Exodus is the continuation of the Genesis account, dealing with the development of a small family group of seventy people into a large nation of millions. For 430 years the Hebrews lived in Egypt, most of the time in bondage. Exodus records Moses’ development, Israel’s deliverance from their bondage, their trip from Egypt to Mount Sinai to receive God’s law, and His instructions on the building of the tabernacle. It ends with the construction of the tabernacle as a dwelling place for God.
Deliverance did not occur instantaneously; it was a process. A considerable amount of time and ten plagues were used to gain the release of the Hebrews from Pharaoh’s grip. The plagues accomplished two important things: first, they demonstrated the superiority of the Hebrew God over Egyptian gods and, second, they brought freedom to the Hebrews.
God had His hand on the lives of His special people. Since they witnessed His presence and knew the way God worked in their behalf, they could adjust their lives to His way in order to continue receiving His blessings.
God’s deliverance of the people is for the specific purpose of developing a covenant people. The results of living outside this covenant structure are demonstrated by the incident involving the golden calf.
The book of Exodus begins with people whose hearts were aching, longing to find rest. They lived seemingly futile lives filled with pain, suffering under the whips of their Egyptian masters. These people, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, wanted relief from their plight, yet it seemed that they were all but forgotten by God. But just when their situation became almost unbearable, God sent Moses to redeem his people. Exodus is the story of that deliverance, an experience more profound than God’s people had ever imagined. What began as a tale of woe ended in a dramatic expression of God’s love.
At the end of the book of Exodus, as the people worshiped in a way that was pleasing to him, the glory of the Lord descended and filled the Tabernacle. Thus, the Israelites moved from the poverty of Egypt to the very presence of God at Sinai. Through this we see clearly and gratefully the God who wants to love his people!
Exodus provides us with an early glimpse of corporate worship. In Genesis, the recorded acts of worship are largely individual gestures of gratitude and thankfulness: Recall the sacrifices of Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In Exodus, the promises made to the patriarchs are fulfilled. Beyond that, Exodus marks a new chapter in our understanding of God. His greatness is revealed to his people and to his enemies. Lesser gods and hostile armies submit to his dominion. The Lord offers his covenant to the Israelites, consisting of both promises and demands. The Israelites learn—albeit painfully at times—that worship is the only appropriate response to God’s covenant.
God led Moses and the nation of Israel, and he wants to lead us as well. Is he preparing you, like Moses, for a specific task? He will be with you; obey and follow. Is he delivering you from an enemy or a temptation? Trust him, and do what he says. Have you heard his clear moral directions? Read, study, and obey his Word. Is he calling you to true worship? Discover God’s presence in your life, in your home, and in the body of assembled believers. Exodus is the exciting story of God’s guidance. Read with the determination to follow God wherever he leads.