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Subject: Christian Religious Studies
Topic: God’s Care For The People
Lesson Objectives: At the end of the lesson, learners should be able to:
i. Identify three ways in which God guided the Israelites,
ii. Recognise the importance of obedience and prayer in the acceptance of God’s guidance,
iii. Discuss the importance of the Bible as a source of God’s guidance,
iv. List different ways by which God is guiding his people today,
v. List different ways in which God provided for the people of Israel,
vi. Explain why provisions were given and why they were stopped,
vii. Stat God’s promises of and conditions for provisions,
viii. Recognise the fact that God will provide for people today,
ix. Recognise God’s protective power over the Israelites,
x. Confirm that God’s power of protection exist at all times.
GUIDANCE AND PROTECTION
As soon as the Israelites left the land of Egypt, God led the people who through the wilderness of the Red sea. God went before them by day in the pillar of clouds and by night in the pillar of fire to give them light.
Pharoah regretted allowing the Israelites to go, he quickly organised his soldiers and pursued the Israelites, over took them encamped at the sea by Pi-ha-hi-roth. When Israelites saw the Egyptians they were greatly afraid. They said it would have been better for them to die in Egypt than to die in the wilderness.
Moses was not perturbed because he was a man of great courage and confidence in God. He instructed:
“Fear not, stand firm and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will work for you today, for the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see them again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be still” (Exodus 14:13 – 14).
Moses cried to God and the Lord instructed him to stretch his rod over the sea and divide it. The angel of God who went before the host of Israel moved and went behind them; the pillar of cloud that moved before them stood behind them in between the host of Egypt and Israel. There was cloud and darkness and none of the parties could come near each other all the night. Moses stretched his rod over the sea as the Lord had commanded him and the sea divided and the host of Israel went forth on dry ground. The Egyptians pursued them into the middle of the sea. The Lord discomfited the host of the Egyptians, clogging their chariot wheels so that they drove heavily. Moses, by the instruction of God stretched back his rod over the sea and the water returned. The Egyptians soldiers were all drowned and they perished. The Israelites saw the great work of God that day and believed in the Lord and his servant Moses.
In Joshua 8:1 – 22, God told Joshua not to fear the people of Ai, but take all the people of war with him and go up to Ai and conquer it, that (He) God has given Ai, his people and the king to the hand of Joshua. God commanded Joshua that Israelites should take only the spoil and the cattle but should destroy the city of Ai and the king.
Joshua and all the men of war arose to go against Ai. He sent thirty thousand mighty men of valour to lay ambush against the city. Joshua and elders of Israel and the men of war went up. When the king of Ai saw them, men of Ai went against Israel to battle. They pursued after Joshua and were all drawn away from the city. The Lord told Joshua to stretch out the spear in his hand towards the city of Ai. The men in ambush quickly arose out of their place and ran into the city took it and set it on fire.
When the men of Ai looked back and saw their city in smoke. Joshua and his men slew the men of Ai. This is how God gave the Israelites victory over Ai.
The Significance Of Israel’s Escape From Egypt
i. Israel saw this as a miracle of deliverance from God.
ii. The miracle occupied a prominent place in the development of their natural religion.
iii. They became a people in covenant with God.
iv. By their departure, they were welded together as a nation.
v. God defends his people.
The Significance Of Israel’s Victory Over Ai
i. Israel realized that disobedience to God’s instruction is vital in receiving His guidance.
Lessons to Learn
i. Moses cried until God, God answered and gave His wonderful protection and this made the people have faith in God. In the same way, Christians should always be prayerful and obedient to God’s instruction, trusting and believing that He will always guide and protect them from every danger and from those who are stronger than them.
ii. The Egyptians were punished because they are wicked and disobedient to God’s instruction. Christians should endeavour to study the Bible to guide them and they should be humble to avoid attracting the wrath of God in their life.
iii. In Proverbs 18:10, the Bible says, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run into it and are safe.” This therefore follows that the protection of the Lord is available to all who serve the Lord in truth and in spirit.
iv. Israel was saved from the hand of Egyptians by the special grace of God. Likewise over the years, Nigeria has passed through a lot of social, political and economic problems that would have led to total destruction of the country, but by His grace, the nation is saved from destruction. This shows the power and goodness of God, not minding the atrocities committed.
God’s Provision (Exodus 16:1 – 21, 17:1 – 7)
When the Israelites left Elim where there were springs of water and palm trees, they came to the wilderness of Sin. They had no food for many days this made the congregation to murmur against Moses and Aaron. They said it would have been better for them to be left as slaves in Egypt with plenty of food for them than for them to perish in the wilderness because of hunger. The Lord told Moses that he would “rain” food for them from Heaven and the people should gather a day’s portion every day. This was to test their obedience to God. However on the sixth day they should gather twice what they gather every day. This was to provide for the Sabbath day, for there would be no bread on the Sabbath.
Moses and Aaron informed the Israelites about the presence of God in their midst and how He would manifest His power. Their murmuring, Moses explained, was against God and not against him. The Israelites were gathered in the place and the glory of God manifested in the clouds. In the evening quail covered the camp and in the morning, white flakes filled everywhere. Moses instructed them to gather the flakes one omer over a piece, according to the number of people (i.e just enough for a family) and none should be left over till the next day. Some did not listen to this instruction as they gathered more than enough. The left over breed worms and became foul and Moses was annoyed because of their disobedience.
They later left the wilderness of Sin and encamped at Raphidim where there was no water. The people murmured against Moses and asked why he had brought them out of Egypt to kill them, their children and their cattle with thirst. Moses cried unto the Lord and the Lord showed him a rock at Horeb and instructed him to strike the rock with the rod which he has struck the sea and water would rush out for the people to drink. Moses did exactly as the Lord commanded him in the sight of the elders of Israel. He called the place Massah and Meribah because there the Israelites put God to proof by saying, “is the Lord among us or not?”
In summary, God provided for the Israelites throughout the time they were in the wilderness. He provided flesh in the evening in form of quails and in the morning, He provided bread. When there was no water, He provided water from the rock of Horeb.
The Nature Of God As Revealed In The Episode Of The Gift Of Manna And Quails
i. The episode shows that even when we do not ask God for what we need, He always provides for our needs.
ii. It equally indicates that God’s endurance is unlimited. This was demonstrated by God when He endured the murmuring and ingratitude of the people of Israel.
iii. It signifies that offenders would not go unpunished for their disobedience.
Lessons To Learn
i. God can cater for people’s needs even beyond their imagination. In Jeremiah 33:3, the Bible says, “call upon me and I will answer you and I will tell you great and hidden things which you have not known.” The Israelites had no food and God provided for them a type of food they had never seen.
ii. The mercy of God endures forever – despite the murmuring and ingratitude of the Israelites, God continued to provide for them. This shows that most of the provisions people enjoy from God is by His grace, not because they merit it.
iii. God, at times, allows people to lack in order to prove Himself as God of all sufficiency.
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Take a quick test for this lesson
i. Describe the crossing of the Red sea and God’s role in the episode. What two lessons did the Israelites learn from their experience there?
ii. Outline the circumstances that led to the gift of manna and quails in the wilderness. What does this episode reveal about the nature of God?
iii. Describe the escape of the Israelites from Egypt?
iv. In what two ways was the event significant to Israel?
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