The book of Exodus continues the story of the family of Jacob. At the end of Genesis, Jacob’s family had felt the effects of a famine and sought help from Egypt. Through God’s providential care, Joseph had risen to prominence in Egypt and provided refuge for the family of Jacob (Israel). However, there later arose an Egyptian pharaoh who did not know Joseph. Soon the descendants of Jacob were in bondage and entered into forced labor. The growth and expansion of the chosen descendants of Abraham was incredible. The baby boom forced the Egyptians to attempt to kill off the male babies that were being born. The Hebrew midwives feared God and defied pharaoh (Exodus 1:17-22). One child in particular was saved—Moses—who becomes the central figure in the book (Exodus 2:1-4).
Moses grew up in the household of pharaoh, but later rejected the privileges of living as an Egyptian and chose to suffer with the people of God (Exodus 2:5-11). Eventually, at the ripe age of 80 years old (Acts 7:23, 30), God called Moses to deliver Israel from Egyptian slavery. Through plagues that devastated the nation of Egypt, proving that God is the one and only God, pharaoh eventually relented and allowed the Hebrew people to leave Egypt. The climax of the mass exodus out of Egypt is recorded for us with God parting the Red Sea as the Israelites crossed dry ground (Exodus 14).
The Lord provided food and water for the Hebrew people as they journeyed in the wilderness to Mount Sinai. It was at Sinai that God gave Moses the Law, most notably the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20). The nation of Israel agreed to keep the law and enter into a covenant of service and obedience to God (Exodus 24:3). Soon after entering the covenant with God, the people grew discontent and built a golden calf (Exodus 32). The Lord was greatly displeased and many Israelites were killed for their transgression. Moses interceded on behalf of Israel and pleaded for God’s mercy to be upon them and God listened to Moses’ entreaty on behalf of the people.
Much of the latter half of Exodus reveals God’s design, pattern, and blueprint for the construction of the tabernacle and the instruments to be used in the worship of Jehovah. Jobs were given to Israelites for the construction of the tabernacle. Also the priesthood was instituted for the people to make sacrifices for sin unto God.
By the end of the book of Exodus the Israelites were a nation—not identified by where they lived, but identified by the God whom they worshiped and served.
by Sean P. Cavender