OLD TESTAMENT - LESSON 14
Exodus 15-20; 32-34
- The Lord provides water, manna, and quail for the children of Israel.
- Aaron and Hur hold up Moses' hands so Israel prevails in battle against
- Moses follows Jethro's counsel to appoint judges and delegate authority
- The Lord meets with Moses on the Mount Sinai and gives Israel the Ten
- The Lord introduces the law of Moses.
The Lord Provides For The Children of Israel
- As discussed in Lesson 13, after the tenth
plague, Pharaoh released the children of Israel and they were led by Moses
to the shores of the Red Sea.
READ EXODUS 15:22-24.
- After the departure of Israel, Pharoah had a change of heart and took
an army in pursuit of Israel.
- As the armies of Pharoah threatened the camp of Israel, there was great
fear among the people and they complained to Moses, "For it had
been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the
wilderness" (Exodus 14:12).
- Moses responded, "Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation
of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day" (Exodus 14:13).
- Through the power of the Lord, the Red Sea was parted and the children
of Israel crossed over on dry land. Soon after, the Egyptians followed.
As they did so, the water returned and drowned the army of Pharaoh.
- Exodus 14:31: "And Israel saw that great work which the LORD
did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the LORD, and believed the
LORD, and his servant Moses."
Moses must have been a man of infinite patience.
- These Israelites had short term faith. Only three days after leaving
the shores of the Red Sea these people were murmuring about Moses, their
- WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A MURMURER?
- The Random House Webster's College Dictionary includes the following
definitions of murmuring:
- A mumbled or private expression of discontent.
- To complain in a low tone or in private.
- WHAT ARE THE DANGERS OF MURMURING?
- A little complaining may not seem like much, but if it is left unchecked
it can begin to erode our faith.
- Murmuring is often shared with others and can also erode their faith.
I have witnessed the effects of murmuring in my life and within a ward
family. In some instances, the effects of this murmuring have been far
reaching and have affected the lives of many. This is a serious matter.
We must do everything within our power to stop murmuring. We must check
ourselves and strive to keep a positive attitude.
- David O. McKay: "Let us watch ourselves and be true to the
examples set by the Church and the brethren and sisters who have sacrificed
their lives, their all, to build the Church and to advance the principles
taught therein. This warning is sometimes expressed in this way: 'Speak
not against the authorities.' What does it mean. Be not a murmurer; that
is what it means. It is one of the most poisonous things that can be introduced
into the home of a Latter-day Saint--this murmuring against presidents
of stakes, high councilors, Sunday school superintendents, presidents of
high-priests' quorums, seventies, elders, priests, teachers and deacons....
and yet because of his weakness, because, perhaps, of some little fault
that we see in an officer, we begin to murmur and find fault. Better stop
murmuring, and build up. Remember that one of the worst means of tearing
down an individual is slander. It is one of the most poisonous weapons
that the evil one uses. Backbiting and evil speaking, throw us into the
class of malefactors rather than the class of benefactors." (CR,
Apr. 1909, p67)
- WHAT ARE SOME WAYS WE MIGHT MURMUR TODAY?
- CAN WE DISAGREE WITHOUT MURMURING?
- HOW DID MOSES HANDLE THIS EPISODE?
- "And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree,
[which] when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet"
WHAT DID THE LORD DO ABOUT THE LACK OF FOOD? (see Exodus 16:4-5)
- First he had to deal with a stubborn Pharaoh.
- He had to deal with an unbelieving Israel.
- When they arrived at the shore of the Red Sea with Pharaoh's army approaching
they were ready to turn back.
- Only a few days after witnessing the miracle at the Red Sea, they were
murmuring because of water.
- READ EXODUS 16:2-3. After seeing the miracles
of deliverance from the Egyptians, the parting of the Red Sea, and the
purification of water, they are complaining over food.
- Little wonder these people are called the "children"
- One fact becomes clear through a study of this generation of Israelites:
Murmuring is an occupation of those who have little faith.
