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Response to discussion
In Exodus, Leviticus, and Number the Israelites benefited little from the Mosaic Covenant and mostly suffered from it. When we first started Exodus Israel was enslaved by Egypt wanting a way to escape. God selects Moses to lead Israel out of Egypt and into the land He promises them, which benefits Israel because they are moved out of Egypt and believe that they are “the chosen” people of God. In return, one thing among many, God tells Moses and the Israelites that they will have to endure some tough times because the Pharaoh does not believe in God so therefore God has to show the Pharaoh His power. After the plagues and when the Passover occurs the Pharaoh realizes the power of God, Pharaoh lets the Israelites free, but then quickly has a change of heart. The Israelites benefit again from God’s power while the Egyptians are trying to chase them down after being freed. As Moses and the Israelites get to the Red Sea and the Egyptian army closing the gap on them God divides the sea so that they can cross to escape being captured. Then Israel and Moses reach Mount Sinai and were told to meet God on top of the mountain, but did not due to their lack of faith, this is considered a sin in God’s eyes. In response to this sin committed by Israel God introduces the Ten Commandments and all of the parts to the Mosaic Covenant. God introduces these new laws to try and help Israel refrain from sin so that He can be among His people, but He knows that these laws will not bring faith He just hopes to bring more order. At the end of Exodus it is shown that when the Israelites continuously live in sin and do not have faith by rebelling and creating false idols, like the golden calf, many sacrifices are made and some of the time it is their own people. Israel moving to Mount Sinai and the building of the Tabernacle is to bring God close to Israel, but also keep Him apart from Israel so the focus of Leviticus is to see which man can enter and different ways they can enter the Tabernacle. In the book of Numbers it explains a new order of Israel and their lives in the wilderness outside of the promised land, Canaan. God tells Moses to count all the men within fighting age and put them into tribes where they will stay in. God mercy for Israel is on full display from all the chances he gives and continuing to keep his promises of the Abrahamic Covenant, that Abraham’s seed will get the promised land. With all this though more laws come, like the Nazirite Vow, in order to help Israel try and be closer to God. Later in Numbers, Moses appoints people from each tribe to go into Canaan to spy and to see if it is what it is believed to be. Ten of the twelve spies come back and say that it is abundant, but not the best place to stay, which symbolizes the fact that they are still unsure of God’s instruction. Late in the book of Numbers God exiled this generation to stay outside of Canaan so that their children will live in the promised land and He also rebukes Moses for his lack of faith and does not allow him to be the leader of Israel into the promise land anymore
Throughout the Pentateuch and the details given about the Mosaic covenant in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, the reader is introduced to the theme of covenant, stipulation, and failure. The reader learns that ultimately it is not the Law Codes that God gives to Israel that fail, but it is Israel itself that is sinful and selfish at heart. These Law Codes are meant to bring Israel closer to God, but also keep Him far away because of their sinful nature.
The Mosaic Covenant is first introduced to the reader in Exodus when Moses is chosen by God to lead His people to the Promised Land. While on their journey, the Israelites and Moses find themselves at the base of Mount Sinai where God gives Moses the first part of the Mosaic Covenant, or the Ten Commandments. Meanwhile, God’s people are below the mountain becoming so impatient that they created an idol to worship, the golden calf, instead of God. God becomes angry at this, but Moses asks God to spare the Israelites, and God does for the sake of His name and for the sake of Israel. This is the first instance where the reader can see the covenant, stipulation, and failure theme in Exodus.
In Leviticus, we see a different part of the Law Codes explaining a system that Israel must use for forgiving sins. In order for man to come into the presence of God, there must be a sacrifice in the Tabernacle. It is up to the Levites to take care of the tabernacle since it was the tribe of Levi that helped Moses take down the golden calf. The tribe of Levi consists of Aaron and his family. Once again, in the book of Leviticus are we reminded of the theme covenant, stipulation, and failure when two of Aaron’s son submit a wrong, or impure offering to The Lord and The Lord burns them in His presence.
It is in the book of Numbers that the reader is reminded how far away from the Kingdom of God we are and how it is necessary to repent. The Israelites arrive at the edge of the Promised Land and a member of each of the twelve tribes of Israel go into the land to see what it is like. Joshua, from the tribe of Joseph, and Caleb, form the tribe of Juda, are the only two spies out of the twelve that think the Israelites should ascend into the Promised Land. The other ten spies think the Israelites should go back to Egypt. Once again, the Israelites fail to listen and trust God to take care of them and God becomes angry. Because God is good and merciful, He pardons the Israelites for His name sake and for Moses. As punishment, the Israelites are to spend forty years in the wilderness and the Horeb generation will not get to see the Promised Land