TiO 45 – Exodus – Complaining and Choosing


The Main Idea

From Exodus chapters 17-22, Pastor Carolyn pulled out two incidents: complaining in the desert and God’s declaration to Israel that they were special to him. And God’s actions rescued the people and showed them that he truly loved them and had come to rescue them.

Warm Up Questions: (Choose 1 or 2)

Q1: What do you tend to complain about?

Q2: Who do you tend to complain to?

Q3: When do you tend to complain most?

Dig a Little Deeper

This week Carolyn walked us through Exodus 17-22. In these chapters we see the following:

Chapter 17:

  • Israel had no water: God provided water from a rock
  • Amalek attacked: Moses held up his hands (with help): Israel prevailed

Chapter 18:

  • Jethro (Moses’ father-in-law) saw God’s actions and praised God
  • Moses acted as a judge for the people but was overwhelmed by the number of issues to resolve
  • Jethro advised Moses to delegate his duties to others
  • Moses limited himself to only the very hard cases

Chapter 19:

  • Israel approaches Mount Sinai and God promises to speak to them

Chapter 20:

  • God gives Moses the 10 commandments

Chapter 21:

  • God gives additional rules and instructions to Israel through Moses

Read Exodus 17:1-13

Q1: In verses 1-7, what is the problem that the people of Israel have? Is their problem real? What is their response?

Q2: If the problem is real, why is it a problem that the people are complaining?

Q3: In verses 8-13, what is the threat that the people of Israel have? Is the threat real? What is their response?

Q4: What do you think are the lessons to be learned from the battle with Amalek?

Read Exodus 19:1-6

Q5: What is God promising to Israel? 

A lot of the chapters in Exodus that follow chapter 19 describe rules and ceremonies, objects to build and celebrations to have.

Q6: If you think about the rules (including the 10 commandments) in the context of Exodus 4-6, do they change the way you think of these rules and observances?

Next Steps

Pastor Carolyn pointed us forward from Exodus into the New Testament and our salvation in Jesus. Standing in the middle of the Exodus story the people of Israel had no idea about the coming of Jesus, but the authors of the New Testament books new the story of Exodus well and saw parallels to Exodus in the freedom story that Jesus brought to the world.

Read John 7:37-39.

In the middle of the Festival of Booths (Tents)—a celebration that was instituted in Leviticus 23 to remember the time during the Exodus that Israel spent in the desert living in tents—Jesus and stood up, quoting from Exodus.

Q1: To what did Jesus compare himself? What is the significance of this revelation to you?

Read 1 Peter 2:9-10

Q2: According to this passage, who are you in Jesus?

Like the people of Israel we have been set apart. No longer by rituals or laws but, instead, by the Good News of Jesus: news that promises to change our lives and our futures.

Pastor Carolyn recapped her message as follows:

When there is an absence of something in your life, seek the presence of Jesus.

Recall what God has done for you, and remember who you are.

Pray that God will fill your absences with his own presence and will remind you of who you are in him.

The Scriptures

In this section we are provide the scriptures referenced in this study. Some are core to the lesson, others can optionally be read and discussed as part of your time together.

Exodus 17:1-13 (NRSV)

            From the wilderness of Sin the whole congregation of the Israelites journeyed by stages, as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. The people quarreled with Moses, and said, “Give us water to drink.” Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?” But the people thirsted there for water; and the people complained against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?” So Moses cried out to the Lord, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” The Lord said to Moses, “Go on ahead of the people, and take some of the elders of Israel with you; take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will be standing there in front of you on the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it, so that the people may drink.” Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. He called the place Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarreled and tested the Lord, saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

Then Amalek came and fought with Israel at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some men for us and go out, fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed; and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands grew weary; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; so his hands were steady until the sun set. And Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the sword.

Exodus 19:1-6

On the third new moon after the Israelites had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that very day, they came into the wilderness of Sinai. They had journeyed from Rephidim, entered the wilderness of Sinai, and camped in the wilderness; Israel camped there in front of the mountain. Then Moses went up to God; the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the Israelites: You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession out of all the peoples. Indeed, the whole earth is mine, but you shall be for me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the Israelites.”

John 7:37-39

On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’ ” Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

1 Peter 2:9-10

            But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Once you were not a people,

but now you are God’s people;

once you had not received mercy,

but now you have received mercy.

Tony’s Freedom story:

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