Today’s passage of Scripture is Psalm 119:9 which reads: “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.”
Today’s quote about the Bible is from Mark Twain. He said: “Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand.”
Our topic for today is titled: “The Recording of God’s Word (Part 1)” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Michael A. Harbin.
God’s written Word began to come together on a sun-soaked plain in the Sinai peninsula. After God had brought the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob out of Egypt, He led them to the foot of Mount Sinai, where Moses had been commissioned more than a year earlier. There God started the process of making this motley throng of Israelites, Egyptians, and others into a nation. Moses went up on the mountain and received most of the material included in the books of Genesis, Exodus, and Leviticus. That was the foundation of God’s written Word.
God could have done it differently. He could have given His revelation to the nation as a whole. When we look at the account in Exodus 19, we find that God had the people prepare themselves so that He might speak to them directly. They cleansed themselves for two days. The anticipation must have been intense as they recollected all that had happened during the past year.
Moses had come out of the desert in a spectacular manner, proclaiming that God, after more than four hundred years of silence, had spoken to him. He presented signs to the elders of Israel, then went to meet Pharaoh, asking for his people’s deliverance. Word quickly spread among all the Israelites in Egypt that there was a major power struggle going on between Moses and Pharaoh. Clearly, the evidence Moses was presenting to show that God was working was hard to hide from both Egyptians and Israelites.
After the introductory signs, such as turning his staff into a snake and then back into a staff, he turned the Nile River to blood. Then things got serious. Over the following months, one plague after another struck at the heart of the Egyptian economy and its pantheon of gods. Even the most jaded Israelites (and many Egyptians) were starting to believe that it was indeed possible that the God of Abraham existed — and that He meant what He said. Then, in the following spring, just three months before the people arrived at Sinai, the cries of mourning pierced the Egyptian night as family after family discovered their firstborn dead.
Pharaoh finally relented and sent the Israelites away, although he later changed his mind and chased after them. Then there came the awesome experience at the Red Sea. After several days of camping and waiting, Israel watched Pharaoh’s army appear over the horizon. That was when God told Moses to stretch out his arm. A strong wind came up out of the northeast. It seemed to bring the aroma of the Promised Land with it, if anyone had the peace of mind to consider it. The next day the nation passed through parted waters, then watched the sea close over the pursuing Egyptian army.
Only three days later, the water supplies were desperately low, and the people cried in bewilderment because the springs at Marah were too bitter to drink. God sweetened the water for them. After a month, the food supplies began to dwindle. Again they grumbled and complained, and God sent — well, something. “What is it?” they asked, and the name stuck — manna. God would provide it on a daily basis (except on the Sabbath) for the rest of the desert period, all the way up to the time they crossed the Jordan River and entered the land.
Following the giving of the manna and several other challenges, the people arrived at Sinai, just three months after the last of the plagues on Egypt. That is where God was going to speak to them directly.