In the second half of Exodus Israel meets God at Mt. Sinai. They make a covenant with him, receive rules by which to live, build a tabernacle where God will dwell with them, but things go terribly wrong.
The Book the first half of the book of Exodus is the story of Moses leading Israel out of Egypt. It is the first place the words “Redemption” and “Salvation” are used in the Bible. Find out how this epic story fits into the entire Biblical Narrative.
Outline of Exodus
Exodus 1-18 Moses Leads the People out of Egypt
Exodus 19 Mount Sinai
Exodus 20-40 God’s Instructions
Jon: Let’s talk about the book Exodus now you’re probably familiar with this book
because the epic story of Moses leading Israel out of slavery in Egypt.
Tim: Yeah, but that’s just the first half at the book.
The second half has Moses giving the Ten Commandments to Israel
along with these blueprints for making a sacred tent.
Now right here in the middle is this story that connects these two halves together
and it all takes place at the foot of a famous mountain.
Jon: OK, let’s start back at the beginning.
Tim: So the first thing we have to remember is we’re continuing this story from Genesis.
Jon: In Genesis God promised Abraham that through his family
all the nations of the earth will be blessed.
And Genesis ends with Abraham’s family down in Egypt.
When Exodus begins, four hundred years have passed, the family grows
and becomes the people group now called Israel.
Tim: But there’s this huge problem because the Israelites are enslaved to this King of the Egyptians
a guy called Pharaoh.
Jon: This guy is really bad news.
Tim: Yeah, he is horrible.
He disregards their humanity. He brutally enslaves them.
And he even orders that all of the Israelite sons should be killed
by throwing them into the Nile River. He wants to wipe these people out,
he is the worst character in the Bible so far.
Jon: Here’s where we meet an Israelite woman who wants to save her son.
Tim: And so she does throw him in the river, but safely
in this little reed basket.
Jon: And Pharaoh’s daughter finds this baby and takes him as her own.
Tim: And this is the boy who grow up to become Moses, the man who will rescue Israel from slavery.
Jon: So Moses grows up, and one day much later in his life he has this crazy encounter with God
where he comes across a bush thats on fire, but it isn’t actually burning up.
Tim: And God speaks from the bush, and he appoints Moses as the man he will use to deliver Israel.
Jon: So Moses goes to Pharaoh to tell him this news
that God wants His people free.
Tim: And Pharaoh, he just pretty much laughs at him,
“Who is this God, Yahweh?”
And, in fact he is so offended by this request he decides to make the Israelites work even harder.
Jon: So discouraged, Moses goes back to God and says, “Listen, this plan’s not gonna work.”
Tim: But God repeats His promise that He’s going to rescue them.
And in fact, it’s right here for the first time in the Bible
that we hear the word “redemption”
it literally just means ‘to purchase a slave’s freedom’
But God here uses this word to describe what He’s going to do for enslaved Israel.
Jon And God knows Pharaoh is going to resist so he sends ten different plauges
one after another… like turning water into blood…
sending all sorts pests and disease…
these plagues are really severe.
Tim: They are severe.
But what we need to understand is that the story is presenting these as
acts of divine justice against one of the worst oppressors in the story of the Bible.
And they are aimed at the purpose of rescuing these enslaved people and defeating the God’s of Egypt.
Jon: This all comes to a climax at the tenth plague…
where God is going to kill the first-born sons across all Egypt, every house, it is pretty rough.
Tim: It is. But is also God’s response for how Pharaoh killed the Israelite sons.
Jon: Now as you turn the page, you suddenly get two long chapters of detailed instructions
for what’s essentially throwing a dinner party with a recipe for lamb…?
Tim: Yeah, but this lamb is super important.
God tells the Israelites to pick it out and to prepare it to be eaten.
And they are supposed to take its blood and then paint it all over the door frame of their house.
And anyone who is in that house will be spared from this final plague.
And so this meal, which is called “Passover”,
it commemorates this key moment in the story where God brings his justice on human evil,
but also shows mercy by providing this substitute.
Jon: This final plauge makes Pharaoh angry, and he demands that Israel get out of Egypt, which is great!
But suddenly, as they leave, Pharaoh changes his mind- he has “a change of heart.”
Tim: But on top of that, we are also told that “God hardens Pharaoh’s heart.”
Jon: Why would God do that?
Tim: Well, what we need to remember is that over and over in the story Pharaoh has already chosen to harden his own heart…
so at this point, Pharaoh, he’s not just evil, he’s become monstrously evil.
Even his own advisers think that he has gone way too far.
And so how was God supposed to deal with such an extreme form of evil?
And what we see in the story is that God uses his power
to lure evil into its own destruction.
Jon: Pharaoh and his army are destroyed in the Red Sea as Israel passes into freedom.
Tim: And after this we find the very first song of worship in the Bible
as people praise God for redeeming them.
And it is in this story that the word salvation is also used for the first time,
which means simply, ‘to be rescued from danger’.
Jon: Now that they’re saved, you would think think that everything should be great…
…but the story quickly turns.
The Israelites start wandering in the desert. They are tired, hungry, lost.
and you start to wonder what’s God doing? What are they saved for?
Tim: And we learn the answer to that question in the very next story
which ties the two parts at this whole book together.