READ EXODUS 17:3-4. Israel murmurs again.
- The Lord said that he would rain bread from heaven.
- Israel was to gather enough for each day & a double amount for
- In Exodus 16:27 some went out on the Sabbath and found none.
- The Lord chided the disobedient: "How long refuse ye to keep
my commandments and my laws?" (Exodus 16:28)
- Exodus 16:30: "So the people rested on the seventh day."
- If they gathered extra for additional days it bred worms and stank
(I guess the principle of food storage was put aside).
- Israel lived on this food 40 years, until the first harvest in Canaan.
- Knowing this group of people, I wonder if they murmured about eating
the same thing for 40 years.
- There is an actual type of manna:
- It is the sweet juice of the tarfa, a kind of tamarisk. It exudes in
May for about six weeks from the trunk and branches in hot weather, and
forms small round white grains. It retains its consistency in cool weather,
but melts with heat. The Arabs, after boiling and straining, use it as
honey with bread. Where is it found? On the Sinai Peninsula.
- HOW IS MANNA A TYPE OF THINGS TO COME?
- READ JOHN 6:35,48-51. Christ, the living bread.
- Can you believe these people?
- WHAT DID THE LORD DO?
- V6: The Lord had Moses smite a rock and water came forth.
- WHY WERE THE ISRAELITES SO QUICK TO FORGET GOD AFTER HE HAD PERFORMED
MAJOR MIRACLES FOR THEM?
- The children of Israel were spiritual infants.
- Further evidence that the source of testimony is not signs or miracles.
- WHY DO SOME PEOPLE TURN FROM GOD WHEN THEY MOST NEED TO TURN TOWARD
- Some do it with conscious intent.
- Others simply become spiritually lazy.
- A personal story (2b).
Battle With The Amalekites - Sustaining The Prophet
- Moses sent Joshua out to lead the fight against Amalek (see Exodus
- Moses went upon a hill to observe the battle.
While a counselor to President Joseph Fielding Smith, Harold B. Lee
made the following statement: "I think that is the role President
Tanner and I have to fulfill. The hands of President Smith may grow weary.
They may tend to droop at times because of his heavy responsibilities,
but as we uphold his hands, and as we lead under his direction, by his
side, the gates of hell will not prevail against you and against Israel.
Your safety and ours depends upon whether or not we follow the ones whom
the Lord has placed to preside over his church. He knows whom he wants
to preside over his church, and he will make no mistake.... Let's keep
our eye on the President of the Church and uphold his hands as President
Tanner and I will continue to do."
- When he raised his hands Israel prevailed.
- When he lowered his hands Amalek prevailed.
- When Moses' hands grew heavy Aaron and Hur held his hands up.
ARE WE INVOLVED IN SPIRITUAL BATTLES TODAY? WHAT KINDS?
HOW DOES SUSTAINING THE PROPHET HELP US PREVAIL IN THESE BATTLES?
- The responsibilities of the President of the Church are heavy. President
Hinckley seems to be in excellent health, but in his late 80s his hands
must become heavy at times. President's Monson and Faust are much like
Aaron and Hur.
Jethro (Moses father-in-law) brought Moses wife and two sons to him
in the wilderness.
- As discussed in previous lessons, we are engaged in a war with Satan
that began in the pre-existence and continues today. There is a battle
plan that will insure victory. The prophet is our commanding officer and
has been provided with the battle plan. If we sustain the prophet, we will
follow his instructions and be so doing we will be victorious in this battle
over eternal destiny.
