means giving up those things that made you turn away from God in the first place. For the Jews that meant giving up the golden calf. For you, it might mean giving up a relationship, a job, or another source of temptation.

3. No person or animal was to be anywhere on the mountain. This was an important reminder that it wasn’t a casual meeting. This was a meeting with the Most High. It was a holy meeting and therefore no one else was allowed. God met with Moses on His terms.

II. God descends the mountain and describes Himself to Moses (5-7)

Who made the statement in verses 6-7?. When a person describes himself, what kinds of facts will he normally mention (the ones important that encompasses who he is)? How does God describe Himself? Do any of these stand out to you? Everybody choose one of these characteristics and give either a testimony or example from Scripture of how God has shown this to be true. Do any of these characteristics surprise you or seem out of place? If we describe God’s character (or gospel) to others, how should we describe Him? Will God punish children/grandchildren for his ancestors sins? If not, what do these verses mean?

1. Verse 5 almost appears that the LORD descended to be next to Moses just as Moses was calling out to Him. He came immediately and with no delay.

2. When YHWH arrived to the meeting He came in a pillar of cloud as was His custom. In a normal meeting a higher up person might have a lower person make an introduction for them. Here because Moses and God meet one to one, God makes the introduction. These verses are important because the include statements that God made about Himself. Let’s imagine now, you are introducing yourself to us for the first time. Tell us several sentences about yourself. Try to two or three people.

Normally when you meet someone and they ask about you, you will tell them the things you consider the most important. Also you will mention facts that are relevant to the hearers (for example if a doctor introduces himself to a doctor I would imagine he would tell about his medical study history, a businessperson might describe his rise to fame, a meeting with a young couple and I might describe my family, a meeting with another M and I might describe a little about my ministry.

Now imagine you are introducing God to someone who doesn’t know Him. You have 20-30 seconds. What do you say?

What kind of meeting is this? Spiritual. Since this is the most important realm in life and God doesn’t waste time with lesser things it is fair to say that every meeting God has is spiritual in nature. So what did God say about Himself? Discuss each one. We see here God’s loving side including: mercy, compassion, grace. We see His care for multitudes. We see His forgiveness of sins. This is the same side of God you will normally see in mega churches and gospel meetings. God is like this. But there is another side mentioned. His truth and judgment. These merciful qualities are grounded in truth. He is merciful, but He is not all including or all accepting. He doesn’t throw truth away for the sake of showing kindness. Also, He is merciful, but not at the expense of justice.

Deuteronomy 24:16, Ezekiel 18:19-32 (Children were not to be punished for parents.

To fully understand who God is, we must understand both sides. He clearly thinks both are paramount to His very being since He included both when describing Himself to Moses. We should do Him the same courtesy (and honesty) by describing all aspects of His nature to others with equal importance and not shirking any part of them. God does not seek to hide His own character and we must not either. He is who He is with no excuses. As believers, we would do well to emulate these characteristics and put them into practice without apology.

Discuss the exact meaning of verse 7.

III. Moses intercedes for the people the fourth time (8-9)

What was Moses’ reaction to God’s statement? How do many people in the world today react to God’s Word and God Himself? How must we react? What then did Moses do next? How many times has he interceded already for the people? Have you made any changes in your own prayer life to intercede for others more since we have been learning about Moses doing this?

1. Notice Moses’ response when God revealed Himself and His character. Moses bowed down to worship. It says he “made haste” to do this. This implies it was urgent and important. Have you ever “made haste” to worship God or to thank God. We should. For us, these things are sometimes reserved until Sundays. But actually anytime we meet with God and learn of His character we should worship. This is important and we must take it as a priority.

2. Notice also that Moses once again intercedes for his people. This is the FOURTH time he has interceded for them in these three chapters. Why does he intercede for them so much? Because they are important to him. This brings us to the same question as last week. Are you interceding for others more than you were 3 weeks ago? We know what it means to intercede. We have seen the biblical precedent for interceding. We have seen the effects of intercession, the motivation for intercession, and God’s response to intercession. All that is left now is to apply what we have learned. Make it a priority to intercede for others.

IV. Covenant renewed: Make no covenant with the peoples of the land (10-17)

What is unique about the miracles that God does (only He can do them!)?

What does He say His miracles are a “fearful” thing?

What was His first warning for them upon entering the Promised Land? Why? What would be the result of disobedience? What applications can we make from this?

