Read the full story here (Exodus Chapters 19-20, 32-24)
God speaks from the mountain
(Exodus 19 & Deuteronomy 18:15-19)
When the people arrived at the mountain Sinai, they camped in front of it. God's holy presence was on the mountain. There was a thick cloud, thunder, lightning and earthquakes. The people were terrified and they were warned not to touch the mountain or they would die.
An unholy people cannot come near to a holy God. Only Moses was allowed to go up the mountain on behalf of the people. (Exodus 33:7-11)
But God insisted He would continue to remove the barrier of sin and provide a way for His people to be near Him:
"My people, you yourselves have seen what I did to your enemy, and how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. Keep my covenant, and you will be my holy nation for the world to see." (Exodus 19:4-6)
God’s heart is for all nations to believe and worship Him. To help His people live and reflect all these truths, God gave them the Law and the Tabernacle (see Prophet Aaron).
(Exodus 20, 32-34)
The Lord gave Moses the Law. It included the famous Ten Commandments and 52 commandments of worship and social justice. These were clear instructions on how God's people should live with justice and purity, and display God’s glory to other nations. The people should trust God as their deliverer, not just through religious rituals, but also through loving God with their hearts, righteous actions, obedience and holiness.
The Law was NEVER a way to salvation through doing good works. This is impossible because every person has broken the Law. Many human religions teach us we need to do enough good things to be saved. But God’s revelation never said this.
God revealed to Prophet Moses clearly that no human has the ability to meet God’s standards. Our human righteousness can never fix our sin; only God can do this.
So what does the Law do? The Law gives us a glimpse of God's plan to solve the problem of evil and sin:
For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life. (Leviticus 17:11)
God would provide the sacrifice whose blood would be spilled for the forgiveness of sins and atonement for all our lives.
The snake on a pole
The people were in rebellion against God repeatedly, blaming God for the misery they had brought upon themselves. God sent a plague of deadly snakes (Numbers 21:4-9). The people cried out for mercy and help. God had mercy on them and told Moses to make a brass snake, put it on a pole, and lift it up in the midst of the camp. Any one who wanted to be healed only had to look up to the snake and would be healed immediately. It was as simple as that.
Why didn't God develop a new medicine? Why not require the people to work for a cure? God made it clear any solution to sin had to come from God Himself. There is no human remedy for human sin. Nothing but death awaited them unless God provided the remedy for us.
This incident in Moses' story later became a prefiguring symbol of the Messiah God had promised to all the porphets. The Messiah would be lifted up, and any one who wants to be saved only had to simply look up to the Messiah and believe in him. No human could work his way to salvation. We only have to look up to the salvation God has prepared for us and trust only in Him.
Pointing to God's final deliverance in the future...
The story of Prophet Moses is part of God's bigger story of deliverance of His people from slavery and bringing them into a whole new relationship with God. God's plan was to make His people a nation from whom the ‘Anointed One' (the Messiah) would come, the one who would atone for the sins of the world. God would reveal more details of His plan to more Prophets soon.
Watch the whole story
Your Response: Listen to God and Pray...
1. What surprises you most in the story?
2. What have you learned about God’s attitude towards sin and how He deals with it?
3. What have you learned about God’s heart for the people and nations of the world?
4. According to God's revelation in this story, what qualifies you to be accepted by God? How would you respond to God today?
5. Who will you share this story with?