The book of Exodus highlights God’s powerful redemption of His people via the events of the Passover (to accomplish deliverance from bondage in Egypt) and the crossing of the Red Sea (part of His guidance and protection as He drowns the pursuing Egyptian army). God then establishes His covenant relationship via the mediatorial role of Moses in giving them the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai. The more detailed Book of the Covenant provides the specific case law to which the Israelites pledge their obedience. The second half of the book transitions to the details surrounding the tabernacle which support the worship that manifests God’s glory to the surrounding nations. As NT believers, we appreciate the typology of the Passover lamb and the blood sacrifices ratifying the covenant relationship which is fulfilled in the once-for-all sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross to redeem us from our sins. We also appreciate the immediate access to God we now enjoy through Jesus Christ our great High Priest in contrast to the boundaries erected in the days of Israel to prevent the people from drawing too close to such a holy and majestic God.
GOD REDEEMS HIS PEOPLE FROM BONDAGE TO LEAD THEM TO OBEY AND WORSHIP HIM TO MANIFEST HIS GLORY
Exodus 20:2 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.”
I. (1:1 – 15:21) DELIVERANCE FROM EGYPT: A REVELATION OF YAHWEH’S POWER
A. (1:1 – 4:31) PREPARATION FOR DELIVERANCE
B. (5:1 – 11:10) RESISTANCE FROM PHARAOH
C. (12:1 – 15:21) STORY OF DELIVERANCE
II. (15:22 – 18:27) WILDERNESS JOURNEY: A REVELATION OF YAHWEH’S PROVIDENTIAL CARE
A. (15:22–27) WATER AT MARAH — OUR CIRCUMSTANCES ALWAYS CHANGE, BUT OUR FAITH IN GOD’S PROVISION SHOULD NEVER WAVER
B. (16:1–36) MANNA AND QUAIL FROM HEAVEN – GOD’S PEOPLE NEED TO STOP COMPLAINING AND TRUST IN HIS FAITHFUL PROVISION FOR ALL THEIR NEEDS
C. (17:1–7) WATER FROM THE ROCK — TESTING GOD BY DOUBTING HIS POWERFUL PRESENCE TO PROVIDE EXPOSES OUR SPIRITUAL IMMATURITY
BUT ENHANCES GOD’S PATIENCE AND GRACE
D. (17:8–16) PROTECTION FROM THE AMALEKITES (SPIRITUAL WARFARE) — VICTORY IN SPIRITUAL WARFARE REQUIRES GOD’S PEOPLE ACTIVELY FIGHTING
WHILE DEPENDING ON THE POWER OF THE LORD WHO DESERVES ALL THE CREDIT
E. (18:1–27) JETHRO’S VISIT TO MOSES – TESTIMONY TO THE SUPREMACY OF GOD AND COUNSEL REGARDING THE VALUE OF SHARED LEADERSHIP
III. (19:1–24:18) COVENANT AND THE LAW: A REVELATION OF YAHWEH’S CHARACTER
A. (19:1–25) PREPARATION TO ACCEPT THE COVENANT —- GOD’S PEOPLE PREPARE FOR INTIMATE COVENANT RELATIONSHIP
BY A PROCESS OF CONSECRATION AND MAINTAINING BOUNDARIES THAT RESPECT GOD’S AWESOME TRANSCENDENCE
B. (20:1–23:33) PRESENTATION OF THE COVENANT
C. (24:1–18) RATIFICATION OF THE COVENANT — THE RATIFICATION OF THE COVENANT IS ROOTED IN THE BLOOD OF
THE COVENANT AND IS DESIGNED TO MANIFEST THE GLORY OF GOD
IV. (25:1–40:38) THE TABERNACLE AND WORSHIP: A REVELATION OF YAHWEH’S PURPOSE
A. (25:1–31:18) INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE TABERNACLE AND ITS SERVICE: THE RIGHT WAY TO GOD’S PRESENCE
B. (32:1–34:35) THE GOLD CALF: THE WRONG WAY TO SECURE GOD’S PRESENCE
C. (35:1–40:38) REPORT OF BUILDING THE TABERNACLE: SECURING YAHWEH’S PRESENCE IN YAHWEH’S WAY
WHY STUDY THIS BOOK?
