Exodus: Week 15 Study Guide

What if the fear of God is meant to free you? In week 15 of the Book of Exodus, we’ll explore Exodus 19 as the people reach Mount Sinai. Discover what it looks like to be carried by God and how God desires for us to approach Him!


Below, you’ll find some key discussion points to consider, questions to personally reflect on and/or discuss in your small group, with your family, or in your circle of friends, and some action points for the week. 

Memory Verse of the Week: Exodus 19:10–11 (NIV)

“And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. Have them wash their clothes and be ready by the third day, because on that day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.’”

Always in Front of You

READ: Exodus 19:1­–9

Three months after escaping Egypt, the Israelites arrive at the Desert of Sinai. It’s here that they stop at Mount Sinai, and God speaks to Moses giving him the terms of their covenant and the ten commandments. 

In the verses just before today’s passage, God tells Moses to convey a message to the Israelites about how He will keep them as His holy nation if they obey Him and keep the covenant. God is going to detail more terms of this covenant and give Moses the Ten Commandments at this stop on their journey as well. Yet, before this happens, God physically makes His presence known to the people. Not only do the people hear Him through the dense cloud, but the rest of Exodus 19 also details what the people would see or hear as God speaks to Moses. 

In this short part of the chapter, we can see God’s heart in the way He spoke to Moses so the people would see and hear it was truly Him. He makes His intentions and presence known so His people would trust Him more! 

God may not reveal His appearance or allow us to hear His audible voice, yet He will always grant us experiences to reflect on and remember His presence, His promises, and His graciousness. In this way, the people were able to trust Moses as their intermediary and trust God as their guide. 

In terms of our place today; however, we no longer need a human intermediary between us and God! If we’ve accepted Christ’s free gift of forgiveness and salvation and thus entered the family of God and committed to being a follower of Jesus, then we’ve received the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God actually lives inside of us! Therefore, an additional way we can see God’s character and trust Him is in realizing the beauty, grace, and grandeur of this gift of His Spirit living in us! 

Discussion Question 1: How has God revealed Himself to you and reminded you of His presence and trustworthiness?

Discussion Question 2: What can you do to practice remembering His character throughout the day?

God’s Instruction

READ: Exodus 19:10–19

“Please do not touch.” Most of us have seen or heard this instruction at some point in our lives. Maybe we even delivered that instruction. In either case, there’s an audience (those to whom the message pertains) and a speaker (the one giving the message). In today’s passage of Scripture, the Lord gives Moses detailed instructions about how he and the Israelites were to prepare for God’s coming.

When you hear the word “instruction,” what comes to mind? Perhaps a booklet which teaches us how to assemble an item of furniture or how to program an electronic device. Either example contains a set of instructions that inform and direct us on how to make optimal use of that item. Instructions may also contain warnings or cautions about improper usage of said item and the possible consequences for disobeying those warnings.

The Lord starts by telling Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. Have them wash their clothes and be ready by the third day, because on that day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people” (Exodus 19:10–11 NIV). God’s holiness is one of His most terrifying and beautiful qualities—terrifying because we’re sinful and guilty of all forms of unrighteousness; beautiful because He’s unmatched and unrivaled. God makes it clear to Moses that the people needed to cleanse themselves and set themselves apart in preparation for His coming.

Next, the Lord tells Moses, “Put limits for the people around the mountain and tell them, ‘Be careful that you do not approach the mountain or touch the foot of it. Whoever touches the mountain is to be put to death” (Exodus 19:12 NIV). This instruction carries a heavy consequence to those who don’t follow it. It may seem harsh, but consider other instructions where death is a likely possibility:

  • Do not text and drive. 
  • Do not exceed the speed limit.
  • Do not feed the wildlife.
  • Swim at your own risk.
  • Do not trespass.

Yet people frequently disobey at least one of these instructions, even knowing the possibility of dire consequences. It’s tragic when someone dies as a consequence of not heeding instructions. Thankfully, God is good to clearly lay out His set of instructions and the corresponding consequences so we’re made fully aware.

The Lord’s final instruction to Moses is an indication of the appropriate time for the Israelites to approach His presence. If you’re like me, you tend to quickly and easily forget that when you enter God’s presence you should do it with reverence and obedience. Here’s how that typically looks for me:

  • Running late to service
  • Rushing through my quiet time with God
  • Neglecting to spend time with God

I’m grateful God is gracious and long-suffering with my lack of respect and disobedience. Today’s passage of Scripture reminds me of the importance of closely following ALL of the Lord’s instructions, not just the ones that are convenient to me. 

Discussion Question 3: Where have you neglected to closely follow God’s instructions for your life? 

The Holiness of God

READ: Exodus 19:20–25

As seen earlier in this chapter, Moses shared God’s message to the people about being obedient to Him and thus being kept as His holy and sacred possession. To this, the people responded with, “We will do everything the Lord has said” (Exodus 19:8 NIV). If you know anything about the story of the Israelites, you probably know they didn’t actually do everything the Lord said. In fact, they quickly turned to making a golden calf to worship while Moses was on the mountain receiving the written instructions from God because it had been forty days since they saw Moses. 

Although these people were very inconsistent in their obedience and devotion to the Lord, God remained gracious and faithful. God didn’t have to use Moses as an intermediary to relay His messages to the people. Knowing these people were still going to fail and betray Him time and time again, God didn’t even have to make this covenant with them. Against all reason and worldly wisdom, God still pursues the Israelites and seeks to set them apart and make them holy because He knows this is what will be best for them and bring them true life. 

Therefore, reading these verses in light of what we know will happen next makes this passage much more powerful. God graciously permits Moses and Aaron to come up the mountain. Additionally, He extends grace to His people in allowing them to see a visible reflection of His glorious presence. He makes a way for them to see a glimpse of His holiness when they wouldn’t be able to stand or speak in His complete and unconcealed presence. 

Seeing His grace here, we can appreciate the abundant grace we’ve received through the new covenant Jesus instituted in which our unholiness gets replaced with His holiness. This is something we can celebrate because our lives have been credited with the righteousness of Christ! As opposed to the Israelites in this story, we can enter the presence of God, approach His throne boldly, speak to Him as a Father and a friend, and walk around with His Spirit living inside of us! 

On the other hand, may we never take this amazing gift for granted. In remembering the holiness of God as depicted throughout the Old Testament, we must still view His holiness with the same amount of awe and wonder. This will keep us humble and thankful for a God who is simultaneously holy and sovereign while also being compassionate and gracious.

Discussion Question 4: In what ways can you remember God’s holiness today?


Spend some time, whether it be a few minutes in the car or before bed, meditating on the holiness of God and how various people in the Bible reacted to seeing Him or being in His presence. 


In our next study, we’ll explore Exodus 20 and the Ten Commandments.

Additional Resources

About the Author

Danny Saavedra

Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.