Exodus is the book of redemption. Between Genesis and Exodus the children of Israel became a great nation that numbered millions by the time they left Egypt. The promise made to Abraham in Genesis 15:13-16 was that 400 years should elapse before the possession of Canaan by his descendents would be realized. The time had arrived for God to judge Egypt and deliver His people out of slavery, or bondage.
We can sum up the story in Exodus this way: (1) a people in bondage are saved (Ch. 1-12), (2) a saved people are separated from Egypt (Ch. 13-18), (3) a separated people are set apart, or sanctified (Ch. 19-40). In order for a people to be saved, there must be a deliverer, or redeemer. Moses was that man. Moses was groomed from his birth to become royalty in the Egyptian courts. However, that would not be. He turned his back on the fortunes of Egypt and cast his lot with his native people (Hebrews 11:24-26). Moses thought the Israelites should have understood that it was to be by him that deliverance would be obtained (Acts 7:25), but they didn't.
Moses bears a striking likeness with Christ. Even as Christ was born under the mandate to destroy him (Herod's plot, Matthew 2:13), so Moses was also born under the mandate to destroy him (Exodus 1:22). In both instances, God made provision for the safety of the child. As Christ was reared in obscurity (we have scanty details of His life from birth to the time of His ministry), so also Moses (the first 40 years of his life go unrecorded). Like Christ, Moses came to his own only to be rejected. Finally when the cry of Israel was great before heaven, Moses reappears and brings about (through the great acts of supernatural power) the national salvation of Israel. Moses referred to Christ as a prophet like himself (Deuteronomy 18:15).
Deliverance was brought about by the miracles showered down on the Egyptians. One after another, each more dreadful than the former, until the death of Pharaoh's first born son caused him to relent and let the Israelites leave. Moses came to challenge Pharaoh and to deliver his captives by mighty deeds demonstrated in the plagues. Christ came to challenge Satan and to deliver his captives with his mighty works. He shattered Satan's power, destroyed his kingdom, and made a way of escape possible for all those enslaved by sin. The escape from Egypt was occasioned by the redemption by blood of the passover lamb. Each individual must find shelter behind the blood. The blood of a lamb without blemish. Many centuries afterward, redemption was also by a Lamb without blemish, that Lamb which takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29).
God's instruction to Moses was to get completely away from Egypt. Separate the people completely. There would be no going back. Leave the old life forever and begin a new one. In the waters of the Red Sea, Israel died to Egypt and Egypt's hold over Israel was completely broken.
After the Red Sea passage, we come to Mt. Sinai. Here Israel was given the Law (Ch. 20). Up to this time, family heads ruled in all matters, but now, a written Law is formulated to govern and control the people of God. Among the purposes of the Law was the exposing of sin and also the manifestation of the holiness of God. The Law contained two parts - moral and ceremonial, moral law to reveal why holiness was important and ceremonial law to reveal how holiness was to be imparted. The moral law shows that the human heart cannot produce holiness of itself (Jeremiah 10:23). The ceremonial law, which was purified by blood, points to Christ, whose blood can purify the soul and cleanse from sin.
In regard to the tabernacle, mentioned in an earlier series, it was the focus of the national life in the wilderness for the tribes encamped around it. The life of the nation was lived in direct relationship to the tabernacle. Later, the temple was viewed in like manner. (The focus now is Christ, not the tabernacle or the temple.)
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