Exodus 17


God brought water from a rock for His people


1 And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin by stages according to the commandment of the LORD, and pitched in Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink. 2 So the people quarreled with Moses and said, Give us water to drink. And Moses said to them, Why do you argue with me? Why do you tempt the LORD? 3 And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses and said, why have you brought us out of Egypt to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst? 4 And Moses cried to the LORD saying, What do I do to this people? They are ready to stone me. 5 And the LORD said to Moses, Go before the people and take the elders of Israel with you; and take in your hand your rod with which you struck the river, go. 6  Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you will strike the rock, and water will come out of it so that the people may drink. So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel. 7 And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah because of the quarreling of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the LORD saying, Is the LORD among us or not?


  • Massah and Meribah means temptation and strife.
  • The Israelites traveled at God’s command so they were in this situation by the guidance of God.
  • God was showing them that He can do anything.
  • Numbers 9:20 according to the commandment of the LORD they stayed in their tents, and according to the commandment of the LORD they journeyed.
  • Luke 1:37 with God nothing will be impossible.


8 Then Amalek came and fought with Israel at Rephidim. 9 And Moses said to Joshua, Choose men, go out and fight with Amalek: tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand. 10 So Joshua did as Moses said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11 And it happened, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. 12 But Moses’ hands were heavy; so they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat on it; and Aaron and Hur propped up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. 13 So Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.


  • Amalek was a nation that descended from Esau, as was Haman of the book of Esther.
  • God’s people prevail through leaning on God.
  • 1Samuel 17:47 And all this assembly will know that the LORD does not save with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD’s…
  • Psalm 145:20 The LORD preserves all that love him: but he will destroy all the wicked.


14 And the LORD said to Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and put it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly wipe out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. 15 And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it The Lord My Banner: 16 For he said, Because the hand of Amalek is against the throne of the LORD, the LORD has sworn to have war with Amalek from generation to generation.


  • God is life. He sent His Son to die that all might have life.
  • Amalek continually refused God, their Maker, they attacked God’s people and were against the very throne of God.
  • The word altar comes from the word slaughter.
  • Each sacrifice was man’s recognition of God’s mighty love poured out for us.
  • Our own good deeds have never been acceptable to God as a way of salvation because we are sinners, not equal to Him.
  • John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming unto him, and said, Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.
  • Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all fade like a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
  • John 14:6 Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes unto the Father, but by me.
  • Psalm 7:11 God judges the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.


                                             Exodus 18


The Lord is greater than all gods


1 Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses’ father in law, heard of all that God had done for Moses and for Israel his people, and that the LORD had brought Israel out of Egypt; 2 Then Jethro, Moses’ father in law, took Zipporah, Moses’ wife, after he had sent her back, 3 And her two sons; of which the name of the one was Gershom; for he said, I have been an guest in a foreign land: 4 And the name of the other was Eliezer; for he said the God of my father was my help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh: 5And Jethro, Moses’ father in law, came to Moses in the wilderness with his sons and his wife, where he camped at the mountain of God:


  • Moses was on Pharaoh’s most wanted list for killing the Egyptian who was beating an Israelite (Exodus 2:12).
  • God helped and delivered him more than once.
  • Hebrews 13:6So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man can do to me.


6 And he said to Moses, I, your father in law, Jethro, have come to you with your wife and with her two sons. 7 And Moses went out to meet his father in law and bowed down and kissed him; and they asked each other of their welfare/peace; and they came into the tent. 8 And Moses told his father in law all that the LORD had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel’s sake, and all the trouble that had come upon them by the way, and how the LORD delivered them.


  • God has done great things for us.
  • Psalm 71:19 Your righteousness, O God, is very high, who has done great things: O God, who is like You!


9 And Jethro rejoiced for all the goodness that the LORD had done to Israel, whom he had delivered out of the hand of the Egyptians. 10 And Jethro said, Blessed be the LORD, who has delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of Pharaoh, who has delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians. 11Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods: for in the thing in which they dealt proudly he was above them. 12 And Jethro, Moses’ father in law, took a burnt offering and sacrifices for God: and Aaron came, and all the elders of Israel, to eat food with Moses’ father in law before God.


