The Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost

September 19, 2021

Order of Worship:

We conclude our series Exodus: Journey to Deliverance this week.Though the journey of the Israelites will continue through the wilderness for years to come, in today’s lesson they have arrived at Sinai. May the Spirit open our hearts to the lessons of the Word:

Exodus 19:1-6

  • Some commentators talk about last week’s lesson, when the people came through the water of the Red Sea, as the ‘birth’ of the nation of Israel; however, this moment at Sinai is equally (or perhaps even more) important in forming the identity of who the Israelites will be. This is the moment when God tells them that they will be his people, “a priestly kingdom and a holy nation” (verse 6). What does it mean to be identified as ‘the people of God’? What do the people of God do; how do they act? What binds them together?
  • God gives the people the Law at Sinai, the gift of instructions that set them apart. As God is holy, so they are to be too, and they will do this by keeping the Law. Christians often pit Jewish Law against the idea that we are saved by Grace alone, but for the Jewish people the Law was a means of grace. This way of living was part of how they were reconciled to God, to live in right relationship. Healthy relationships need boundaries; how have you seen this play out in your own life? What sorts of boundaries and limits does God set for the people; which ones do you think are still valuable today? What does it mean to be “reconciled”? How is the Church called to work toward reconciliation today?
  • The word God spoke to Moses is now being fulfilled: “I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain” (Exodus 3:12). This is a God who keeps his promises, a faithful God who is about to enter into a covenant with the people. “You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself” (verse 4). In your own life, where have you witnessed God’s faithfulness? What promises of scripture give you hope?

The people are about to embark on a 40 year journey through the wilderness, following God into the unknown. They will have to trust this faithful God to provide for them (through daily manna, Exodus 16) and lead them to the Promised Land.

Each of us is also on a journey; we are a pilgrim people relying on God’s providence for every good gift in our lives (James 1:17). May the Spirit continue to bless us on our way.

Shalom to you all,

Pastor Maggie Rust

*During this time of pastoral transition, we will continue to livestream worship to our Youtube channel; however, this week will be the last with online Reflection Questions from the sermon text.

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