Bible: The Wilderness:  Learning to Submit

            Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, & Deuteronomy

Family Fun Challenge:  Build a Fire

Ag:  Equine – Submission

Field Trip:  Sept 21st
Grace Reigns Horsemanship & Farm
                   1644 Johnson St. Extension*
                   Ray City, GA 31645

                   * Be sure to include “Extension” for the GPS to take you to the right address.

The Wilderness:   Learning to Submit

This month covers a lot and includes many well-known Bible stories as we move though Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. We’ll see some of God’s greatest miracles in the Old Testament, but remind your children the ultimate miracle God had planned was the death and resurrection of Jesus. Challenge them to see how many instances they can find that foreshadow his life and work in these books now and in the years to come.

We’ll do a quick overview from the first Passover in Egypt, at Mt. Sinai, through the wilderness, and to edge of the Jordan River and point out some interesting and sometimes overlooked facts from these forty-something years. As we see God bless and sustain a people who turn against him time after time, we may begin to see ourselves in their actions. May we learn from their mistakes and live out his command to love him with all our heart, soul, and might, obey his commands, and teach them to our children.

Here’s a quick review to get started The Bible from A to Z poem:

A perfect creation till sin entered through man,
But One was coming, redemption His plan.

Big boat God provided when He judged mankind.
Babbling builders’ homelands reassigned.

Christ, Canaan, children: blessings on all nations.
God takes man’s punishment for Covenant violations.

Daddy’s boys with a favorite each round,
But only through one will a Savior be crowned.

Egyptian slaves they became to their dismay,
But salvation was planned all along the way.

Exodus – Name

Wait a minute? God’s chosen people living as slaves in a foreign land? They went there almost as royalty – kindred of the second in command and given their choice of land. What happened? (Many people think the Hebrews built the pyramids while they were slaves in Egypt, but the pyramids were actually there long before Joseph brought his family to Egypt. Abraham probably saw them when he went there to avoid a famine Canaan.)

God had told Abram his descendants would be sojourners and slaves in a foreign land for 400 years during Abram’s vision of the smoking fire pot and flaming torch passing between the animals halves we discussed last month. The 400 year had passed, and God was about to bring His people out of slavery into the land he promised their fathers.

We start with God speaking through fire once again in the story of Moses and the burning bush. It’s amazing how God used Moses’s experience in the first eighty years of his life to prepare him for the last forty years. His time in the royal court prepared him to speak boldly (through his brother) to the new pharaoh, and his time as a shepherd prepared him to lead God’s people through the wilderness for forty years.

One interesting connection to note between Moses and Jesus is God’s response to Moses from the burning bush when Moses asked for God’s name. God told Moses to tell the people His was name “I AM.” When the soldiers asked Jesus if he was who they were looking for, he said, “I am.” The soldiers literally fell back at his words. (Keep this question and answer and the original Hebrew title of the book, Name, in mind as we move through Exodus.)

Also worth noting is the way God showed himself more powerful than each of Egypt’s god one after the other though the ten plagues*:

    • Nile turned to blood: Hapi – god of the Nile

    • Frogs: Heqet – frog-headed goddess of rebirth

    • Lice from dust: Set – god of the earth/desert

    • Flies: Khepri – god of creation, movement of the sun, rebirth & Uatchit – fly god

    • Death of cattle & livestock: Hathor & Apis – both depicted as cattle

    • Boils: Isis, Sunu, Sekhmet – gods/goddess who could prevent disease

    • Hail: Nut – goddess of the sky & Osiris – god of the crop fertility

    • Locusts: Set – god of storms and disorder

    • Darkness: Ra – the sun-god

    • Death of the firstborn – Pharaoh – ultimate power in Egypt

    • *gods/goddesses/names differ according to different sources, but you get the point

The final plague and the first Passover. What a night! The Jews still celebrate it every year, and Christians remember it indirectly through the Lord’s Supper, which started with the last Passover Jesus celebrated with his disciples before becoming the Passover Lamb. (Follow the theme of the first born through the Bible for an interesting study.)

What happens next is probably one of the most often contested yet most often remembered events of the Old Testament and one biblical writers repeatedly refer to throughout the Bible – when God rescued His people from slavery, brought them through the Red Sea, and crushed Pharaoh and his army. We can easily overlook the fact God stopped another river for His people when He stopped the waters of the Jordan so His people could cross into the Promised Land. There are also a couple of other instances between the two rivers where water plays a significant role. God turned the bitter waters sweet at Marah and made water come from a rock more than once over the next forty years. Check out Exodus 3:1 (the site of the burning bush), Exodus 17:6 (water from the rock), and 1 Kings 19:8 (in Elijah’s story) for an interesting connection. (Hint: Notice the name of the place.)

