Summary: Intro to the ten commandments in Exodus 19.
When I was in Bible College at London Baptist I used to be asked to preach at different kinds of youth events and one time I remember arriving at a church for some kind of an evening service and I asked the guy in charge, “How long should I speak?” And he said, “You can preach all night if you want to, but we’ve got a church hockey game after the service; so we’re all leaving at 8 o’clock.”
I heard about a pastor who had been called to a church and the very first Sunday he got up and he preached for about a half an hour and everyone thought he was just great. And then on the next Sunday he got up to preach but he was finished in fifteen minutes and everybody thought that was kind of strange but they were gracious and nobody said anything. But, on the next Sunday, he started and kept preaching and preaching and preaching and he went on for two solid hours. Well, the deacons called him into the office after the service for a little meeting; and one of them began by asking, “What’s going on?” He was very apologetic and he said, “I can explain. you see, “the first Sunday everything was normal but on the morning of the second week I broke one of the back teeth in my dentures and it kept cutting my gum when I preached, so, I decided I had better cut my message rather than hurt myself.” And then he said, “The third Sunday, I got up a little bit late and I took my wife’s dentures by mistake and once I started preaching, I couldn’t get them to stop.”
Before we even look at this passage we have to understand that these people had only left Egypt about three months earlier and they had been slaves in Egypt for about four hundred and thirty years. All these people had been raised in slavery and now they were on the road looking for a new home but they didn’t have a clue as to where they were going. And get this; there was about 2 million people and they moving at a rate of around four miles a day.
And from the time they decided to follow God’s direction under Moses leadership, there were a lot of problems and also a lot of miracles that took place. For instance, there were the ten miracles God had used to let Pharaoh know He was serious about his letting His people go; and all these miracles that afflicted the Egyptians were punishments that were related to things they worshipped. And then the tenth miracle was the death of all the firstborn of Egypt and when that happened, all the Egyptians decided these Israelites were too much trouble and they told them to get out.
And as they left; chapter 13:21 says, “And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them by the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day or night.” But; as soon as they left Egypt, the Egyptians had second thoughts and they decided to bring them all back and when they started coming down the road, all these Jews figured; ‘we’re dead men walking’ and out of total frustration they said to Moses, “Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness?” In other words, why didn’t you just leave us alone? After all, we were better off working for these guys then coming out here to die in the wilderness. But then, Moses prayed and God stepped in; He opened the Red Sea and led them all across and then He drowned all the Egyptians who were coming behind them. And if you took the time to read chapter 15 you’d see a big worship service that took place and everybody was happy.
Then they left the Red Sea and they arrived at a place called Marah, where it says they couldn’t drink the water because it was bitter, and they all got mad at Moses again and they said, “What are we supposed to drink?” Well, Moses prayed and God told him to take a certain tree or a bush and throw it into the water and when he did, it became extremely good water and everybody was happy again.
Then in chapter 16 they were on the road again and they all started to murmur or complain and they were talking about all the great things they had back in Egypt; you know, all the good food and there was so much bread. They made it sound like there was a huge buffet waiting for them every time they came home from work. And that’s kind of weird; because they were all slaves in Egypt. But, as they say, history has a way of erasing the pain of the past.