Bible Studies for Life Sunday School Lesson for June 23

Here’s the Bible Studies for Life Sunday School Lesson for June 23, written by Bryan D. Gill, D.Min., Director of the Office of Faith, Learning and Vocation, Samford University in Birmingham.

Bible Studies for Life Sunday School Lesson for June 23

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By Bryan D. Gill, D.Min.
Director of the Office of Faith, Learning and Vocation, Samford University

GOD’S PROMISE TO MAKE A HOLY NATION

Exodus 19:1–8

In families with multiple children, there seems to be one child who is a rule follower and one who views rules as mere suggestions. This is true for my children. I love them both dearly, equally and unconditionally, but the quality of our time together and the benefits of our fellowship together depends on how well they obey their mother and me.

Nothing they can do will change my relationship with them; they will always be my children. But our fellowship is affected by their obedience or disobedience. I desire their obedience because I desire unbroken fellowship with them.

Remembering what God has graciously done. (1–4)

Reflection has become more important in my life with every passing year. It helps me to accurately recognize God’s faithfulness in my life — especially in uncertain days.

Reflection on the major events in my life helps me to see my place in God’s story. I’m reminded of the Hebrew word “zakar,” meaning “to remember” (Gen. 9:15–16; Ex. 2:24, 6:5; Lev. 26:42, 45; Pss. 105:8, 105:42, 106:45; Ezek. 16:60). Every time you see this word in the Old Testament, it is a remembering accompanied by an action. Often, God is the one remembering and then acting, but there are times when God calls his people to remember.

This concept of “zakar” is what God is calling the Israelites to do here when He reminds them of what He did for them in Egypt. Because of what God did, their response should be action and obedience.

God called the Israelites to be set apart for His purposes and glory. (5–6)

When I tell my children to do something or to refrain from doing something, it is because I want the best for them. However, my children often see my instruction as oppression and control. If they could only understand that I am on their side and want them to prosper, they might obey what I ask of them.

I think about this often when I think about the commands of God. God did not give the Israelites a list of rules to oppress them, but to help them to prosper — to become a priestly nation.

When God made a covenant, He always upheld His part of the agreement. Israel was God’s chosen people because He chose them, not because of anything they did or would do.

If the validity of the covenant was dependent on the actions of the Israelites, they would have never stood a chance to become a nation. While their disobedience didn’t affect God’s part of the covenant, it did negatively affect the benefits of the covenant and their fellowship with God.

God’s covenant with the people was conditioned on their obedience. (7–8)

Living in the 21st century, we have a unique perspective on Exodus 19:8.

We see the whole picture and know what happens after the Israelites said, “We will do all that the Lord has spoken.”

Time and time again, the Israelites disobeyed the Lord. They continued to break each and every commandment, proving their unworthiness of being called God’s chosen people.

However, God was unwavering in keeping His promises to them, for it was this very disobedience that confirmed their need for Jesus, as Paul writes in Romans 10:3–4.

The Israelites were not able to keep the law and so God, never breaking His covenant, sent Jesus to save the world so that we may live under mercy and grace and not the law.