1. The Sinai Peninsula is an important region to readers of the Bible and also serves as a land bridge between Africa and Asia. Notice on the map the region appears to be an upside down triangle.
2. Three significant events occurred there regarding the Israelites. First the Peninsula is the location where Mount Sinai is located…the place where God appeared to Moses more than once. Moses interacted with God for the first time while he was on the mountain herding sheep for Jethro. The second time Moses was there God established his covenant with the Israelites at the foot of the mountain after their exodus from Egypt. Sinai is also the place where Moses ascended the mountain and God gave him the Ten Commandments.3. Mount Sinai is referred to as “the mountain”…. Exodus 19:2; “the mountain of God”… Exodus 3:1; “the mountain of the Lord”…Numbers Numbers 10:33; and “Horeb”…Exodus 3:1.
There are five areas mentioned in the Bible in relationship to the mountain.4. The Wilderness of Shur is the location on the northern border of Egypt where the Israelites found themselves after crossing the Red Sea. This place was between the Red Sea and Marah where the people complained because there was no water…. Exodus 15: 22-24.
5. The wilderness of Sin is a region between Elim and Sinai where God provided food for the Israelites…Exodus 16:1.6. The Wilderness of Paran is where the Israelites camped after they left Mount Sinai, and is the location where they were sent out to explore the land.
7. The Wilderness of Zin saw the Israelites pass through on their way to Canaan. The wilderness is on the border of Palestine and more than likely included Kadesh-barnea.
8. The Wilderness of Sinai takes its name from the mountain and is where the people camped in anticipation of receiving God’s law
9. Several significant events happened at Sinai for the Israelites….they received the law….Exodus 19: 1-6; they were numbered…. Numbers 1:19, Numbers 3: 14-15, and Numbers 26:64; they celebrated the Passover… Exodus 9: 4-5; and Elijah made a pilgrimage to the mountain when he was running from Jezebel…1 Kings 19:8.10. Think about the route God gave to the Israelites to the Land of Canaan. He could have sent them on a shorter route….by the Mediterranean through the land of the Philistines… Exodus 13:17. This route was known as “The Way of the Sea”. The Israelites wanted to avoid it because the Egyptians had the area fortified with sentries…sentries who protected the military and trade routes into Egypt. The Egyptians considered the peninsula important because they obtained turquoise and cooper from there and in turn used those items for trade with other nations.
Instead the Israelites traveled south along the eastern shores of the Gulf of Suez.11. The Sinai was not a friendly place to travel through. There was no water and no vegetation except for a few areas that were classified as oases and wadis. River beds remained dry except during winter floods. Besides the shortage of food and water there were diseases, snakes, scorpions, and the possibility of attacks from enemy tribes.
Most of the Israelites felt the challenges of living in the wilderness were beyond their capacity to adapt. They faced the perils of the wilderness and their faith eroded with the cruel reality of life in the desert.12. What they forgot was the Lord was always there in the Wilderness providing for their needs. He had given them the pillar cloud during the day and the pillar of fire at night… Exodus 13: 21-32; the Ark of the Covenant moved ahead of them to show them where to rest…Numbers 10:33; and the Lord provided food and water.
The Israelites complained constantly and the received the Lord’s gifts with disdain….and then finally the refused to go into the Promised Land… Numbers 14: 1-25.They didn’t trust God, and they didn’t trust each other either. A whole generation failed to see and trust God…even though He was providing the entire time.
13. Moses addressed a new generation at Moab after defeating the Canaanites…Deuteronomy 8: 3-5……He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you.The most important words Moses said…Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.