Study Seven - An Emerging Nation on the Way to Its Homeland
Old Testament - Exodus 12 - Deuteronomy 34

  • Crisis Arises - We would expect crisis in a great migration. Strained emotions, deep fears, anziety, and insecurity plagued the hearts and minds of the people as they left Egypt behind them. The departure was swift and sudden and there was no time to prepare provisions and urgency demanded that they travel by day and night.
  • Crisis Permitted God to School the People in Trust - When the spirit of desparation and crisis engulfed these wanderers on the desert, God always stood near with light and with strength. Through his providential care, God instilled confidence in Hebrew hearts that he was able to provide for every need.
  • Organization Develops - The great migration demanded intricate organization. Pandemonium and chaos would have been inevitable without it.
    1. Rulers were appointed over 1000s, 100s, 50s, and 10s.
    2. A census was taken and each tribe had its designated leaders.
    3. The delegation of religious duties was precise
    4. Encampment orders were detailed and specific:
      1. Each family by its standards
      2. Each tribe in its proper place
    5. Breaking camp was systematic
    6. Communications system was orderly
  • Law and Legislation Appear - God's chosen people needed unique laws to speak to unique situations.
    1. People lived in close contact with one another
    2. People and livestock lived together
    3. Infant Israel was not ready for a final and complete law
  • Rigid Disciplines Introduced - If Israel were to fulfill its destiny, "to be a blessing", then discipline had to be a constant companion. When either the individual or the corporate body acted in such a way to as to jeopardize God's plans, corrective judgement fell upon them like lightning. Idolatry, willful violation of religious responsibilities, blasphemy, jealousy, disrespect for authority and insubordination all had to be treated as if they were cancers threatening the very life of the covenant community.

Lesson 7 and its symbolism:

When the Pharaoh of Egypt was finally convinced that it would be to his nation's advantage to be rid of the Hebrew people, he issued this command to the leaders of the Israelites:

" . . . Rise up, go forth from among my people, both you and the people of Israel; and go, serve the Lord, as you have said. Take your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and be gone . . ." (Ex. 12:31-32)

That order from the Pharaoh produced a massive movement of the chosen ones out of Egypt (Ex. 12:37ff). This historical situation is portrayed in this seventh picture.