- Ezra Taft Benson: "So will we be victorious as we hold up the
arms of the Lord's annointed servants." (Ensign, May 1986, p77)
- Abraham O. Woodruff (an apostle at the turn of the century): "I
admonish the Latter-day Saints in all lands to seek the counsel of the
Prophet of God. Do not be disobedient; do not be rebellious. The spirit
of rebellion caused, we understand, one-third of the hosts of heaven to
be cast out. The spirit of disobedience and rebellion has caused many a
man and woman to be cast out of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints. The graver sins do not come into our lives all at once. Very often
men can trace transgression to the fact that they rebelled against the
Priesthood of the Son of God, and that they did not take the counsel which
the Lord had given them through His mouthpiece; and they did not end with
the spirit of rebellion and obedience, but they committed other great sins,
and finally lost their standing in the Church of Christ. This rule will
apply to us today, and I pray God that this people may ever be willing
to receive the counsels which the Lord has to give through His prophet."
(General Conference, Apr. 1899)
- READ EXODUS 18:13-18. Jethro observes Moses.
- Can you imagine the President of the Church or even the stake president
trying to perform this function by himself, along with all his other duties?
- WHAT DID JETHRO COUNSEL MOSES TO DO?
- Teach the laws & ordinances so that they might know "the
way wherein they must walk" (18:20).
- Place men, under Moses leadership, to be rulers of thousands, hundreds,
fifties, and tens (18:21-22).
- Moses would reserve for himself the judgment of the most weighty matters
- HOW CAN WE HOLD UP THE HANDS AND EASE THE BURDENS OF OUR PROPHET AND
- D&C 21:4-5: "...thou shalt give heed unto all his words
and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking
in all holiness before me; For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine
own mouth, in all patience and faith."
- According to D&C 107:22 the prophet is "upheld by the confidence,
faith, and prayer of the church".
- Jethro counseled Moses to teach the people the laws and ordinances
of the gospel. As we strive to do what the prophet has counseled, we become
among those who are helping in holding up the prophet's hands and not a
force in pulling them down.
- Alonzo A. Hinckley, president of the Millard Stake, was called upon
to speak before the General Conference of the Church in October 1904: "I
have always looked upon the Authorities of this Church as being servants
of the Lord. I can remember in my childhood when President Young used to
make his trips through the stakes. My father pointed him out to me as the
servant of the Lord, and I looked upon him as a Prophet of God. From that
day to this, I have looked upon the various Presidents of the Church as
Prophets of the Lord, and I have felt to sustain them, not only by my faith
and prayers, but by my works as the Lord should manifest unto me what there
was for me to do." (CR, Oct. 1904)
- HOW HAVE YOU BEEN BLESSED AS YOU HAVE SUPPORTED CHURCH LEADERS?
The Ten Commandments
- Israel arrives at Sinai three months after leaving Egypt.
The Lord reveals his basic commandments to Israel, the Ten Commandments
READ EXODUS 20:18,19. The people wanted Moses
to mediate between them and the Lord.
- Moses went up onto the mountain and the Lord spoke with him.
- READ EXODUS 19:5,6. Israel to be a chosen people.
- The Lord instructed Moses to sanctify and prepare Israel, for on the
third day he would appear to them.
- Moses went down to prepare the people. Evidently the people had not
prepared sufficiently for this great manifestation, for when the day arrived
the Lord said, "Go down, charge the people, lest they break through
unto the Lord to gaze, and many of them perish" (Exodus 19:21).
- Robert L Millet wrote: "As has been observed before, it was
one thing to get Israel out of Egypt, and another thing entirely to get
Egypt out of Israel! Indeed, the compelling drama of the deliverance, exodus,
and wanderings of Israel proved to be a tragedy, a story of lost opportunities--a
saga of things as they might have been." (Studies In Scripture
The Importance of these commandments.
- WHY DO YOU SUPPOSE THE PEOPLE WERE AFRAID TO HEAR THE VOICE OF THE
- The people were not spiritually prepared and had not repented of their
- Moses then went back and received additional instructions from the
We, as members of the Church, pride ourselves on keeping these basic
commandments. But are we as faithful as we ought to be?
- Mark E. Petersen said: "By his own finger the Lord wrote the
Ten Commandments on tablets of stone. They represent the basic law of the
Almighty and have formed the underlying elements of civil and religious
law ever since.
