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Sunday School

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BACKGROUND FOR THE LESSON. Moses had led Israel to Mount Sinai where they would receive God’s law (see Exodus 19:1-2). God then instituted the Mosaic Covenant with Israel declaring that they would be His people if they obeyed His law, and all the people agreed to do whatever the LORD commanded (see Exodus 19:5-8). But before receiving the law, there had to be a period of spiritual preparation. Moses directed the people to sanctify or separate themselves from all sinful defilement. This inward purification was symbolized by the washing of their clothes (see Exodus 19:10-11). On the third day, the people were to be prepared because the LORD would come down before them on Mount Sinai (see Exodus 19:11). After receiving these instructions from the LORD, Moses went down from Mount Sinai to prepare the people to hear from God (see Exodus 19:14-19). Then the LORD called Moses back to the top of the mountain to remind him not to allow the people to break through the barriers that had been set up to keep them away from God’s presence and Mount Sinai. Moses told the LORD that the people had already been warned so God told him to go back down to the people and Moses obeyed (see Exodus 19:20-25). At this point, God gives the people the Ten Commandments orally (see Exodus 20:1-17). These words were spoken by God and were heard by all the people (see Deuteronomy 5:22). Then, God gave Moses laws regarding master and servant relationships (see Exodus 21:1-11) and laws for judging personal injuries (see Exodus 21:1-27) including those caused by a person’s animals (see Exodus 21:28-36). In Exodus 22:1-15, God gave laws designed to judge property rights, and in verses 16-24, laws were given to judge crimes committed against humanity including usury or charging exorbitant interest (see Exodus 22:25-27). Chapter 22 concludes with God commanding that offerings be made to Him (see Exodus 22:28-30). We should be reminded that at Mount Sinai the set of laws and regulations God gave Israel were for them to live by once they entered the Promised Land. These laws revealed the need for honesty and compassion in Jewish life. Even though Christians are not under the law that God gave to Israel (see Romans 6:14), He still expects us to uphold the principles on which those laws were based because they reflect God’s very nature. Our lesson this week comes from chapter 23.

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