What might the surrounding nations say to pressure them to live together, marry together, worship together, and conform to their customs?

What do worldly people say to Christians today to try to get us to be like them? What should our response be?

1. The miracles God would do are unique. They are unique because only He can do them! Miracles only exist when God Himself does them. Therefore by nature any miracles are supernatural. In other words, these miracles are proof of God’s existence.

2. God described His miracles as a fearful thing. They to were inspire the respect, reverence and even fear of the people. Certainly the people who didn’t believe in Him should be afraid when they see these types of miracles. They people who did should also fear what will happen if they disobey God. God’s wonders certainly can make us feel small and inadequate and amazed with His power.

3. Once again God reminded the people not to make a covenant with the people. Review the reasons why.

4. I can imagine that the other nations tried to get them to compromise these standards. There would likely be a father with several daughters whom he wanted to marry off. He would approach a respectable Jew and offer his daughter to his son in exchange for a dowry. Or maybe his daughter loved a Hebrew man so the father tried to get the other father to allow them to marry. The Jewish father would decline based on this command. The man might say “Come on. Both are flesh and blood. See our children. We are alike. Let them marry.” Or “Can’t you see they are in love? What can it hurt?” Or “Let them marry. Your son can still worship the LORD. It doesn’t matter. Our religion has room for all beliefs in it.” Etc. etc.

Today an upright Christian might face similar kinds of peer pressures. “Everybody is doing it. Who will find out? Come on. Don’t be weird. What kind a Jesus freak are you? Your own God is forgiving, right? He will forgive you.” But it doesn’t matter what they say or what the reason is, we must not compromise. This was one thing that made those Jews who obeyed so reprehensible to non-Jews. But don’t worry, greater is He who is in us, then those who are in the world. We don’t need to fear them.

V. Review of the basic parts of the Israelites’ covenant responsibilities. (18-28)

Why does God repeat the commands here since He already gave them before? What does this tell us about why repetition is necessary? What were the core principles of the covenant? This time you guys need to explain the purpose/background/applications of each of these commands as review of when we discussed them before.

What was Moses to do with the words he received from God? Why write (ask a newbie)?

1. These verses are mostly a review of the covenant obligations of the Jews that we learned about ten to fifteen chapters ago. It would not be necessary to review if no mistakes were ever made. For example a person learning English doesn’t need to review if he learns it on the first try. The same is true for any subject. There would be no need to ever review these commands of God if the people kept them perfectly. However, the people had just broken the covenant (shortly after affirming that they would do all of it.) Therefore God reviews over the basics. If the people are truly repentant and want to turn back to God they must follow these principles. Go over one by one letting the comers describe each command.

VI. Moses’ face is shining (29-35)

Why do you think Moses face was shining this time, but it is not mentioned the last time? Why was his face shining? What does this tell us about his interaction with God? How might our lives be different after spending time with God? Will people be able to notice this difference as they did with Moses? In what way do we “shine” before others? How can we ensure that our lives are shining (spend time with God, there is no substitute)?

What did Moses do about his shining face? Why?.

1. Moses face shone because of the time he spent with God. This could not be hidden from anyone. As soon as they saw him, they knew something special had happened. He did not leave God’s presence the same as when he went in. The same is true, albeit in a little bit different way today with us.

2. Truly spending time with God will change us. His Word Isaiah 55:11. Acts 3:10. We spend time with God by prayer and reading the Word. Basically, devotions. It would be impossible for Moses’ face to shine on its own. It is impossible for us to “shine” on our own. We don’t shine the same way that Moses did. Moses’ meeting with God was physically face to face. Ours is a spiritual encounter through the Word. Therefore our meeting with God, causes a spiritual “shining.” Php 2:15. Matthew 5:15.

From other parts of Scripture, we know that this shining should be visible to the world. Just as the people saw Moses and recognized something had happened, people should see us and recognize that there is something different about us. They should see that our character is sanctified. But remember that this doesn’t happen automatically. It can only happen when we spend time with God (and part of that time should be worshiping Him.)

One key difference is that with Moses, he wore a veil over his face so that the people wouldn’t see this glory. But we are supposed to do the opposite God wants us to shine out so that EVERYBODY can see the difference He has made in us.

Cross-References:

Deuteronomy 24:16, Ezekiel 18:19-32 (Children were not to be punished for parents.)

Study Exodus 35

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