  • ‘Blessed’ means a state of great joy and deep delight.
  • They held a big feast celebrating God and all that He had done for Israel.
  • Psalm 96:5 For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.
  • Jeremiah 10:10 But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, the everlasting king: at his wrath the earth will tremble, the nations will not be able to abide his indignation.


13 And it happened the next day that Moses sat to judge the people: and the people stood by Moses from the morning until the evening. 14 And when Moses’ father in law saw all that he did for the people he said, What is this thing that you do to the people? Why do you sit alone, and all the people stand by you from morning until evening? 15 And Moses said to his father in law, Because the people come to me to ask of God: 16 When they have a matter, they come to me; and I judge between one and another, and I make them know the statutes of God, and his laws. 17 And Moses’ father in law said to him, The thing that you do is not good. 18 You will surely wear out, both you and this people with you: for this thing is too heavy for you; You are not able to do it alone.


  • God does not run His people ragged.
  • That misrepresents Him.
  • It gets glory for us when we wear ourselves out for Him.
  • Men give us praise. That honors us, not God.
  • This doesn’t mean to be lazy and sit around all day, but do not run around ‘serving God’ so much that you neglect spending time with God.
  • Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all you that labor and are loaded down, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
  • Psalm 55:22 Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you: he will never allow the righteous to be moved.  


19 Now listen to my voice, I will give you counsel, and God will be with you: You be for the people toward God, to bring their causes to God: 20 And you teach them ordinances and laws, and show them the way in which they must walk, and the work that they must do. 21 And you, you find among all the people able men that fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such ones over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens: 22 And let them judge the people at all times: and they will bring to you that every great matter, but every small matter they will judge: so it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. 23 If you do this, and God command you so, then you will be able to endure, and all this people will go to their place in peace. 24 So Moses listened to the voice of his father in law, and did all that he had said.


  • Jethro’s advice was: Get alone with God.
  • Teach the people about God.
  • Appoint qualified people to solve the simpler matters.
  • Acts chapter 6 faced the same problem. The solution was the same.
  • Church leaders often get distracted from true worship by ‘waiting tables.’


25 And Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people, rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. 26 And they judged the people at all times: the hard cases they brought to Moses, but every small matter they judged themselves. 27 And Moses let his father in law depart; and he went his way into his own land.


  • Notice that before the law was given, a system of delegating authority was established.
  • Exodus 15:18 The LORD will reign forever and ever.


                                             Exodus 19


1 On the third month after the children of Israel went out of the land of Egypt, that same day they came into the wilderness of Sinai. 2 For they left Rephidim and came to the desert of Sinai, and camped in the wilderness; Israel camped there before the mountain. 3 And Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain saying, Say this to the house of Jacob, tell the children of Israel; 4 You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I lifted you up on eagles’ wings, and brought you to myself.


  • Neshar’ is the word for eagles’.
  • It is the griffin eagle of Israel-a big, beautiful, and majestic eagle that soars throughout the land.
  • Eagles hide their nest high.
  • The eaglets are in a place of total dependence and inaccessibility where there is no natural provision.
  • They are naked and clinging to their parents.
  • The parents love their young fiercely and will kill anything that threatens them.
  • God’s love is like that for us.
  • We are undeserving.
  • We are selfish and thoughtless of Him.
  • Yet He loves us fiercely and protectively.


The Lord’s people are His special treasure


5 Now, if you will truly obey my voice and keep my covenant, then you will be a special treasure to me above all people: for all the earth is mine: 6 And you will be a kingdom of priests to me, and a holy nation. These are the words that you are to speak to the children of Israel.


  • God makes the believing His special treasure. Malachi translates ‘special treasure’ as ‘jewels.’ Jewels are kept near and guarded.
  • Malachi 3:17 they will be mine, says the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spares his own son that serves him.
  • Revelation 1:6 And has made us kings and priests to God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.


7 So Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and put before them all these words that the LORD commanded him. 8 And all the people answered together and said, We will do all that the LORD has spoken. And Moses returned the words of the people to the LORD. 9 And the LORD said to Moses, Look, I come to you in a thick cloud so that the people can hear when I speak with you, and believe you forever. And Moses told the words of the people to the LORD.


