Overview of Exodus
In this episode, Pastor Harrell takes us through the book of Exodus. He brings out five keys words, that represent five keys themes, that will help you have a clearer understanding of how this very important book fits in with the bigger story of what God is telling us.
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The Full Transcript
Welcome, once again to The Bible for Life Podcast, where it is our mission to lead and equate people in a growing relationship with Jesus. In this episode, Pastor Harrell is going to take us all the way through the book of Exodus as he brings out five key words that represent five key themes that are going to help us have a clearer understanding of how this very important book fits in with the bigger story of what God’s trying to tell us. So wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, let’s settle in and learn together. And now your senior pastor, Ken Harrell.
There’s nothing worse in life than being in bondage. And there’s nothing better than to experience freedom. Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” That’s the purpose for our podcast. That’s the reason for The Bible for Life. When we come to the second book in the Old Testament, the book of Exodus, the Jews are in captivity, they’re in bondage and they need to be delivered. Let me just begin by telling you what the word Exodus means. It simply means to get away from something or departure. Now, in order to understand the connection between the book of Genesis and Exodus, we have to go back to the book of Genesis in those last few chapters. In Genesis 47, remember the book of Genesis tells us how things got started. And in our episode, on the book of Genesis, the overview of that book, I told you this second section. There’s two sections to that book.
And the second goes from chapter 12 to chapter 50 and it covers four main people. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the favorite son of Jacob, Joseph. Now Joseph’s life takes place from chapter 37 all the way through chapter 50. Let me give you a brief kind of like cliff notes of the story of what happened to Joseph. As I said, Joseph was the favorite son of Jacob, but that caused jealousy with his brothers and his brothers decided to kill him. And in fact, they were going to beat him to death if it hadn’t been for Reuben, one of the brothers. And so as a result, they put them in a pit. Then they ultimately sold him to a caravan and he became a slave headed to Egypt. And there he was enslaved.
In fact, on two different occasions, he wound up in prison, but ultimately because of the character of Joseph and everything else in his life and God’s plan, Joseph ultimately was elevated to the position of, now get this, Prime Minister to the Pharaoh who is the King of Egypt. Now, his brothers had long thought he was dead. And ultimately there came a famine in the land where Joseph’s family lived. However they heard of the store houses of food that were in Egypt, but they didn’t realize that Joseph was the reason for those store houses that were full of food in Egypt. And so ultimately they made their way because they’d starve to death if they didn’t find food.
And so they get to Egypt and through a series of events, Joseph reveals himself to his brothers who thought he was dead. And there’s this reunion between Joseph and his brothers. And it led to them moving to the land because of the grace of Joseph but also I would say the grace of Pharaoh because you see Pharaoh absolutely loved Joseph. And so Jacob and his sons and their families moved into the fertile valley of denial there in Northern Egypt. In chapter 47 of Genesis verse one, the Bible says and Joseph situated his father and his brothers and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt in the best of the land, in the lands of Rameses as Pharaoh had commanded.
And so, as I said, because of the grace of Pharaoh and the grace of God, Joseph’s family is given the best land deal is like, I mean, where they could grow their crops. And verse 12 says, “Then Joseph provided his father, his brothers and all of his father’s household with bread, according to the number of their families.” I mean, they would have died because of the famine, but now they’re therein Egypt. And verse 27 says, so Israel, I mean the whole group now is there dwelt in the land of Egypt in the country of Goshen and they had possessions there and grew and multiplied exceedingly. Now this is a wonderful thing for the Jews, but we’re going to find out it posed a, a genuine threat to Pharaoh. Well, time passed and Jacob died and then you get to chapter 50 and verse 22.
And the Bible says, “So Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he and his father’s household and Joseph lived 110 years.” Now that sets the stage listen carefully just before the 350 years of silence with scripture. Just like the end of the Old Testament in the book of Malachi, there is a 400 year period of silence during that inter-testimonial period between the end of Malachi and the beginning of the New Testament. Just like that, between the end of the book of Genesis and the beginning of the book of Exodus, there’s a 350 year period of silence as far as scripture is concerned. But the end of chapter 50 says in verse 24, “And Joseph said to his brother, I am dying, but God will surely visit you and bring you out.” Those words, bring you out. That’s talking about the Exodus. “And God will bring you out of the land, out of this land, to the land which he swore to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob.”
