Exodus 19 describes Israel arriving at Sinai. This chapter is important for understanding the events at Sinai, where Israel spent over two years (Numbers 10:11). God addressed the people as “the house of Jacob. . . the people of Israel . . .” (Exodus 19:3) as a way to remind them that they were the people of the covenant, the descendants of Abraham. What was about to happen at Sinai was not a new covenant with the people but an extension of the covenant God made with Abraham.Continue reading ISRAEL AT SINAI
From the moment the Israelites left Egypt, danger followed them all the way. Between the Egyptian army pursuing them and the dangers in the wilderness, the Israelites were a crowd of scared, tired people. They had seen God’s power in Egypt, but they were walking into the unknown. Seeing the cloud during the day and the column of fire during the night was probably a great comfort. The pillar of cloud and fire functioned as a reminder of God’s guiding and protective care, shown in Exodus 14:19, the pillar interposed between Israel and the pursuing Egyptian army, striking fear into the camp of Egypt and encouraging the Israelites.Continue reading JESUS AND THE PLLLAR
This quote is part of the Bible’s earliest record of God. The Hebrew people leaving Egypt understood God as a devouring fire (Exodus 24:17), especially when Moses entered the mist on top of Mount Sinai to receive God’s commandments. Moses spoke of God as a devouring fire (Deuteronomy 4:24) when he explained to the people why he, their leader for forty years, could not enter the promised land with them.Continue reading HOW IS GOD A “DEVOURING FIRE”?
We sometimes think of the Old Testament as a book in which God makes repeated appearances of many kinds. But when we put a time line next to the account, we quickly realize that God’s manifest presence was far more rare and purposeful than we realized. The last time God made a direct appearance in Genesis he visited Jacob in a dream (46:1-7) and assured him his family would become “a great nation” while in Egypt (v. 3). Over four hundred years would pass before God would make another recorded appearance. Continue reading SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (MOUNT SINAI)
Both mesmerizing and mysterious, fire represents combustion, a chemical reaction that releases both heat and light. Today, fire seems to be at our fingertips-we just need to turn on the stove or light a match. Because we no longer have to work to get it, most of us take fire for granted. Yet we rely on fire for light, warmth, cooking, manufacturing, and refining. Fire figures into the Bible in numerous ways-in daily life, religious ceremony, Continue reading BIBLE SIGNS AND SYMBOLS (FIRE)
Although most Westerners would think of mountains and hills as very different from one another, in the biblical landscape the two terms were used almost interchangeably. We often see mountains and hills used in parallel to illustrate the same idea. For instance, in Psalm 114 we read, “The mountains jumped like rams. The hills jumped like lambs” (v. 4). The two terms are not contrasted, but rather represent the same idea.