God wants us to be free from bondage

Exodus is the second book of the Bible, containing the story of God’s liberation of the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt. Historically, the exodus event was the birth of Israel as a nation. At Mount Sinai, a group of tribes who were descendants of Abraham became a nation ruled by God.

The Book of Exodus explains how the Israelites were able to resettle into the land that God had promised to Abraham and gives the basis for this religious, political, and social life.

In Psalm 37, for example, David received assurance in remembering that his God was the same one who rescued Israel from Egypt. The prophet Jeremiah compared the future re-gathering of Israel to their exodus from Egypt as an even more miraculous event (Jeremiah 16:14, 15). The return of Jesus and his parents from Egypt is associated with the exodus in Matthew 2:13–15. The deliverance of the Jewish people from Egypt was interpreted as a model for God’s freeing of all his people, both Israel and the church.

Thus, the message of the Book of Exodus is foundational to understanding God’s plan of salvation throughout the Bible. The English title “Exodus” comes from the Septuagint, a pre-Christian translation of the Old Testament into Greek. The word means “a way out” or “departure,” and refers to Israel’s rescue from Egypt. The Hebrew title is Shemoth (“these are the names”), from the book’s opening words, referring to the names of the sons of Jacob who joined Joseph in Egypt.

The Story of a Mighty God

The Book of Exodus tells the story of a mighty God, Creator of the universe, beyond all limitations of time and space, who intervenes in history on behalf of a helpless group of slaves. God defeats the ruler of the greatest empire on earth, and leads his oppressed people from that land to freedom. Exodus is the story of a single family that providentially grows into a multitude. Through God’s covenant a nation is formed, and through his Law the nation is given stability and set apart from all of its neighbours.

The Book of Exodus tells of an unusual man (Moses), whose eighty years of preparation are equally divided between the palace of a king and the pasture of a nomadic priest. Moses is a reluctant leader, but he defies the pharaoh, speaks with God face to face, and writes nearly one-fourth of the Hebrew Scriptures. The God of Exodus is above all faithful. He makes promises and keeps them. Genesis 15:13–16 records an amazing prophecy:

“Then the Lord said to Abram, ‘Know of a surety that your descendants will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs, and will be slaves there, and they will be oppressed for four hundred years; but I will bring judgment on the nation which they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions.… And they shall come back here in the fourth generation.”

In response to this promise, Joseph, “at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his burial” (Hebrews 11:22). That promise provides a background for the drama of redemption on which the Book of Exodus focuses. Redemption can be defined as “deliverance from the power of an alien dominion, and enjoyment of the resulting freedom.” It speaks of a deliverer and what he does to achieve deliverance. The Book of Exodus is full of the vocabulary of redemption. It tells of the God who “remembers” his promise to the Hebrew patriarchs (2:24; 6:5). God “comes down to deliver” the Israelites (3:8), or “save” them (14:30; 15:2), in order to “bring them” out of the land of Egypt (3:10–12).



Categories: Theology

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