So Joseph dies. He’s 110 years old when he dies and the family lived on. Now there’s three-and-a-half centuries of silence. Now the question is what’s taking place during that 350 years. Well, not only does Joseph die, but his sons die and his grandsons die and their sons die and a new generation arises. However, at the same time after Pharaoh dies and when you open the book of Exodus, it’s an entirely new scene in the land of Goshen. The Hebrew population, the Jews have grown to 600,000 men and that doesn’t include women and children. So there are about 2 million Jews there. And the setting is extremely threatening to Pharaoh. When you open the book of Exodus, the Bible says in verse number 6 and 7, “And Joseph died and all his brothers and all that generation, but the children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly and multiplied and grew exceedingly mighty and the land was filled with them.”
So here they are, they’re in Egypt and they now, some historians say they could have easily outnumbered the Egyptians. But let me just pause here to tell you that shows you the promise of God that’s taking place, because God promised Abraham that he would make of him a great nation that through him, the people of the earth would be blessed. Well, the three things I want you to remember as we go through the book of Exodus and the first one is, the Jews have grown. I mean, they are huge in number. The second thing I want you to remember is that there is a new Pharaoh in the land that didn’t care about the Hebrews. I mean, in fact, he considered them a threat. In fact, the king said in verse number 9 of Exodus 1, “And the king, and he said to his people look, the number of the children of Israel are more than mightier than we.
Come, let us deal shrewdly with them less they multiply and it happened in the event of war that they also join our enemies and fight against us and so go out of the land. So that’s the second thing I want you to remember as we go through. The Jews have grown, they’re large in number around 2 million. And secondly, there’s a new Pharaoh and he doesn’t like them. In fact, the third thing I want you to remember is that the Pharaoh decided that the only way to prevent future growth was to exterminate them, at least partial extermination. You say, how did that take place? Well, in verse number 15, “Then the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives of whom the name of one was Shiphrah. And the name of the other, who was pure. And he said, when you do the duties of midwife for the Hebrew women, if it is the son, then you shall kill him.
But if it’s a daughter, she shall live.” Well, the Hebrew midwives didn’t cooperate at least initially. But Pharaoh intensifies his efforts. I mean, he is determined to stop the growth and the threat of the Hebrews. That brings me into the first section of the book of Exodus and the key word there is bondage. And the first section is chapters one and two. So just keep that in your mind. The first section chapters one and two, that’s bondage. When you get to chapter two, God brings his attention to one little family of the tribe of Levi. The man’s name is Amram and he’s the father and Jochebed’s the mother and they have a little baby boy, right in the middle of all this bondage. Well, what I want you to remember is chapter two of Exodus is the birth of Moses. And by the way, his birth mother didn’t name him, it was his adopting mother that named him, Moses. What happened is this in order to spare that baby boy’s life.
Well, what happened is that Pharaoh’s daughter was in denial and she was bathing and she sees this basket floating toward her. What had happened is Jochebed had had Miriam, the daughter, put this basket with the little baby boy who was going to be named Moses in that and put it in denial in order to spare his life. Well, when the basket comes floating toward Pharaoh’s daughter, she hears the cry of a child in that basket. And when they bring the basket to her, she finds out that it’s a Hebrew boy and she wants him. Well in a stroke of wisdom, Jochebed had sent Miriam because the baby was going to have to be nursed and so Pharaoh’s daughter says, “The baby’s got to be nursed,” and Miriam says, “I know who can do it.” And as a result, that baby falls right back into the arms of his birth mother Jochebed.
And is there until that baby is weaned. Now you might ask, why would God take the time for one little family and put all this attention on this family? Because it is the birth and the preparation of the one that is going to deliver the Jews from bondage in Egypt. Because you see the man who is going to deliver Israel from Egypt should know a lot about Egypt. And so he gets Moses into the house of Pharaoh and gives Moses a 40 year education. It’s free. No student loans, nothing. F.B. Meyer in his classic work on the biography of Moses said this and I quote, “The cream of all of Egypt poured into the cup of Moses.” Josephus the Jewish historian said of Moses he was a man great in battle and was no doubt soon to be the Pharaoh. For 40 years Moses is educated.
