Ryan and Elna Mitchell

Ryan and Elna Mitchell

sent out by Grace Fellowship Pretoria to plant churches among the Do people

Second month of teaching…

I’m quite late in posting this. We’ve had an eventful few months! Our satellite dish broke, which meant relying on a teeny cell phone tower for contact with the outside world for 3 1/2 weeks. Ryan also had malaria again. But God has sustained our team through the second month of teaching and we’re now in the home stretch! In this post, I’ll give a quick rundown of the next couple of lessons. I will tell you about the responses we’re seeing in another post…

Lesson 20 – Joseph, a lesson in God’s sovereignty (Genesis 37-50)

After completing Genesis, many questions remain: Will God give the promised land to Israel? How and when will He do that? When will God send the Promised Son to crush the serpent’s head? Who will help us pay the debt of our sin?

Lesson 21 – Israel in Egypt (Exodus 1-2)

In Genesis 15:13-14 God promised that Israel will be afflicted for four hundred years, and then they shall come out. How will God bring about this promise? We read in Exodus 1 and 2 how God heard the prayers of Israel, and raised up Moses. Is Moses the Promised Son?

Lesson 22 – God sends Moses

God chose Moses. He kept Moses safe as baby, and prepared him for the task He planned for him. Moses was reluctant when called, and needed to be rebuked and helped. God showed compassion and sent Aaron with Moses.

Lesson 23 – The ten plagues (Exodus 5-11)

God displayed his power to both Pharaoh (Ex. 5:2) and Israel (Ex. 6:7) by sending the ten plagues. In each, we see Him making a distinction between Egyptians and Israelites. God showed favour to the Israelites because He chose them. He did not choose them based on anything they did. How can WE obtain God’s favour?

Lesson 24 – The Passover and Exodus

God made a way for the Israelites to avoid the death of their firstborn. They had to believe that He would do what He said, and they showed this faith by obeying Him. He was faithful to do as He promised – if they killed a lamb and painted its blood on their doorposts, their firstborn were saved. We are not Israelites, and we are not living in the time of the plagues… What do WE need saving from? What are WE commanded to do to obtain salvation?

Amelia organised a drama where two families were contrasted – the Israelite father painted his doorpost, and the Egyptian father did not. The Egyptian’s firstborn died, while the Israelite obtained mercy.

Lesson 25 – Grumbling, and the giving of the Law (Exodus 16-19)

The Israelites complain again and again. They do not believe that God will provide for them. And yet He shows grace, and keeps providing. We also read about God giving the Law. What is the purpose of the law? Could the Israelites obey perfectly? Can we?  (Romans 3:20)  Just like a malaria test only shows that you are sick, the law (and our inability to obey it) only reveals that we are guilty of breaking the law. Sick people need medicine. What do sinners need? Is there a solution?

Amelia used a mirror to show the purpose of the law. While it is sufficient to show us the presence of our sin, it is not able to cleanse us of our sin.

Lesson 26 – The Ten Commandments and the Tabernacle (Exodus 20-28)

God gave Israel many commandments. Today, we looked at the Ten Commandments that He wrote on clay tablets. Could Israel obey these commandments? Can obedience cleanse them from their sin? God instructed the Israelites to build the Tabernacle. Because of their sin, they could not dwell with the holy God. Is there a way to be allowed in his presence?

Lesson 27 – Exodus 32-34

A key passage we read today is Exodus 34:6-7: “The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty..”

Here we see two aspects of God’s character: He is merciful and He is just. How can these two co-exist? How can God show mercy if all sin has to be punished?

Lesson 28 – The tabernacle

Another essential lesson:

  1. A substitute must die as payment for sin
  2. Blood must be shed to cover sin
  3. We need a mediator

But we are not Israelites. We cannot sacrifice sheep as payment for our sin. And even for the Israelites, the sacrifices were insufficient – as soon as one sin was atoned for, another was committed, requiring another sacrifice.

What will we do about our sin?

We hung curtains to show demarcation between the different areas in the Tabernacle and Maikepe helped us to demonstrate what it would look like when an animal was sacrificed (Oliver’s soft toy sheep was ‘slain’)

Lesson 29 – Numbers 13 – Judges

Zach highlighted three main points from this large chunk of history:

  1. Did Israel obey? No. They did not trust God, and so they complained. They also did not drive out all the Canaanites and ended up compromising and following their idols.
  2. Did God keep his promises? Yes. He justly punished their sin.
  3. God still showed mercy – some still entered the promised land. God made a way for the Israelites to obtain grace – looking upon the bronze serpent. When they cried out for help, He sent judges. He did not show mercy based on Israel’s obedience. He showed mercy because He is merciful.

Lesson 30 – Kings and kingdoms

Another lesson where a lot of ground was covered: Saul, David, the kingdom of Israel divided, and taking into captivity. We saw the Israelites’ repeated disobedience and idolatry. But we also saw God’s faithfulness.