  • God, Maker of the universe, came down to man.
  • God is holy.
  • He is smart enough and powerful enough to make and sustain the universe and all things in it.
  • He deserves our utmost honor and respect.
  • He veiled His infinite brightness in a thick cloud.


10 And the LORD said to Moses, Go to the people, and sanctify them today and tomorrow; have them wash their clothes, 11 and be ready on the third day: for the third day the LORD will come down on mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. 12 And you will set boundaries to the people all around saying, Beware, do not go up the mountain or touch the border of it: whoever touches the mountain will certainly be put to death: 13 Not a hand is to touch it, he will be stoned or shot through; whether it is animal or man, it will not live: when the ram’s horn makes a long sound they are to approach the mountain.


  • This command protected them.
  • God is holy.
  • We are not acceptable in His presence as we are because we are sinful.
  • Christ is our covering that makes us acceptable to God.
  • Sins had not been paid for at this time.


14 So Moses went down the mount to the people and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes. 15 And he said to the people, be ready on the third day: do not come at your wives. 16 And it happened in the morning on the third day that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain, and the voice of the ram’s horn exceedingly loud; so that all the people that in the camp trembled. 17 And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the lowermost part of the mountain. 18 And all of mount Sinai was smoking because the LORD descended in fire: and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly. 19 And when the voice of the ram’s horn made a long sound and grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by a voice. 20 And the LORD came down on mount Sinai, on the top of the mountain: and the LORD called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up.


  • Ezekiel saw visions of God.
  • Ezekiel 1:26 And above the expanse that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and on the throne was the likeness of a man above upon it. 27 And I saw as the color of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from his loins upward, and from his loins downward, I saw the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about. 28 Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD.


21 And the LORD said to Moses, Go down, warn the people, that they not break through to the LORD to gaze, and many of them perish. 22 And let the priests also, which come near to the LORD, sanctify themselves so that the LORD not break forth on them. 23 And Moses said to the LORD, The people cannot come up to mount Sinai: for you charged us saying, Set boundaries around the mountain, and sanctify it. 24 And the LORD said to him, Away, get down, and you will come up, you, and Aaron with you: but do not let the priests and the people break through to come up unto the LORD so that he not break forth on them. 25 So Moses went down to the people, and spoke to them.


  • Christ’s death for our sin made us holy forever so that those who believe can be with our holy God.
  • Matthew 27:51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks tore.


                                             Exodus 20


God is the only God and forbids worship of anything else


1 God spoke all these words saying, 2 I am the LORD your God who has brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 3 You will have no other gods but me. 4 You will not make yourself any carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth 5 You will not bow down to them, or serve them: for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children unto the third and fourth generation of those that hate me; 6 And showing love to thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.


  • Imagine a set of rules to live by that came not from men but from the Maker of the universe; a set of laws for the good of everyone both now and forever.
  • That’s is what God gave Israel through Moses at Mt Sinai.
  • God has a right to be jealous. He made us all.
  • False gods are lies from evil that lead people to eternal death.
  • Psalm 96:5 For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.
  • Deuteronomy 32:39 See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: none can deliver out of my hand.


7 You are not to misuse the name of the LORD your God; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that uses his name for an empty or false purpose. 8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you will labor and do all your work: 10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD your God: in it you will not do any work, you, your son, your daughter, your manservant, your maidservant, your livestock, or your stranger that is within your gates: 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: so the LORD blessed the sabbath day and sanctified it. 12 Honor your father and your mother: that your days may be long on the land that the LORD you God gives you.


  • God forbids using His name for empty purposes.
  • Jacob used God’s name wrongly in Genesis 27.
  • God promises long life to those who honor their father and mother.


13 Do not kill. 14 Do not commit adultery. 15 Do not steal. 16 Do not bear false witness against your neighbor. 17 Do not covet your neighbor’s house; do not covet your neighbor’s wife, his manservant, his maidservant, his ox, his ass, or anything that is your neighbor’s.


