“April 25–May 1. Exodus 24; 31–34: ‘My Presence Shall Go with Thee,’” Come, Follow Me—For Sunday School: Old Testament 2022 (2021)
“April 25–May 1. Exodus 24; 31–34,” Come, Follow Me—For Sunday School: 2022
Record Your Impressions
Class members could imagine that a friend says, “I don’t read the Old Testament; it doesn’t seem relevant to my life.” Ask them to respond by sharing something they have found meaningful in their recent study of the Old Testament.
You might begin by asking class members if they have ever had to explain to a family member or friend why they treat Sundays differently from other days. Invite them to share what they said or what they might say in the future. Reading Exodus 31:12–17 or the statement in “Additional Resources” can give them additional ideas. How do our choices on the Sabbath demonstrate our commitment to Jesus Christ?
Even though the penalties described in Exodus 31:14–15 don’t apply today, they do indicate how strongly the Lord feels about the Sabbath. Why is this commandment so important? Discussing these scriptures can help: Exodus 31:12–17; Isaiah 58:13–14; Doctrine and Covenants 59:9–13.
To help class members ponder and personalize the account in Exodus 32, first ask them to review the chapter individually or in groups. Then ask some class members to take the role of Israelites who grew impatient waiting for Moses to return and decided to make a golden idol. What feelings might have led them to idol worship? Other class members could try to persuade them to stay true to the Lord and His prophet. Class members could talk about what inspires them to keep their covenants. What can we do to help those who might be struggling to keep their covenants?
When people read the Old Testament, they are sometimes surprised at the strict punishments the Lord prescribed for sin. Exodus 34:1–9 can help them see that while God does not condone sin, He is also merciful, offering forgiveness to those who repent. Perhaps class members could read this passage and ponder questions like these: What do we learn about the Lord from these verses? Why do we need to know these things about Him? You might point out that Joseph Smith Translation, Exodus 34:7 (in Exodus 34:7, footnote e) clarifies that God will not “clear the rebellious.” What might this mean? Perhaps class members could share how they have witnessed God’s mercy. How is it possible for God to be both perfectly merciful and perfectly just? (see Alma 42:13–15).
Exodus 34:6–17 can be seen as instruction to help the Israelites repent of their sin of idolatry (described in Exodus 32). What do we find in these verses that might have helped the Israelites repent? What do we learn about the Lord and repentance from this instruction?
How will you help class members apply what the Lord said to Moses in Exodus 33:11–17? You could start by reviewing the work that God still needed Moses to fulfill (see Exodus 33:1–3). What do we find in verses 11–17 that would have strengthened and comforted Moses? Class members could think about something God wants them to do—such as fulfilling a Church calling, a family responsibility, or a ministering opportunity. They could then read the verses again. What insights do we gain about how God will support us?
President Russell M. Nelson explained: “In my much younger years, I studied the work of others who had compiled lists of things to do and things not to do on the Sabbath. It wasn’t until later that I learned from the scriptures that my conduct and my attitude on the Sabbath constituted a sign between me and my Heavenly Father [see Exodus 31:13; Ezekiel 20:12, 20]. With that understanding, I no longer needed lists of dos and don’ts. When I had to make a decision whether or not an activity was appropriate for the Sabbath, I simply asked myself, ‘What sign do I want to give to God?’ That question made my choices about the Sabbath day crystal clear” (“The Sabbath Is a Delight,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2015, 130).