· To understand where we came from as the people of God – especially the theology surrounding our redemption and freedom from the bondage of sin. Exodus means “the way out” and tells the story of redemption by blood and by power.
· To learn to trust God in difficult times since He acts in response to our prayers and out of His compassion and love – but according to His timing and in His own way and for His glory.
· To show the essential connection between deliverance and worship – we have been called and saved with a purpose – not just to escape divine wrath.
· To increase our confidence in God’s faithfulness as we see how He keeps his promises to His people.
· To get a better grasp on God’s law and on His intentions for worship in the temple.
· To see the importance of God’s name and reputation – He wants Pharaoh and the surrounding nations to know that He is the sovereign Lord.
· To learn lessons about Christ from the many Messianic types and symbols in the book.
Thomas Constable: The purpose of the Book of Exodus is to celebrate God’s gracious deliverance of His chosen people Israel from Egyptian slavery to the freedom of covenant relationship and fellowship with Him. . . The major teaching of Exodus is primarily threefold: the sovereignty of God, the salvation of man, and the methods by which the sovereign God effects man’s salvation. . . Two activities become prominent as major expressions of faith in Exodus: worship and obedience. Worship and obedience are the God-ward and the man-ward expressions of faith, respectively. They are the opposite of idolatry and self-assertiveness—two characteristics that are prominent in Genesis. God’s instruction for Israel’s obedience was the Mosaic Law. His instruction for her worship was the tabernacle. Much of Exodus deals with the Mosaic Law and the tabernacle.
Exodus is about a man, Moses. He is central to the narrative in a way in which no single character, not even Abraham, dominates Genesis. Though the book is not an autobiography, we learn much about Moses as an individual. He makes no secret of his own hesitation and sense of inadequacy, of how he could get things wrong, of how he had to face the intense pressures of leading his people in the way God required. Though Moses is very much at the centre of Exodus, he is not its hero; he does not seek to win acclaim for himself. He is the man of God, who sets all against the reality of divine sovereignty and measures all in terms of God’s requirements.
Exodus is about a nation, Israel, moving from slavery in Egypt into freedom. But it is not essentially a story of political rebellion. It is the spiritual story of a people finding their way towards God, people who were still experiencing the tension of being torn in two directions by the religious forces of their day. They had to unlearn the ways and attitudes of their past; they had to learn not just that they were God’s people, but also how to live true to that calling. But they did not succeed in living up to the great privileges that the Lord had given to them, and so Exodus is not only written about them, but also for them, so that they might grasp the status that had been accorded to them, learn from their past mistakes, and find from God the strength they needed for the future.
But ultimately Exodus is about God, about the God of the covenant who has instituted a new relationship between himself and those whom he has called to be his people. It is about how he teaches them—the times of silence and the times of action; about how he introduces himself to them, about how he acts on their behalf and shows them the real difference it makes that the Lord is their God, and about the patience he shows as he leads them out of their grumbling, even outright rebellion, until he comes to dwell in their midst.
Warren Wiersbe: Note the balance in the spiritual experience of the Jewish people: God delivered them from bondage (1-18), but freedom should lead to obedience (19-24), land obedience results in worship to the glory of God (25-40). Apart from worship, freedom becomes lawlessness and obedience becomes oppression.
Walter Kaiser Jr.: Exodus also tells us how we should live. The foundation of biblical ethics and morality is laid out for us first in the gracious character of God as revealed in the Exodus and then in the Ten Commandments and the ordinances of the Book of the Covenant. From the illustrations of the cases in chapters 21-23, we learn how to practically apply the principles of the ten words that in turn have their grounding in the permanency of the character of God.
W. H. Gispen: Exodus proclaims Christ as the Suffering One in the life of Moses, in his birth and persecution; his being taunted, not least of all by his own people. It encourages God’s people in oppression and deprivation; it warns them against a sinful lack of trust in His guidance; it points to their calling to be a royal priesthood, a holy and purchased nation, and it points out what is theirs: God Himself has made His dwelling with His people in the pillar of cloud and fire, in the tabernacle of the Sinaitic covenant.
Alan Cole: The Theology of Exodus:
– The God who controls history
– I am YHWH
– The God who is holy
– The God who remembers
– The God who acts in salvation
– The God who acts in judgment
– The God whose anger may be averted
– The God who speaks
– The God who is transcendent
– The God who lives among his people