"They are fundamental to our relationships with God. They are an integral
part of the restored gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and are essential
to our becoming perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect.
"Variations of these laws are given in the rules laid down in Leviticus
and Deuteronomy as they are applied to specific matters, but generally
they form the foundation for all proper human conduct." (Old Testament
Student Manual, p126)
- Joseph Fielding Smith: "...the influence exerted upon civilization
for good that has come out of the inspired teachings in the law and the
prophets has mellowed and enlightened not only the Christian and Mohammedan
worlds, but to a large degree the world of paganism. Israelite jurisprudence,
formulated and proclaimed by Moses through divine guidance, has had a greater
uplifting power upon the nations than the combined influence of all other
ancient nations. Greek and Roman influence and culture have given to the
world much in the arts, but the moral and religious influences, the love
of right and justice over wrong and oppression, the love of home and the
unity of the family have come from the inspired teachings of the prophets
of Israel and these would have been abundantly greater had the people remained
humble and obedient to these inspired teachings and had they been fully
willing to forsake the pleasures and evils of the world." (The
Restoration of All Things, p136)
- Ezra Taft Benson: "All is not well with this basic institution,
the American home. In fact, it is in grave danger, if not in deadly peril.
There is convincing evidence that a creeping rot of moral disintegration
is eating into the very vitals of this temple of civilization. It gives
cause for great concern." (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p522)
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR US TO REVERENCE THE SABBATH DAY?
- Each of us should review these commandments and consider what we might
do to more fully live these basic laws.
- Example one: "Thou shalt have no other God's before me"
- This is the first of the 10 Commandments.
- Spencer W. Kimball: "Idolatry is among the most serious of
sins.... Modern idols or false gods can take such forms as clothes, homes,
businesses, machines, automobiles, pleasure boats, and numerous other material
deflectors from the path of godhood....
"Intangible things make just as ready gods. Degrees and letters and
titles can become idols....
"Many people build and furnish a home and buy the automobile firse--and
then they 'cannot afford' to pay tithing. Whom do they worship? Certainly
not the Lord of heaven and earth....
"Many worship the hunt, the fishing trip, the vacation, the weekend
picnics and outings. Others have as their idols the games of sport, baseball,
football, the bullfight, or golf....
"Still another image men worship is that of power and prestige....
These gods of power, wealth, and influence are most demanding and are quite
as real as the golden calves of the children of Israel in the wilderness."
(Miracle of Forgiveness, p40-42)
- Example two: "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy
God in vain" (Exodus 20:7).
- James E. Talmadge: "We may take the name of God in vain by
profane speech. We take it in vain when we swear falsely, not being true
to our oaths and promises. We take it in vain in a blasphemous sense when
we presume to speak in that name without authority. And we take his name
in vain whenever we willfully do aught that is in defiance of his commandments,
since we have taken his name upon ourselves."
READ EXODUS 20:12-17.
- READ EXODUS 31:16-17. The Sabbath to be kept as
a perpetual covenant.
- Isaiah 58:13-14: "If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath,
from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight,
the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine
own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:
Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride
upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob
thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it."
- D&C 59:10: "For verily this is a day appointed unto you
to rest from your labors, and to pay thy devotions unto the Most High"
- HOW SHOULD WE DECIDE WHAT ACTIVITIES ARE APPROPRIATE FOR THE SABBATH?
- HOW HAVE YOU BEEN BLESSED AS YOU HAVE KEPT THIS HOLY DAY?
Most of the Ten Commandments are listed as things we should not do.
- These are six commandments that concern our relationships with other
- WHICH OF THESE COMMANDMENTS DO YOU THINK ARE MOST DISREGARDED IN THE
- WHICH OF THESE DO YOU THINK CHURCH MEMBERS STRUGGLE WITH THE MOST?
- 7th Commandment: "Thou shalt not commit adultery."
