Fearing and worshiping God
Passage: Exodus 20:18–20:26
Freed to be God’s people: a study of Exodus
Fearing and worshiping God–outline
Fear God so you won’t sin and so you will worship him according to his word
1) Due to their fear of the powerful displays on the mountain, the people beg Moses to mediate, 20:18-19.
What is God communicating to the people with this display of lightning, thunder, trumpet and smoking mountain before and after giving the 10 commandments? Can we now take God more casually since Jesus has come (Revelation 1:12-17)? The people beg for Moses to be the mediator.
2) Moses tells them not to fear for God is testing them so they will fear him and not sin, 20:20.
What is the fear of the Lord? Psalm 25:12, 14; 36:2; Proverbs 1:7. What does Moses mean by telling the people not to fear, for God has come to test them, that the fear of God may be before them? Does the fear of the Lord remain with Israel and keep them from sinning? What was the problem with the Mosaic (old) covenant? What does the New Covenant do that the old one didn’t? Jeremiah 31:33-34. How is this an encouragement to us, even though we still sin?
3) The people stand far off, while Moses draws near to the darkness where God is, 20:21.
Moses would go to meet with God where God would speak to him and he would write down what was called in 24:7 “the book of the covenant” (which is the content of 20:22-23:33). How does Moses prefigure or foreshadow Christ? (1 Tim.2:5; Heb. 3:5-6; 7:25; 8:6).
4) And the Lord tells Moses to tell the people that he has talked with them from heaven and they must not make gods of silver and gold, 20:22-23.
What can we learn about worship that is acceptable to God from 20:22-23 (in other words, what is acceptable worship based on, and what is it not based on)?
5) God says to build him an altar of dirt or uncut stones for sacrificial offerings in places where he reveals his name, 2:24-25.
What can we learn about worship that is acceptable to God from 20:24-25 (in relation to sacrifice, the plain altar, and remembering God’s name)? Talk about these things in terms of how they are fulfilled in Christ.
6) God forbids putting steps on the altar that they don’t expose their nakedness on it, 20:26.
What does nakedness symbolize in the Scriptures (Genesis 2:25; 3:7-10; Micah 1:11; Nahum 3:5; Revelation 16:15)? In ancient times, most people did not wear what we could call underwear. Even though priests eventually wore undergarments (28:42), there would always be the risk that a worshiper’s or a priest’s nakedness would be “exposed” to the altar. Why would this have been offensive to God? In what ways can this passage apply to our worship today? Revelation 3:17-18.
How does Hebrews 12:26-29 help us understand what needs to be true of our hearts to worship God acceptably? Does this truth minimize or magnify God’s mercy in saving us?