OVERVIEW OF EXODUS
Author: Moses is attributed as the receiver and giver of the Law as recorded in Exodus, and so the Jewish and Christian traditions attribute authorship to him. Also, the detail of the accounts of events, conversations, geography, etc., suggest intimate first hand knowledge, which also points to Moses. (Example: As in 2:12 when Moses, “glancing this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.”)
Date: During the time of the Israelites wandering the desert between 1445-1405 B.C.
Audience/Purpose: Written to the people of Israel to show them how God redeemed them, guided them, provided for them, and established them as His holy covenant people (Exod. 19:4-6).
1:1-4:17 - God hears and remembers His oppressed people and raises up Moses to deliver them
4:18-31 - Moses is established among the elders and God’s chosen leader of Israel
5:1-21 - Moses’ first encounter with Pharaoh brings harsh treatment on Israel
5:22-7:7 - God reaffirms His call to Moses and Aaron
7:8-12:30 - God judges Pharaoh and Egypt through plagues and mighty displays of power
Aaron’s staff becoming a snake and swallowing the Egyptians’ staffs that became snakes
Plagues: blood in Nile, frogs, gnats, flies, livestock, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, death of firstborn
The first Passover and the instructions to remember it from now on (12:1-30)
12:31-15:21 - God delivers Israel through the parting of the Red Sea and their celebration
15:22-17:16 - God provides for His doubting and complaining people in the wilderness
18:1-27 - Jethro encourages Moses toward more effective leadership for Israel
19:1-24:18 - God supernaturally establishes and confirms His covenant of Law with Israel
25:1-31:18 - God instructs Moses regarding the building and use of the Tabernacle
32:1-34:35 - God rebukes and restores a sinful people from making and worshiping the golden calf
35:1-39:43 - God’s instructions and inspiration given to Israel to provide for and prepare the Tabernacle
40:1-33 - God leads Moses to set up the Tabernacle
40:34-38 - God would meet with and lead Israel by His glorious presence
Theological Contributions and Contemporary Applications
Fear the Lord who alone is the sovereign God.
“Because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own.” (1:21)
“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matt. 10:28)
Reach out for the Lord’s compassion toward our spiritual bondage to sin.
“God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.” (2:24-25)
“But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ.” (Ep. 2:4-5)
Trust the Lord’s promise and power to overcome and rescue us from evil.
“So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land.” (3:8)
“I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you.” (12:12-14)
“The Israelites went through the sea on dry ground...That day the Lord saved Israel.” (14:29-31)
“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age.” (Ga. 1:3-4)
Beware of hardening your heart to God and His Word.
“Pharaoh’s heart became hard and he would not listen.” (7:13)
“See to it brothers that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” (Heb. 3:12-13)
Move when God moves, trusting and following His lead in the face of obstacles.
“So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea.” (13:18)
Live holy to the Lord and treat others with mercy and justice as a witness of His redeeming love.
“You yourselves have seen what I did in Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all the nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.” (19:4-6)
“When Moses went and told the people all the Lord’s words and laws, they responded with one voice, ‘Everything the Lord has said we will do.’” (24:3-4)
“The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.” (Titus 2:11-12)
Do not complain or look back but trust the Lord’s provision for the present and future.
“In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, ‘If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt!...‘I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions.” (16:2-4)
“Do everything without complaining or arguing.” (Phil. 2:14)
Resist the golden calves.
“When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, ‘Come, make us gods who will go before us.” (32:1)
“Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” (34:14)
“Do not love the world or anything in the world.” (1 John 2:15)
Make the presence and worship of God our highest priority.
“Then Moses summoned Bezalel and Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the Lord had given ability and who was willing to do the work. They received from Moses all the offerings the Israelites had brought to carry out the work of constructing the sanctuary.” (36:1-2)
“Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle.” (40:34)
“In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” (Ep. 2:21-22)