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Sermon Discussion + Prayer: "Life Along the Way"

PRAYING THE PASSAGE (Exodus 34:10-28):

"This is what mercy looks like. God did the unthinkable. He pressed on with his plan. God’s plan is to bring them out and then bring them up.  God’s covenant points to a destination."
Heavenly Father, help me to recall where I came from, and to recall that from which you have delivered me – not for the purpose of guilt and condemnation, but that I might gratefully worship you for where I am now, and eagerly anticipate where I will one day be!

"God’s covenant gives us hope because we know that as difficult and as wearisome as sin and the world are, God is doing marvels, such as have not been created in all the earth or in any nation. Awesome things, like saving sinners from judgment, growing day by day to be more like Christ, and bringing them home to glory."
Father, deliver me from the temptation to be more aware of the fallenness of this world than I am of your sovereignty, goodness, grace, and faithfulness. Open my eyes and heart to your manifold goodness, that I might always enter your gates with thanksgiving and continually abide in your courts with praise!

"We need that truth every day. Heaven is my home; every day is one day nearer. And we get a taste of that truth every Sunday. Every time we gather, we get a foretaste of our heavenly home." 
Father, help us as a church family to prepare for, participate in, and leave every Sunday meeting with wonder – wonder that we are miraculously joined to one another as a dwelling place for God. Wonder that you never fail to reveal your love and grace when we gather. And wonder that this is but a glimpse of the glory that awaits us in our heavenly home.

"But God’s people have always been called to live in a way that is distinct and separate from the culture and have always been tempted to conform to the ways of the world. God’s covenant sets a standard of godliness and devotion to God."
Father, please alert me to any words, thoughts, deeds, or desires that conform more to the world than to your righteousness. Help me to enjoy what you provide, without a worldly affection or idolatrous dependence.

"God’s covenant with his people demonstrates his love for his people. God made a covenant with Israel through Moses so that they would be his people, so that they would know him, love him, and serve him. But as readers of the NT, we know that this episode foreshadows a story far more significant. In this covenant, you have peace with God through Jesus. You have every reason to invest your hopes, your labors, your joy in a kingdom that is not of this world." 
Father, help me to always read the Word aware of your glorious sovereignty and your great love. Lord Jesus help me to always read the Word, from beginning to end, in the shadow of your cross. Holy Spirit, help me to always read the Word aware that anything I behold, is because you have made it known.
Lord God, may the destination, standard, and love revealed and secured by your covenant, inform and empower every detail of my life, in preparation for eternity.

OVERVIEW OF SERMON:
The theme of these verses (and continued throughout the rest of the Bible) could be summarized as “God cares for his people and he cares how they live.” God’s renewed covenant points to a destination for his chosen people where he will display more marvelous mercies than had already experienced. His covenant also sets a standard for obeying his commandments, because he is a jealous God. Finally, his covenant demonstrates his steadfast love towards his people. This was ultimately and most gloriously displayed through the sacrifice of God’s own Son, which should give us great assurance that we are reconciled to God and daily motivate us towards seeking a nearer relationship to Christ. 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. Steve mentioned the value of rereading. As you reread this passage, what are some things that pop out more clearly, even since Sunday’s message?
  2. In light of what we’ve learned about Israel thus far in Exodus, discuss how this assurance of God’s mercy might have felt to the Israelites as they hear and consider what their sin should have deserved. How should that inform our view of God’s mercy through Christ to us?
  3. God’s covenant sets a standard of holy living: do not assimilate to the culture (versus 11-16). Discuss some practical ways in which we can live in our own cultural context to honor this command and devote ourselves wholly to God.
  4. The Israelites experienced God’s love through Moses’ intercession, but this ultimately pointed forward to the great and final intercession, Jesus Christ! What Bible verses, parables, etc. help remind you of Christ’s complete work in atoning for your sins and reconciling you to God.
  5. As we seek to honor Christ in our communities, how does Exodus 34:10-28 help us to reach those who have not entered into this covenant with the Lord? (Hebrews 3:1-6 may be beneficial to read)