- Brigham Young, quoting the Prophet Joseph Smith, said that sexual impurity
would be the source of more temptations, more buffetings, and more difficulties
for the elders of Israel than any other. (JD 8:55)
- Joseph F. Smith: "There are at least three dangers that threaten
the Church within, and the authorities need to awaken to the fact that
the people should be warned unceasingly against them. As I see these, they
are flattery of prominent men in the world, false educational ideas, and
sexual impurity. But the third subject mentioned--personal purity, is perhaps
of greater importance than either of the other two. If purity of life is
neglected, all other dangers set in upon us like the rivers of waters when
the flood gates are opened." (Gospel Doctrine, p.312-313)
- President Benson: "The plaguing sin of this generation is sexual
immorality." (Ensign, May 1986, p.3)
- We should consider these exhortations from the our prophets as solemn
warnings and remain ever diligent.
- HOW ARE THINGS CHANGED BY THE HIGHER LAW THAT CHRIST TAUGHT DURING
HIS MORTAL MINISTRY?
The Lord Introduces The Law Of Moses
- After the Lord delivered the Ten Commandments the people said: "Speak
thou with us, and we will hear: but let no God speak with us, lest we die"
The Lord said to Moses, "Now these are the judgements which thou
shalt set before them" (Exodus 21:1)
- Moses returned to the mountain to speak with the Lord: "And the
people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where
- Moses receives what has been referred to as the "Covenant Code"
or "Covenant Book", a set of laws given to Israel.
- This begins the Law of Moses which includes the Ten Commandments.
- The law of Moses encompasses hundreds of laws, rules, and regulations.
- The Jews have identified 613 particular laws as recorded by Moses in
the Torah or Pentateuch.
- Two types of laws in the Law of Moses:
The next several chapters contain laws that deal with such things the
sale and plight of slaves, the death penalty, lost property, agriculture,
and numerous other items.
READ EXODUS 32:1. Like children, Israel grows
restless waiting for the return of Moses.
- Eternal: Those divine commandments that have been given to most, if
not all, of the gospel dispensations.
- Temporary: Given for a particular dispensation. Similar laws may have
been given to another dispensation. They sometimes were given to test the
obedience of God's children, but usually had symbolic, physical, and social
values as well.
The sin of Israel.
- ISRAEL WAS UNWILLING TO WAIT FOR MOSES RETURN WITH GOD'S WORD. WHAT
RESULTED FROM THIS IMPATIENCE?
- The people went to Aaron and said: "Up, make us gods which
shall go before us; for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the
land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him" (32:1).
- WHAT DID AARON DO? (32:2-4)
- He had the people bring him their gold.
- Fashioned the gold into a golden calf.
- The people then said (v4): "These be thy gods, O Israel, which
brought thee up out of Egypt" (32:4).
- DO WE EVER BECOME IMPATIENT WITH THE LORD AND IF SO WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES?
READ 32:7-10. Up on the mountain, the Lord informs
Moses of Israel's activities. Moses pleaded with God that he be lenient
and not destroy Israel. (32:11-13)
- They had received commandments not to worship any other God's or fashion
images after them.
- Moses was receiving instructions from the Lord re: donations for the
building of the sanctuary. Aaron was taking donations for the building
of the calf.
- The people declared that the calf was the God who had brought them
out of Egypt (32:4).
- They celebrated a festival to the Lord represented by the calf. In
the Bible the word "play" has sexual connotations. (32:5-6)
Moses picked up Joshua and headed down the mountain.
- 32:14: "And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought
to do unto his people."
- The Inspired Version reads: "And the Lord said unto Moses,
If they will repent of the evil which they have done, I will spare them,
and turn away my fierce wrath; but, behold thou shalt execute judgment
upon all that will not repent of this evil this day. Therefore, see thou
do this thing that I have commanded thee, or I will execute all that which
I had thought to do unto my people."
READ EXODUS 32:26. Who is on the Lord's side.