Before we move to Mt. Sinai, one more story worth noting is the advice Jethro, Moses’s father

-in-law, gave him. When Jethro visited Moses in the wilderness, he noticed how worn out Moses was from hearing the complaints of all the people all day long. After Jethro told Moses he now realized Moses’ god was greater than all gods, he suggested Moses divide the people into groups of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and ten with leaders over each group. The leaders could manage most of the issues and only bring the most difficult cases to Moses. Delegation is an excellent lesson all leaders should learn.

Following the fire and cloud, the people finally arrived at Mt. Sinai where they promised “all the Lord has spoken we will do.” God told Moses to consecrate the people to get them ready to hear from Him because He was going to speak to Moses in a think cloud so the people would always believe Moses (19:9)

Picture this scene: Smoke and fire atop a mountain. Thunder, lightning, and the sound of a trumpet growing louder and louder. Then the whole mountain trembles, and you hear the voice of God! He sounds like thunder as he “talked with you from heaven” (20:22). He spoke what is probably both the most well-known and the most hated verses in all of Scripture: the Ten Commandments.

The whole scene was so terrifying, the people told Moses to just relay what God said to them (20:18-20). It’s amazing how God first spoke to Moses in a little burning bush. Now He’s answering him with thunder on top of a burning, trembling mountain. I think this is a good example of how God reveals more and more of himself to us as we mature. We may think we are ready for more, but God’s timing is perfect. We’ll see this more a little later when God revealed his name to Moses.

Moses actually went up and down Mt. Sinai several times during the rest of Exodus (I did not realize how many times he went up and down) and even took his brother, his nephews, Joshua, and seventy elders with him one time where they “beheld God and ate and drank” (24:11).

Three things to note about Moses’s first forty-day trip on the mountain:

  • Forty days. Can you think of other times forty is significant in the Bible – the wilderness, Noah, Jesus, etc? How long did David and Solomon reign? A concordance or app like Blue Letter Bible will be helpful to find others.

  • God gave Moses the first set of tablets and laws about the Sabbaths, annual Festivals, and others.

  • God also gave Moses the instructions for the Tabernacle and Ark of the Covenant which point to the Christ.

  • Aaron and the people made and worshiped the golden calf while Moses was gone. Moses ground into dust and made them eat. I am sometimes quick to judge the people. I want to say how can you do that after you have just seen all God did?! And you just promised to do what He said? It does not take long to realize though that I do the exact same thing. Keep this point in mind as we move though and look at a few verses in Deuteronomy a little later.

After Moses came down, he met with God in the tent of meeting outside the camp (33:7-11) Notice how the people’s intercessor met with God “outside the camp” just like the scape goat was sent outside the camp/city every year, and just like Jesus was crucified “outside the city.” Finally, check out Joshua and how long he would stay at the tent of meeting. No wonder he was able to march around a city for seven days without speaking a word!

Moses actually went back up Mt. Sinai for another forty days (34:28) after the golden calf incident when he got he second set of tablets and renewed the covenant the people had already broken. It was during this trip that God finally told Moses His name, which was a big deal in their culture. (Remember how God reveals himself to us little by little?) Discuss with you kids the characteristics of God his name reveal.

Exodus 34:5-7:

5 The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 6 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, 7 keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.

After this trip, Moses came down, his face glowing, and began to build the tabernacle and its components “according to all that the LORD commanded him” (40:16). (Don’t forget to discuss how the tabernacle and temple foreshadow Jesus!)

Leviticus – And He Called

The name of Leviticus in Hebrew means “And He called.” It comes from the first words of the book just like “Name” does for Exodus. Leviticus is not just a book of laws for the priests thought. It is a book of how God’s people are called to be different, set apart or holy from those around them, and the laws are proof.

Despite secular history’s attempt to say Moses basically copied Hammurabi’s code, God’s law were actually very distinct from the laws of surrounding nations. The Patterns of Evidence article “Do Ancient Law Codes Prove Moses Copied?” points out significant differences between these two sets of laws and can help you be ready to “give an answer” as you share with others how God’s people truly were called to be set apart, and how we are still called to be set apart – “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession” – 1 Peter 2:9 ESV. (

Although it can be tempting to skim through or even skip Leviticus, it is a good book to read with your kids. It was one of my kids favorite when we read through the Bible. It really helped to see God’s holiness and his heart for this people.