He schooled during those younger years and he learns the science and astronomy and mathematics even hieroglyphics, that pictorial language. And so at 40 years of age, Moses is this bright, astute, quick, strong leader because in God’s plan, he is going to be the deliverer for the Hebrews out of the bondage they’re in Egypt. But suddenly the story has a twist in verse number 11 of chapter 2 the Bible says, “Now it came to pass in those days when Moses was grown, that he went out to his brother and looked at her burdens and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brother. So he looked this way and that way and when he saw no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. Now that’s not the best way to deliver your people is by killing Egyptians. The problem with Moses at that point in his life is that he wanted to do God’s will his own way.
And the result was disastrous. In fact, in verse 15, it says, “When Pharaoh heard of this matter, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh and dwelt in the land of Midian and he sat down by a well.” Let me just stop right here and ask those of you that are listening. Is that where you are right now in your walk with God? Are you trying to do God’s will your way? Let me tell you don’t do it. Because it always leads to desert living. It leads to a dryness in your spiritual life. Well, Moses fell in love and he married this girl and he winds up working for the dad. And his job is he is a shepherd in the Midian desert that is hot and blistering. And Moses does that. That’s his job, for 40 years. Now fast forward. Moses is 80 years of age.
He’s out in the desert. He sees this Bush, that’s on fire, except the fire won’t go out. You see, God has Moses right where he wants him. Because what that 40 years has done in Moses’ life, it’s brought him to a spiritual condition of brokenness where it’s no longer Moses saying I want my will, but Lord, I want your will. That brings me to the next section in the book of Exodus. The first section is bondage, chapters one and two. The second section is from chapters 3 to 12. And the key word is deliverance. Verse number 10, the Lord said to Moses, “Come now, therefore and I will send you to Pharaoh.” I’m telling you, that’s the worst words that Moses could possibly hear. I mean, Pharaoh was the one that was going to kill Moses. That’s why he took off and ran away and wound up there in the backside of the desert.
And now God wants him to go back to Pharaoh. In verse number 12. So God said, “I will certainly be with you Moses. And this shall be a sign to you that I’ve sent you that when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.” And those words brought the people out, brought out that’s the Exodus again, that God is speaking about. What God was saying was Moses you’re going to lead an Exodus. And Moses, his reply is our famous response. When God leads us to do things and we don’t want to do them or we don’t think we’re capable or we’ll fail at it, Moses said in chapter three, verse 11, “Who am I, God, that I should go to Pharaoh, that I should bring the children of Egypt or children of Israel out of Egypt?”
I mean, you see folks, God doesn’t look at us as we are, but what we can be if we’re broken, if we’re totally yielded to not our will, not our way, but Lord, what do you want me to do? Whatever it is, whenever it is, I’ll do it. Well, Moses gives in and he goes back to Egypt, but nothing happens all of a sudden. In fact, after Moses and Aaron, who was Moses’ brother, when they arrive, Pharaoh rather than saying, okay, I’m going to let the people go. You see, that’s why God sent Moses back to say to Pharaoh, “Pharaoh, God has said, let the people go let my people go.” But instead of Pharaoh saying, okay, he increases the work for the Jewish people. You see they’ve been enslaved for hundreds of years. And the Bible says in Exodus 5:4, “Then the King of Egypt said to them, Moses and Aaron, why do you take the people from their work? Get back to your labor.”
And Pharaoh said, “Look, the people of the land are many now and you make them rest from their labor.” So the same day, Pharaoh commanded the task masters of the people and their officers saying, “You shall no longer give the people straw to make brick as before. Let them go and gather straw for themselves and you shall lay on them the quota of the bricks, which they have made before. You shall not reduce it for they are idle.” Therefore they cry out saying, let us go and sacrifice to our God, let more be laid on the men that they may labor in it and let them not regard false words. Well, from this point on till you get to chapter 12, because Pharaoh has stiffened his neck against God and refused to let the people go, God sends these plagues and they’re 10 of them.
