The chapters chosen for today are a continuation of the sermon of the mount in Matthew and three chapters of Exodus telling of what happened in the desert after the miraculous crossing of the Red Sea.
Matthew 6 continues the telling of the sermon on the mount. Jesus spoke of doing good, of fasting and prayer, do it without fanfare, in secret if possible and, above all, be sincere. He then instituted what is called “The Lord’s prayer” which really is a pattern prayer for us, short, direct, but covers the essentials. Then he continued by recommending to store up eternal, spiritual treasures, not physical riches, for you cannot serve two masters, you serve either God or money. Then Jesus continued telling how foolish it is to worry about the future, concentrate on what is important, seek first the Kingdom of God, and God will take care of all the other things.
In Exodus 17, lack of water is a recurring theme in the desert. In Rephidim there was no water at all, so God told Moses to strike the rock at the foot of Mount Horeb. Water gushed out and they were all filled. Good it was, for the Amalekites attacked them right afterwards. Joshua and his men fought a good fight, and Moses helped by raising his hands, and as long as he held them high Joshua prevailed. But Moses got tired, so Aaron and Hur held up his hands until sunset, and so the Amalekites were defeated.
Exodus 18 tells of Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law when he visited Moses, who now was in a difficult situation trying to lead his people all by himself, and Jethro gave Moses good advice about real leadership, delegation of management, a practice essential for all governing.
In Exodus 19, time had come to visit Mount Sinai. God declared that the Israelites will be a Kingdom of Priests and a holy nation. The chapter deals with the three-day consecration that was to occur before Moses went up to meet with God.