Workshop Rotation Model (WoRM)
Wandering in the Wilderness
The Exodus story is a testimony of God’s awesome presence while leading the Hebrews through the wilderness of the Sinai. It took God forty years to mold a loosely-knit group into the nation of Israel. Once they reached the Promised Land, they had to be united, capable of claiming their God-given land. They needed to experience several generations of a just society so that they were capable of governing themselves in their new land.
God was present in recognizable forms, in particular, the omni-present pillars of cloud and fire. God provided the daily needs of water, bread/manna and meat/quail. There were face-to-face talks with Moses. Thunder and lightning appeared often. The Hebrews were very aware of God’s presence in the encampments throughout the wilderness.
God created a covenant with the Hebrews. It is shaped by the Ten Commandments, written by the finger of God. These were so fundamental that God ordered Moses to build an ark to house the two tablets. Then a tabernacle was built to house the ark. It was all designed to be portable so that God’s presence would always be in the midst of this chosen people.
Oppressed peoples find courage and hope in this story of liberation and entering the Promised Land. In particular, African-American slaves identified with the Exodus story. The spirituals that emerged from the cotton fields and the Underground Railroad are moving testimonies to God as the deliverer, the savior.
This story of salvation is celebrated in the harvest festivals of Sukkot. God commanded the details, including the setting up of portable booths to remember the forty years of wandering in the wilderness.
God chose to dwell with the people of Israel in visible forms. The next unit of study in December is the Incarnation. God will choose to dwell among us in the form of a human being.
They shall call him Emmanuel which means ‘God with us.’” (Matthew 1:23)
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