Exodus thru Deuteronomy
Exodus 1 thru 4
This isn't Going to End Well
God calls Moses to return to Egypt to rescue the Israelites, but Moses really, really, doesn't want to go. God insists. God's already warned him that he will harden Pharaoh's heart. And once Moses sets out for Egypt, God shows up to kill "him" -- him who? What in the world is going on? What kind of God is this?
Exodus 5 thru 11
Here Come the Plagues
Pharaoh thinks he's a god. And he'll worship anything that moves--except God. The Hebrews are shrieking in pain and crying out in their suffering. And God shows up! In this class, God does battle with Pharaoh and the entire pantheon of Egyptian gods.
We get two new tools for our backpack. And we do a deep dive into "I am YHWH" to see what God has to say about himself and his relationship with us. This gives us the backbone--the spine--the rest of the Bible will be built around. It's an eye-opening view of God.
Exodus 12 thru 16
All its mysteries. All its violence. All its wonders.
The Israelites are like an abused spouse. They want to be rescued, but they are terrified when their abuser gives chase. God is mighty to save--and tender as a mother with them. Even when they falter and want to return to their abuser, God gently coaxes them onward to freedom.
We take a closer look at the power dynamics that lurk beneath the surface, especially in the struggle between God and the gods of Egypt, including Pharaoh. Why did the firstborn have to die?
Exodus 17 thru 19
Be Careful What You Wish For
The Israelites finally get to Mt Sinai. It wasn't easy. Got attacked on the way. Ran out of water--twice. Ran out of food. And God showed up every single time.
Now the Israelites have a chance to hear God for themselves. I think they get more than they bargained for!
The Ten Commandments
The First Day of God School
What points are on God's Top Ten list?
We explore the Ten Commandments in Deuteronomy 5 and Exodus 20. And we find some surprises when we look at some of the questionable passages--like the one about grandchildren being punished for the sins of their grandparents.
Tabernacle, Sacrifices & Priests
We knock down lots of myths this week. And the biggest one is that the God of the Hebrew Bible is different than the God we know as Christians. But--yikes! Does that mean God is vengeful and angry and needs to be appeased?
Nope. Isn't now, and never was that way. God is the same now and forever--loving and welcoming and wholly merciful.
God Talks About Sex
It's not what you think! If you are gay or have an LGBTQ child or loved one, do not fear. There's no bashing going on in this lesson.
In fact, as in previous lessons, we find out that God's been completely misrepresented as harsh and condemning. Can someone be gay and still be Christian? What does Jesus have to say about all this?
Lev 11 thru 15
Clean vs Unclean
The concept of clean vs unclean things is pervasive in the Hebrew Bible. The idea that some things or even people (!) are unclean and should quote “be dealt with” has led to abuse of power within the church. And that abuse of power is wrong.
Jesus himself fought against it, actively resisted it, and preached against this abuse of power. The people he declared clean were the poor and marginalized and outcast, and the people he called unclean--literally “whitewashed tombs full of filth”--were the religious hierarchy. In this class we explore the concept of Clean vs Unclean.
Festivals and Sabbath Years
Don't Worry, Be Happy
That's more than a pop song--it's God's call to his beloved people. This week we look at all the special celebrations God sets up to remind the Israelites of his constant concern and provision--reminding them to REST ALREADY! And making sure they are 100% certain of his love and forgiveness and complete acceptance of them.
None of it required guilt or backlashing. None of it required shame or difficult tasks. It isn't soul-searching God wants from the Israelites...it's rejoicing. He wants more than anything to see them running full tilt into his outstretched arms. And the gifts he's got for them! Wait until you hear how God would set up the economy.
The Golden Calf
We finish Exodus and Leviticus with a bang!
When Moses finally gets down off that mountain he's greeted with the Israelites running amok. Fireworks ensue.
Moses pleads with God to spare the people...and God does! Aaron doesn't even lose his job as High Priest. Amazing. In this lesson we see God's holiness in its stark power, and it raises a lot of questions. Join us for the discussion as we try to understand the "Both/And" God.
Chickening Out and Grumbling
The Israelites make it to the border of the Promised Land. Moses tells them to go for it! Take the land! And they chicken out.
Then, to make matters worse, a big group of the Levites stage a coup, accusing Moses and Aaron of being power hungry. The result of the coup is not pretty. But even that fiasco isn't enough to stop the Israelites from grumbling and rebelling.
God does some incredible, amazing things--so much so that Jesus even talks about it in a secret meeting with a powerful leader. And we make some surprising connections between the seraphim of the Hebrew Bible and a story about a snake on a pole. Who knew all this was in the Bible???
Balaam and the Ass
Balaam is a prophet for sale. Israel's enemies hire him to curse the Israelites and the results are hilarious. From a talking donkey to "You're fired!" this is a complete fiasco for Balaam. You can almost hear God say, "Who's your Daddy?"
Are sorcery and divination fake or real? What was Balaam's most grievous sin in this whole sorry saga? (It'll probably surprise you.) We give some thought to discernment, gifts and calling in the discussion afterwards.
Moses' Parting Shot
If you were leading these stiff-necked, stubborn folks, what last words would you say to them? How would you persuade them to choose good things over bad things? How would you convince them that God loves them and will care for their every possible need, if they haven't understood that already?
Moses tries everything--telling them, giving them object lessons, writing it all down, telling them to write the important stuff on their hands and their foreheads, appointing (and praying for) a new leader, and even teaching them a song! We finish the Torah, the first five books of the Bible today. What would you write on your forehead? What have you discovered about God?