Numbers – “In the Wilderness”

When Numbers opens, it’s been almost a year since Israel left Egypt and eleven months since they arrived at Mt. Sinai. In fact, they celebrated the second Passover in chapter 9 of the book before setting out for the Promised Land.

Then we have a “but”…… But they did not go into the Promised Land. Instead, Numbers spans the forty years they spent in the wilderness because they believed the majority of the spies and refused to go into the Promise Land. In fact, Numbers includes several instances of rebellion: complaining about no meat, Miriam and Aaron oppose Moses, the rebellion of Korah and some others, rebellion at Meribah, the bronze snake, and the apostasy at Peor with the women of Moab. Again, it’s hard not to judge them when they had just experienced God’s presence and saw his presence in the fire and cloud every single day. Yet, we have his spirit IN us, and I still rebel.

Nevertheless, God was faithful to them and is faithful to us, just as Him name declares. God defeated various nations that opposed Israel while they were in the wilderness and headed to the Promised Land. He also caused Balaam to bless them instead of curse them as he was hired to do.

Numbers also shows up the precision and order God required of his people and further explained several Laws as well as set out the boundaries of land and established cities of refuge and cities for the Levites since they would not inherit land. (Deuteronomy 18 says God is their inheritance.)

Numbers ends with Israel “in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho”. But they are not quite ready to enter the Promised Land…

Deuteronomy – These are the words

The people who stand at the edge of the Jordan are the ones who were less than twenty-years old forty years ago when Israel first stood at the edge of the Promised Land. This new group includes their children, Moses, Joshua, and Caleb. I think if ever there was a people who should know God, this was them. They or their parents crossed the Red Sea on dry land, saw the smoke and fire, thunder and lightning atop the trembling Mt. Sinai, heard God himself speak from Mt. Sinai, saw the glowing face of Moses, wore shoes and clothes that did not wear out for forty years, ate manna from Heaven every day, and witnessed many other miracles and provisions of God. They should be ready for anything and anywhere God sends them!

Before they enter the Promised Land, they need to get a few things straight – first of which is their covenant with God. Their parents were the ones who agreed to follow God at Mt. Sinai. Now it is their turn. Hence we have “Deuteronomy” or “second law” in Greek. (The original name for the book comes from the first few words of the book “These are the words” or “the words.”)

These words” are actually three sermons from Moses reminding the people of God’s faithfulness and encouraging them to remain faithful to Him before Moses dies. He repeats the Law given at Mt. Sinai and explains what it means to love God and follow the Ten Commandments. Deuteronomy also includes instructions for once then enter the Promised Land including the curses and blessings from Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerizim, the covenant renewal, Moses’s song, and his final blessing on Israel. The book ends with Moses’s death on Mount Nebo where God buries him.

The beginning of Moses’s second sermon is what I really wanted to look at this month. We needed the forty-one year review to more fully appreciate and apply the verses though just as Moses basically did for the people in chapters one through four of Deuteronomy. He started his second sermon by repeating the Ten Commandments and reminding them about the first time they received these Laws – they heard God himself speak the Ten Commandments out loud from Mt. Sinai. (Ex 20:22 – God told Moses to tell the people “You have seen for yourselves that I talked with you from heaven.”). It scared the people so much they asked Moses to do all the listening, and just tell them what God. They said “we will hear and do it” (Deut 5:27).

The LORD heard them and said they were right. Then we get to verse 29: Oh that they had such a mind as this always, to fear me and to keep all my commandments., that it might go well with them and with their descendants forever!

Wow! To me, this is one of the saddest, most powerful, and most convicting verses in the whole Bible.

I want to shake them and say “Didn’t you just hear that? Didn’t you just see that? How in the world can you not march right into the Promised Land, kick them all out, and submit to God’s ways every single day of your life? You people are crazy and pathetic. Can’t you see how much He loves you ? Can’t you see He only wants what is good for you?”

I need to pause for a moment and consider another time fire and a “mighty” sound appear in Scripture.

Acts 2:1-4:

When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested[a] on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

They were filled with the Holy Spirit. What that means is Jesus is in the Church. He is in me.

Consider these New Testament verses:

  • Romans 8:10

  • 2 Corinthians 13:5

  • Galatians 1:15-16, 2:20, 4:19

  • Colossians 1:27

Now who’s crazy and pathetic….Me…. I don’t have to stand at the foot of a mountain to be in God’s presence.

But if I had…..