And he sends them one right after the other. I’m not going to go into detail, but I am going to mention what they are, but I want you to see as I go through them, that one after another, they increase and intensify because God is trying to make it harder and harder on Pharaoh so Pharaoh will say, “Yes, let the people go.” And it begins with God turning the Nile to blood. That’s the first plague. And then the second plague is frogs. And each time Pharaoh refuses to let the Jews be freed from bondage. And so the third one is lice and then flies. And then God sends a disease to the livestock and then boils and then hail and then locusts. And then God sends a darkness over Egypt so that light cannot even penetrate. And yet still Pharaoh does not give in.
He stiffens his neck. He hardens his heart even more toward God. But then God’s got one final one that he knows is going to get and Pharaoh is going to let the people go. And God says, the last one is the death of the firstborn. That if Pharaoh doesn’t give in, if Pharaoh doesn’t say, I’m going to let God’s people go, God is going to send the death angel and the firstborn of every family there in Egypt is going to die that evening. Well, what happens is Pharaoh does not let the people go and so this breaks the back of Pharaoh’s resistance because that night not only Pharaoh’s son, but the first born in every Egyptian family is killed. And it has a devastating toll on Pharaoh and his leadership. And it really, the climax to the book of Exodus is in chapter seven, verse 40 to 42. Listen to this.
“Now the sojourn of the children of Israel who lived in Egypt was 430 years. And it came to pass at the end of the 430 years. On that very same day, it came to pass that all the armies of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.” Those words went out. That’s the Exodus. It is a night of solemn observance to the Lord for bringing them out of the land of Egypt. This is that night of the Lord, a solemn observance for all the children of Israel throughout all their generations. Now let me just interject this. As you study your Bible, you’ll see that in the Old Testament, the Zenith of illustrating God’s power was the Exodus and in the New Testament, it’s the resurrection. In other words, in the old Testament, the writers always went back to the Exodus to illustrate God’s power saying that if God could orchestrate that, he can orchestrate anything.
Well, that last plague that God sent led God to Institute the Passover. And you read that early in chapter 12 of Exodus, you see God told Israel how they could miss the death Angel. God told them, he said, “You take a lamb and you make sure it’s a spotless lamb and you kill that lamb and you take his blood, take it outside of the front door and put the blood over the side and above the door. Put them on those posts in the lintel of the door. And in the evening, when the death angel comes, he will pass over and no one that firstborn will not be killed.” And so while in Egypt, all of the Egyptian families had the first born that was killed that evening. Not so with the Jewish families, because they did just as God instructed and that became a Memorial for the Jews.
And every year, since then a lamb would be killed and you read it all throughout the Old Testament. They would claim the house of yeast and every leaven, they would in a special way, roast a lamb and they would wear certain clothing and they would observe the Passover because on that first Passover, that was a beautiful illustration when they took the blood and they put it on the post and the lintel of the front door outside so the death angel could see. That was an illustration. That was a picture that God was giving of what would happen in the future when Jesus Christ, God’s son, would shed his blood on Calvary. And for those of us that have accepted Christ as our personal savior and our sins have been forgiven because of the shed blood of Jesus Christ, God’s judgment will never fall on us.
Even when you take communion, the juice and the bread, that’s a picture of the body and the blood of the savior. Well, deliverance finally came. In chapter 12 and verse 37 the Bible says, “Then the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Sukkoth about 600,000 men on foot besides children. And so Moses brings them out and if Moses thought, if he thought to the backside of the desert, tending sheep was tough, he’s about to get a rude awakening. Now this leads us to the third section in the book of Exodus and that word, the key word is journey. And that’s from chapter 13 to chapter 18. So the first section bondage, chapters 1 and 2 second section chapter 3 to 12 deliverance. And now chapter 13 to 18 journey, because now they’re about to journey away from bondage. And the Bible says in chapter 13, verse number 21 and the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way.
And by night in the pillar of fire to give them light. So as to go by day and by night, he led them right to the Red Sea. And now when you get to the red sea there, they’ve got the mountains to the north, the desert to the south, the sea is front of him and the Egyptians are coming. And Moses says to all of Israel, “Stand still.” I mean, could you imagine hearing that? Hearing the Egyptians coming in the distance, but you see God was about to show his faithfulness and the sea opens up and the Hebrews walk through on dry land, through the Red Sea, that God parted those waters and held them back and they get all the way through and the Egyptians army is coming after them. But when the Egyptians get in there, all of a sudden the waters recede and all the Egyptians drown. Well, you get to chapter 15 and they sing a song, man.
