LESSON 37 – God Gives Moses the Law – Exodus 18-34


Due to the difficulty of explaining the typology of the tabernacle to our youngest students and our limited time, a study of the Tabernacle is not in this week’s lesson. For those of you dads with older children who wish a deeper study than the giving of the Ten Commandments, do the assignment for Digging Deeper on #2.

  • Exodus 19:1-25. Find on a map where the Israelites are located in this story. What message does God tell Moses to pass on to Israel in verses 2-6? ( possible answers: I have proved Myself to you by taking care of you thus far. So I want you to make a promise to completely obey Me and my covenant. If you will do this, you will be my treasured possession, a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.) What was the response of the people in verse 8? (We will do everything the Lord has said.) What instructions about the people and the mountain does God give Moses? (vs. 10-13.) God said He would come to them on the third day. What happened on that day? (vs. 16) Describe the scene in verses 17-20. (thunder and lightening, thick cloud, a very loud trumpet sound, smoke, the mountain quaked violently)  Who was Moses allowed to bring up to the mountain with him when the Lord came? (His brother, Aaron.)
  • Exodus 20:1-20. What do we call the rules that God gave to Moses on this day? (The Ten Commandments.) See if your child can list them without reference to the chapter. Then see if you can list them all! What was the reaction of the people to hearing God talking to Moses on the mountain in verses 18 & 19? What important thing does Moses tell the people? (vs. They should not be afraid because the fear of God would keep them from sinning.)
  • Exodus 31:18 – 33:6 – What did God give to Moses after He finished giving Moses all of the laws that the Israelites were to follow? What was special about these? (31:18 – God gave Moses two tablets that had the Law written on them. God Himself had written on them with His finger.) Moses at this point has been away from the people for forty days (Ex. 24:18). Why do the people come to Aaron in 32:1? (They are tired of waiting for Moses to come down; they don’t even know what’s happened to him. They need someone to lead them, so they ask Aaron to make them some gods to lead them.) What was Aaron’s response?(vs. 2-4. He makes them!  He asks for their earrings, which he melts and makes them into a mold of a golden calf. He presents the idol to them.) How do the people introduce the idol? (vs. 4. This was the god that brought you up out of Egypt.) Is that true? (no, or course not) {NOTE:  This is probably an image of the calf-god of the Egyptians, Apis} Aaron announces that the next day would be a festival to the Lord – their golden calf. How does Moses find out what is going on? (vs. 7,8 – God tells him.) What suggestion does God make to Moses because of Israel’s sin? (He would destroy all of Israel and make Moses a great nation.) What three reasons does Moses give for not taking up the Lord’s offer? (vs. 12-13. First, they were God’s people that He had saved. Secondly, destroying them would discredit God’s reputation. Lastly, he reminded the Lord of His promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.) The Lord relented and did not destroy them.  Joshua, who was part way up the mountain, waiting for Moses greeted him (he was carrying the tablets) and told him he thought there was war. Moses corrects him saying it is singing not war he hears.  What did Moses do when he got back to the camp? (vs 19-20. In anger he threw down the tablets and broke them. Then he burned the calf in the fire, ground it to powder, threw the powder onto the water and made the Israelites drink the water.) He then asked for an accounting from Aaron for his participation. What excuses and outright lie does Aaron give? (vs. 22-24. First he blames the people; then he blames Moses for being gone so long. He also lies and tells Moses that the calf came out of the fire on its own.  Earlier in chapter 32 we read that Aaron fashioned it with tools.) What judgment is made against Israel? (vs. 27-29. 3,000 of their number die by the swords of the Levites who promised to stay true to the Lord.) Moses goes back to the Lord to make atonement for their sin. Moses pleads for God’s forgiveness for them, even offering to go to hell in their place. God brings a plague (we aren’t told what kind) on the people because of their sin. What does God suggest the people do in verses 1-3? (That they go on to the Promised Land and God will send his angel to help them, but He Himself would not go with them.) The people are alarmed by this and mourned. Their relationship with the Lord has been severely damaged.
  • Ex. 33:7-34:35.  What does Moses ask God for in verses 12-18? (To know the Lord and be taught His ways. He also asks to see God’s glory.) How does God answer this question? (vs. 19-23. He says that no one can see God’s face and not die, but He will pass His goodness in front of Moses if Moses will hide in the cleft of a rock as He passes by. Then Moses would see His back.) In chapter 34 Moses chisel’s out another set of stone tablets and God gives him the Law again. Read through verses 5-14 and note the ways God describes Himself to Moses. (compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, forgiving sin, punishes the guilty, punishes sin up to the 4th generation, he will make Israel victorious, he is a jealous God.) What happened to Moses as a result of his time with God? (vs. 29 – He was radiant.) The people were afraid to approach Moses since he glowed with the glory of the Lord.  Moses wore a veil over his face to protect the people from the light.


According to Wilmington’s Guide to the Bible, Israel arrived at Sinai on June 15, 1445 BC and they stayed there 11 months and 5 days (Num. 10:11). Three major events took place there: The Law was given, the Golden Calf incident and the construction of the tabernacle.  There is a picture of the tabernacle at the back of this lesson for you to show your children. This was the place that Israel would worship for over 400 years.  It’s hard to believe that the children of Israel would turn away from God so quickly after all He had done for them – saved them from a miserable life as a slave, delivered them from the plagues, saved them from being killed by the Pharaoh’s pursuing army, miraculously crossing the Red Sea and being fed with manna and quail everyday that they did not have to pay for.  How quickly they turned to the false golden calf and gave it the glory reserved for God.  In contrast we see the greatness of Moses. He pleads for the lives of his people before the Lord and wants to know the Lord intimately and deeply.  He is selfless and faithful.  We have a choice in our lives like the people in this story did:

  • We can say we will follow God, but when the tough times come – and they will – will we swiftly abandon our convictions and follow another god – money, popularity, entertainment, the love of a person, gratification? It is very easy to throw stones at the Hebrews for their terrible sin, but we must realize that we are capable of the exact same sin.
  • Will we be like Moses – true to God and the Word? Or will we fold? What did Moses know the others didn’t? Why was he faithful when the others failed? It is found in his relationship to the Father.  Moses knew God and God knew Moses.
  • How is your walk with God right now? Are you praying and reading your Bible. Do you pursue ways to learn more about Him? If the answers to these questions are no, then you can be sure that you will fold when trouble arises.  Determine today to follow the Lord and begin to discipline your lives in the areas of prayer and Bible study.

Finish the lesson by reading II Cor. 4:1-2, 16-18.

Digging Deeper

  1. Read Exodus 18.  Then go and read the website: http://thestateofamerica.wordpress.com/2008/01/29/jewish-roots-of-the-american-constitution/. Write a paragraph about how the Old Testament influenced the American Constitution.  Be sure to give specific examples.
  2. Using these articles: http://the-tabernacle-place.com/articles/what_is_the_tabernacle and Gleanings in Exodus, draw the Tabernacle and label each of its parts. Make a separate drawing of the Holy of Holies. On the other side of your drawing write a paragraph about how the Tabernacle and its parts are related to Jesus Christ. Be able to answer the question: What does the Tabernacle teach us about Jesus? You may use other sources besides the one given.

NOTE – Leviticus is skipped because it contains details of the Law pertaining to the sacrifices, feasts and social laws. Also the directions for the Levitical priesthood are included.