  • All of the Ten Commandments are repeated in the New Testament except the one about the Sabbath.
  • God’s law is perfect. It defines love, love for God and love for man.
  • God never intended that His law of love in the New Testament cancel what He gave His people on Mount Sinai.
  • Man’s old nature must be controlled for man to receive the blessings of God.
  • These regulations show man God’s holiness and lead man out of his pride into humility and obedience by God’s power.
  • ‘Do not kill’ is the killing of other persons. Genesis 9:6 tells why God set the death penalty for murder.
  • God distinguishes intention from accidental killing.
  • Murderers are to be killed.
  • Terrorists are murderers of the innocent.
  • Genesis 9:6 Whosever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood is to be shed: for in the image of God he made man.
  • Exodus 21:12 He that strikes a man, so that he dies, will certainly be put to death. 13 And if a man does not lie in wait, but God delivers him into his hand; then I will appoint you a place for him to flee. 14 But if a man comes presumptuously on his neighbor, to kill him with guile; you will take him from my altar, that he may die.


18 And all the people saw the thunder and the lightning, and the noise of the ram’s horn, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they moved and stood far away. 19 And they said to Moses, You speak with us, and we will hear: but do not let God speak with us, so that we not die. 20 And Moses said to the people, Do not fear: for God has come to test you, and that his fear may be before your faces so that you not sin. 21 And the people stood far away, and Moses drew near the thick darkness where God was. 22 And the LORD said to Moses, Say this say to the children of Israel, You have seen that I talked with you from heaven. 23 Do not make gods of silver, do not make for yourselves gods of gold. 24 Do make me an altar of earth, to sacrifice on it your burnt offerings, and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen: in all places where I record my name I will come to you, and I will bless you. 25 And if you make me an altar of stone, do not build it out of cut stone: for if you lift up your tool on it, you have polluted it. 26Do not go up by steps to my altar so that your nakedness not be uncovered on it.


  • Each sacrifice was a picture of how much God loves us.
  • Our works are totally excluded as a means to relationship with God.
  • All the ornate churches built to God are often a distraction to keeping our eyes on Him.
  • Beautiful things appeal to the lust of the eye. They take the thought from God to the beauty of the thing.
  • John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming unto him, and said, Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.


Ten Commandments repeated in the New Testament


  1. No other Gods—50 times in the NT—Acts 14:15 is one.
  2. No carved images—12 times in NT—1 John 5:21
  3. Not take name of Lord our God in vain—4 times in NT—James 5:12
  4. Sabbath—not found in NT
  5. Honor father and mother—6 times in NT—Ephesians 6:1
  6. Do not murder—6 times in NT—1 John 3:15
  7. No adultery—12 times in NT—1 Corinthians 6:7, 10
  8. Not stealing—6 times in NT—Ephesians 4:28
  9. Not bear false witness—4 times—Colossians 3:9
  10. Not coveting—9 times—Ephesians 5:3


From Lewis Sperry Chafer on Grace


Law                   versus                   Grace


1. written with ink                     with the Spirit of the living God

2. on tables of stone                        tables of the heart

3. kills the flesh                        Spirit makes alive, makes our spirit live

4. ministers death                        ministers life

5. was glorious                        is glorious

6. done away with,                   remains

7. fulfilled in Christ                       

8. abolished in Christ               gives hope


  • The Ten Commandments are just the beginning of the law.
  • There are 140 other laws in this section alone.
  • The law contains eternal principles that came from the very character of God.
  • It is a covenant of works to show God’s holiness, man’s unholiness that leads to self-despair, and then leads to the only Savior.
  • The New Testament is a covenant of faith worked only by the energy of the Holy Spirit.
  • Guilt is the number one cause of mental illness and suicide in the world.
  • It is the worlds’ most crippling disease. If not resolved by Christ’s solution, salvation by grace and renewing of life in the Holy Spirit, it will ruin our lives and the lives of others.




SUMMARY: Exodus 17-20


  • The LORD brought water out of the rock for them
  • He wiped out those who are against His throne/rulership
  • He is good
  • He helps and delivers
  • He is greater than all gods
  • He is with us
  • His people are His special treasure
  • He is the only true God and forbids worship of anything else