The Book of Exodus. From Slavery to Freedom. Through God’s Law. Moses. The book of Genesis ends with Joseph in Egypt with his brothers. It is in Egypt where Israel becomes enslaved to the Egyptians and forced into heavy labor.
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From Slavery to Freedom
Through God’s Law
The book of Genesis ends with Joseph in Egypt with his brothers.
It is in Egypt where Israel becomes enslaved to the Egyptians and forced into heavy labor.
Moses is born and to save him from death his mother places him in a basket and sets him adrift in the Nile.
He is rescued by Pharaoh's daughter and raised in the royal palace.
He grows to manhood as one of the Egyptians yet his life is forever changed when he sees an Egyptian beating a Hebrew slave.
He kills the Egyptian to save the Hebrew and flees into the desert.
To make a living, Moses becomes a shepherd for his father-in-law and one day something unusual happens …
The plague of the death of the firstborn caused Pharaoh to change his mind and to set the Israelites free.
Moses leads the people out into the desert toward the Red Sea and God was with them, leading them by a Pillar of Cloud (during the day) and a Pillar of Fire (at night). Ex. 13:21-22
Pharaoh changes his mind and sends his army to bring Israel back, but Moses leads his people through the waters of the Red Sea and Pharaoh’s army is drowned.
The people of Israel head into the desert and are fed by God with the manna from heaven and with quail.
Their journey is a dangerous one and early on they have to defend themselves from Amalek’s army (Ex. 17).
God promises His help in battle as long as Moses is in constant prayer by lifting up his hands to God.
Moses, Aaron, and Hur ascend to the top of a hill to oversee the battle and as long as Moses’ hands are lifted in prayer, the battle goes well for Israel.
When he tires the battle goes badly for Israel. So, Aaron and Hur prop up his hands and Israel wins the battle.
This is an important image that points to Christ on the Cross.
By His prayer, He wins the battle for us!
After Israel had won its freedom, yet before it was ready to enter the Promised Land, God saw fit to give them laws to govern themselves.
God made a covenant with Moses and the people of Israel on Mt. Sinai. God would continue to lead them to, “a land flowing with milk and honey” (Ex. 33:3), if they would follow His laws.
God gives 10 Commandments (Ex. 20:1-17)
“I am the Lord thy God, thou shall have no strange gods before Me”
“You shall not take the Name of the Lord your God in vein”
“Keep holy the Sabbath day”
“Honor your mother and father”
“You shall not kill [murder]”
6. “Thou shall not commit adultery”
“Thou shall not steal”
“Thou shall not bear false witness”
“Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s wife”
“Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s goods”
In Ex. 24, Moses and the entire people of Israel seal the covenant with God in a profound and mystical way:
“So Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, and said, ‘Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words.’ Then Moses went up with Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and they saw the God of Israel; and under His feet there appeared to be a pavement of sapphire, as clear as the sky itself. Yet He did not stretch out His hand against the nobles of the sons of Israel; and they saw God, and they ate and drank.”
This is a profound moment and has many important points:
1. The covenant is sealed in blood, which is a symbol of eternal life, for blood gives life but it is God Who in this covenant transforms it into Eternal Life.
2. Moses and the elders of Israel see God – God makes Himself vulnerable, He opens Himself up to them who are in communion with Him.
3. Moses and the elders are swept up into a heavenly banquet with God. This is important typology, as we will be swept up with Christ in the everlasting banquet. (See Rev. 19:7).
The Mitre was a liturgical vestment which represented the authority of the high priest to teach and offer sacrifice. Bishops today are crowned with a mitre which represents both testaments, Old and New, and their authority to teach.
The people of Israel were given their freedom so that they could worship the true God, “all the people would arise and worship, each at the entrance of his tent.” Ex. 33:10.
The rest of the Book of Exodus lays out some of the worship practices of the people of Israel.
Unfortunately, the people of Israel did not keep to the covenant with God and fell from the worship of the true God.
The people made for themselves a golden calf and worshipped it as god:
- The people of Israel would struggle with this sin for much of their history.
Note that worship of the false God includes the sacrifice of innocent human life
- The Jews would often fall into the sin of false worship and God would send the judges, the kings, and the prophets to call the people back to the worship of the True God.