Exodus is a book of rescue. We find God is revealed as mighty in power and rich in grace as he rescues his people from Pharaoh and themselves. And the goal of God’s rescue is that his people might enjoy relationship with him.
Exodus is a book of rescue told in two parts.
The first part, Chapters 1-18, tells us what the RESCUE IS FROM.
It is a RESCUE FROM the evil Pharaoh, who has enslaved God’s people in Egypt. They cry out and God sends them a rescuer – Moses who points us to Christ. Through 10 plagues Pharaoh’s vice-like grip is broken and God’s people are set free. This rescue proves God’s POWER.
It is also a RESCUE FROM is the sin that dwells in the hearts of God’s people. This is seen supremely in the 10th and final plague when a Passover Lamb dies as a substitute for each Israelite family. The people’s sin is also seen in their grumbling in chapters 16 and 17 and the golden calf in chapter 32 – they need RESCUING FROM these too. This rescue proves God’s MERCY.
The second part of the book, Chapters 19-40, tells us what the RESCUE IS FOR. This is the less familiar part of the book and the harder part to read. It tells us that God’s people are RESCUED FOR RELATIONSHIP with him.
This is a relationship of deep commitment, highlighted in the laws God gives instructing his people how they are to relate to him and each other in chapters 20-23. This deep commitment is also shown in the peoples' decision to be God’s people in chapter 24.
This is a relationship of close fellowship, seen in God’s plan to live among his people in the Tabernacle. Lots of details are given for its construction in chapters 25-31, and chapters 35-40, which point back to Eden where God first lived with his people.
In chapter 32 the problem of the people’s sin resurfaces in dramatic fashion with the making of the Golden Calf. And while God shows mercy to his people, their sin means that Moses can’t enter the Tabernacle at the end of the book. The book ends with a problem. How can a holy God live among a sinful people? This will be dealt with in Leviticus, the next book in the Bible.
You might find it helpful to ask these questions of each chapter of Exodus. It’s unlikely that they’ll each be appropriate for every chapter. But they might well help.
- What or who do Israel need rescuing from?
- How does God reveal his greatness and grace in the ways he rescues?
- How do God’s laws reveal the kind of people he rescued Israel to be?
The Bible Project
The last resources to help us study Exodus are the following videos from the Bible Project. In greater depth than above they introduce us to the book of Exodus in two videos each lasting around 10 minutes.