THE BOOK OF EXODUS
Exodus means going out. The book records the redemption out of Egypt of the descendants of Abraham, and sets forth, in type, all redemption. As Israel was brought out of bondage and unto God, and finally into the land of Canaan, so redemption from Satanic bondage aims to bring one to God, and into an experience of spiritual rest through the promises. The importance of cleansing from defilement as the basis of fellowship with God is also indicative of the redemption of the New Testament, which says, “ If we walk in the Light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanest us from all sin.”
Exodus falls into three main divisions:
1. Chs. 1-15. Israel in Egypt
2. Chs. 16-18. From the Red Sea to Sinai.
3. Chs. 19-40. Israel at Sinai.
The events recorded in Exodus cover a period of 216 years. (Usher)
ISRAEL IN EGYPT.
According to God’s Word to Abraham, the children of Israel lived in Egypt and began to multiply. This brought about the affliction, Ch.1: 10-11, which God also mentioned. In spite of their hard treatment, however, the Israelites continued to multiply until Pharaoh gave orders that all the male babies should be slain, v.27. Under these circumstances Moses was born, and according to the well-known story was eventually adopted by the daughter of Pharaoh, Ch.2: 10. When Moses was grown, he seems to have been inspired with a desire to alleviate the sufferings of his own peoples. The desire was surely of God, but Moses was too head-strong to do so great a task.
At the age of forty he interfered in a quarrel and slew an Egyptian, which finally caused him to flee from the country and settle in the land of Midian, v.15. After staying there forty years, (see Acts 7:23, 30), God appeared to him in a burning bush and gave him the call to lead the people of Israel out of their Egyptian bondage. Moses was now a very different man. He shrank from the task and had to be urged to do it. To encourage him, God revealed Himself as the “I Am”, ch.3:14. Armed with such a fact, Moses went to both Israel and Pharaoh but met with very little success. God then began to judge and plague Egypt, and finally slew the firstborn of every household, Ch.12: 29. The only protection from the destroying angel was the blood of a slain lamb applied to the two side posts of the door and to the lintel, Ch.12: 7. At that time the Feast of the Passover and of Unleavened Bread was instituted. It was to commemorate the passing over of the death angel thus sparing the firstborn, and calling the people to a walk separated unto God. Pharaoh finally let the people of Israel go.
They were led forth by a mighty hand, with God to guide them by a pillar of fire by night, and a pillar of cloud by day, Ch. 13:21. No sooner were the people led forth out of Egypt then Pharaoh gathered together his army to overtake them. God again worked wonderfully and led the people of Israel across the Red Sea on dry land. When Pharaoh and his army attempted to follow the waters rolled back and drowned them all.
FROM THE RED SEA TO SINAI.
God promised to help Moses lead the people forth and He would meet them at the same mountain where the bush burned with fire and was not consumed. The first real test was at the waters of Marah, Ch.15: 23. There God revealed Himself to them as the “I AM the Lord that healeth thee.” For their daily sustenance manna was provided for food, Ch.16: 14-15. Water was brought forth out of the rock for them to drink, Ch. 17:6, as Moses smote it before the elders of the people. On a second occasion Moses was told to speak to the rock but struck it instead. For this he was debarred from entering the Promised Land, Num. 20:7-12.
ISRAEL AT SINAI.
After three months of travel, the people came to Mt. Sinai, Ch.19: 1-2. At that place God was manifested in terrible majesty so that the people greatly feared. God was about to give forth His law, and sought to impress upon Israel how hideous to Him was contact with the imperfections of sinners. The law was given at great length to Moses, Ch.20-32, and when he came down from the mount and saw the awful spectacle of God’s people in a nude state dancing around a golden calf, he dropped the two tablets of stone and broke them, Ch.32: 15-19. This act was almost prophetic in that it foreshadowed the breaking of the law by the children of Israel. In addition to the Ten Commandments, God gave various other injunctions to the people. He also gave Moses a clear picture of the tabernacle and its furniture. This gives us many symbolic pictures of Christ in His earthly life and ministry, and also His position since His death and resurrection. In Ch.34, we read that Moses hewed out two new tablets of stone upon which God wrote the Ten Commandments. The Lord also helped Moses by proclaiming His name unto him, by which he learned of the longsuffering of God, vs.5-7. So wonderful was the glory of the Lord that the skin of Moses’ face shone, vs.29-50.
The people were told to bring the offerings of materials for the making of the tabernacle, and for the garments of the priesthood, details of which are given in Chs. 35-39. When all was in readiness, the tabernacle was erected. The glory of God came down and filled it so that Moses was unable to go into it to minister, Ch.40: 34-35. From that time on the cloud of God overshadowed the tabernacle and guided the journeys of the people, vs. 36-38.