- Exodus 32:19: "And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh
unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses' anger
waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath
- Moses asked Aaron why he was pushed into committing this sin. (32:21)
- Exodus 32:22: "...thou knowest the people, that they are set
- CAN YOU IMAGINE THE BISHOP REPORTING THIS BACK TO THE STAKE PRESIDENT?
- 32:24: "And I said unto them, Whosoever hath any gold, let
them break it off. So they gave it me: then I cast it into the fire, and
there came out this calf."
Moses returned to the Lord and pleaded for the people and asked the
Lord to destroy him if he would not forgive the people (32:31-32).
- This sin was so great that Moses rallied the Levites around him, told
them to arm themselves and slay (presumably) the guilty persons (32:27-28).
- MOSES ASKED THE ISRAELITES, "WHO IS ON THE LORD'S SIDE?"
THESE WERE THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL. WE, TOO, ARE THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL.
HOW CAN WE DETERMINE IF WE ARE ON THE LORD'S SIDE?
- President George Albert Smith said: "There is a line of demarcation
well defined between the Lord's territory and the devil's territory....
If you cross onto the devil's side of the line, you are in his territory,
and you are in his power, and he will work on you to get you just as far
from that line as he possibly can, knowing that he can only succeed in
destroying you by keeping you away from the place where there is safety."
(CR, Oct. 1945, p.118)
READ EXODUS 34:1-3. Commanded to hew tablets which
the Lord would write upon.
- The Lord indicated that he would destroy only those that had sinned
and commanded Moses to lead the people to the place he would show him (32:33-34).
- V1-2 Inspired Version reads: "And the Lord said unto Moses,
Hew thee two other tables of stone, like unto the first, and I will write
upon them also, the words of the law, according as they were written at
the first on the tables which thou brakest; but it shall not be according
to the first, for I will take away the priesthood out of their midst; therefore
my holy order, and the ordinances thereof, shall not go before them; for
my presence shall not go up in their midst, lest I destroy them. But I
will give unto them the law as at the first, but it shall be after the
law of a carnal commandment; for I have sworn in my wrath, that they shall
not enter into my presence, into my rest, in the days of their pilgrimage.
Therefore do as I have commanded thee, and be ready in the morning, and
come up in the morning unto mount Sinai, and present thyself there to me,
in the top of the mount."
- READ D&C 84:23-26. Holy Priesthood taken from
- THE LAW OF MOSES PROVIDED VERY SPECIFIC COMMANDMENTS. HOW MIGHT IT
BE EASIER TO LIVE THIS KIND OF LAW RATHER THAN THE LAW CHRIST ESTABLISHED?
WHICH WOULD YOUR PREFER?
- THE LORD REFERRED TO ISRAEL AS "A STIFFNECKED PEOPLE". IN
WHAT WAYS ARE WE SOMETIMES STIFFNECKED?
- WHAT ARE SOME COMMON REACTIONS OF STIFFNECKED PEOPLE WHEN THEY ARE
COUNSELED BY CHURCH LEADERS?
- WHAT IS OFTEN THE FATE OF STIFFNECKED PEOPLE?
- Elder James E. Talmage: "A wild bee from the neighboring hills
once flew into the room; and at intervals during an hour or more I caught
the pleasing hum of its flight. . . . When ready to close up the room and
leave, I threw the window [open] wide, and tried at first to guide and
then to drive the bee to liberty and safety, knowing well that if left
in the room it would die. . . . The more I tried to drive it out, the more
determinedly did it oppose and resist my efforts. . . .
"Then it caught me off my guard and stung my hand - the hand that
would have guided it to freedom. At last it alighted on a pendant attached
to the ceiling, beyond my reach of help or iniury. The sharp pain of its
unkind sting aroused in me pity rather than anger. I knew the inevitable
penalty of its mistaken opposition and defiance; and I had to leave the
creature to its fate. Three days later I returned to the room and found
the dried, lifeless body of the bee on the writing table. It had paid for
its stubbornness with its life" (The Parables of James E. Talmage,
Lesson 15: Numbers 11-14, 21:1-9.
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