I want to believe if I had seen that burning, trembling mountain, I know I would talk about. I’d talk about at every meal, while we did chores, and while we did school work. It would be the morning devotion and the bed time story. We’d draw pictures of it and hang them on the wall. (And you can be sure someone would post it to social media.) Sound familiar?

Deuteronomy chapter 6:

5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

But the question becomes would I submit? Or would I just talk about it and think I was special and set apart because of something I experienced?

Would I submit being called to be holy day in and day out? Would my life be any different?

God’s Word says if I do my life will definitely be different. If I had such a mind as this always, to fear [Him} and to keep all [His] commandments, then it will go well for his people.

My ONLY hope to live the life He calls me to is His very own Son. How amazing He calls me to live holy (set apart) AND enables me to do it…..AND then makes it go well for me!! His grace reigns!

Lord, please help me to love you with all of my heart, all of my soul, and all of my mind, to obey your commands, and never stop talking about you (Deut 6:5-9). Nothing else really matters….


Freedom cries heard by the great I AM
Salvation in the blood of the Passover Lamb

God set His people apart with His commands
To dwell with them Emmanuel is His plan

Hot and Dusty in the desert 40 years
Brought His ways into focus through trials and tears.

How do Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy point to Jesus?

  • The death of the first born

  • The Passover Lamb

      • brought into the home on the 10th day to be inspected and slaughtered on the 14th day – just as Jesus came into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and was crucified at the end of the week

  • The blood over the door way

  • The Passover meal

  • The manna – I am the bread of life

  • The tabernacle – each component represents something about Jesus and his work

  • The annual festivals – some have been fulfilled, other are yet to be accomplished

  • Moses

  • And more!

Note: Our study of horses this month will give us a visual of what it means to submit and how much more fruitful our life will be once we do.



Coming next week.



Grace Reigns Horsemanship & Farm

1644 Johnson St. Extension*

Ray City, GA 31645

Date(s) –   Sept 21st

More Information

Check out our website for more information. 

* Be sure to include “Extension” in your GPS, or it will take you to another address.



 Suggested Projects/Activities:

Bible Study

    • Research the Egyptian god(s) God defeated with each of the plagues.

    • Research the Seder and see how many ways you can find that it points to Jesus

    • Research how Moses’s time on Mt. Sinai resembles a Hebrew/Jewish wedding

    • Research the significance of 40 and see how many times your kids can think of 40 being used in the Bible

    • Find out what happened to the bronze serpent Moses made in the desert. (2 Kings 18:4)

    • Research and discuss how the elements of the Tabernacle point to the life and work of Christ Research and discuss how Jesus has fulfilled or will fulfill each of the Feasts.

    • Discuss with you kids the characteristics of God his name reveal in Exodus 34:5-7.

    • Research Mt. Ebal & Mt. Gerizim (including their relevance to the Samaritans and a recent discovery of a curse tablet found on Mt. Ebal)


    • Research the life of Wild Horse Annie

    • Research how an individual can help make a law

    • Research the Wild Horse and Burro Act – how it was made, how it is carried out, pros and cons

    • Research different equine species and/or horse breeds and a make a species/breed notebook

    • Research different disciplines related to horses – be sure to include disciples under each of these categories: western, english, liberty, racing, team sports, para-equestrian, driving, and others

    • Research what it cost to have a horse. Be sure to include land, feed, vet, equipment, insurance, etc.

  Bible Drill Verses


Children – 3rd-5th grades

Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not. Proverbs 8:33 KJV

So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Romans 14:12 KJV

Youth – 6th – 8th grades

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Exodus 20:8 KJV

Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine. Exodus 19:5 KJV

How can I resist the Devil?

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  James 4:7 KJV

High School – 9th – 12th grades

And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s: it is holy unto the Lord. Leviticus 27:30 KJV

Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. Deuteronomy 11:18-19 KJV


* Competition grades may vary.  See for more information.

Don’t forget to check out for ideas about sharing the truths of the Bible you learn this month and the BibleMemory app to help memorize the monthly verses.

Complete these fun family challenges as a way to help illustrate the Biblical accounts we study each month.

Build a Fire


Build a camp fire and talk about the times fire and/or smoke appears in the Bible.


  • Materials to build a fire – outside and in safe location.

  • Optional – Ingredient for s’mores!


  • To see the visual image God often used to represent His presence.

  • Discuss what smoke and fire represent in the Bible.

  • Discuss why God may use fire/smoke to represent his presence.

  • Discuss the importance of God’s presence.

  • Talk about how we can be in God’s presence.