They are celebrating, but sooner get through that celebration. And when you get to chapter 16, you know what they do? They start complaining. The Bible says in chapter 16, verse 2, “Then the whole congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. And the children of Israel said to them that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full for you have brought us out of the wilderness to kill this the whole assembly with hunger. I mean, can you imagine that? Well, the Lord sends manna and he feeds them. He gives them, if I could say, angel food from heaven every single day. And let me just pause to say this folks. It takes a heavenly appetite to enjoy heavenly food.
And when there’s the peace of God and where there’s the hunger for God, you’ll eat whatever is placed before you and you’ll do it with gratitude. Well, how long does this go on? The Bible says in chapter 19 in verse 1 in the third month after the children of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt on that same day, they came to the wilderness in Sinai. I mean, three months, Moses, at this point, remembers his past. You just know it’s going through his mind when he tended all those sheep of his father-in-law there at Sinai. And he thanks over the whole situation, but now he doesn’t have sheep. Now he’s there with 2 million. And what goes through his mind is the faithfulness of God. Because back in chapter three verse 12, God said to Moses, he said, Moses, I will certainly be with you.
And this shall be a sign. This is when God told Moses to go back to Egypt. He said, this will be a sign for you, Moses that you know, that I have sent you, that when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain. Well, now they’re at Mount Sinai and God wrote his word and gave it to Moses to bring to the people. And for the first time God writes his revelation, even though they had been on earth for a couple of thousand years. And with his own fingers in the tablets of stone, Moses gets a message from God. And that brings us to the fourth section in the book of Exodus. And that’s from chapters 19 to 24. And the key word is law. God gives Moses a written document. He gives him the law and the purpose of the law was to show how holy God was and how sinful they were and how they had to be an utter dependence in their walk with God.
You see that law was God’s standard. In chapter 20, that’s when God gives the 10 commandments. And so now they have God’s slaw and now a worshiping people need a place to meet with God. And that brings us to the fifth and final section in the book of Exodus. And that’s the last 16 chapters. And the key word is Tabernacle, that beautiful tabernacle of meeting, where God would confine his presence to the holiest of all behind the veil, in what is called the holy of Holies and annually the high priest would go in only one time a year and he would offer blood on the mercy seat for the forgiveness of the people that would cover their sins for that the year. It was not a large place. In fact the outer court was 150 feet long by 75 feet wide. And the Tabernacle of meeting was only 45 feet long and 15 feet wide.
It consisted of a certain furniture, the brazen altar for the burnt offerings, the Laver where the priest would wash and inside the tent, the golden candlesticks and the table that was holding the bread and altar of incense, but then inside and within the veil was the little chest, only three foot, nine inches long and two feet, three inches wide and two feet, three inches deep. And on the top was a solid gold slab. And that was called the mercy seat. And on both ends, was a cherubim with wings, outstretched made of solid gold and the Shekinah Glory that like the Glory of God rested on that plate. And what God was saying is I will be there and you will reach me by blood. Now, the people are informed. They’re organized around God with his word and they have a place to meet with him.
And in that last chapter, chapter 40 verses 34 and 35, the Bible says, “Then the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tabernacle of meeting because the cloud rested above it. And the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. One day a year, the veil would be pulled back and the high priests would walk in with blood and would take that blood and he would sprinkle it seven times on that mercy seat,” because what God was illustrating is his holiness, that he could only be approached by blood. And that veil separated the people. And only the high priest could go in on one day a year. But when Jesus Christ went to the cross. And on that cross, he took our sin and he paid the penalty of our sin.
And he shed his blood because the Bible says where there’s no shedding of blood, there’s no remission of sin. And when Jesus died on that cross, the Bible says the veil in the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. It normally never would be torn in two the building would be from bottom to top, but on this one from top to bottom, because God was picturing that he was tearing that veil in two so that now individuals that put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ and now could be a member of God’s forever family could have instant access into the presence of a holy God because Jesus once and for all gave his blood for our sins once and for all and he became a propitiation. God was satisfied with his death and God said, “All that are in Christ can come to me.”
Before I close in this episode on the book of Exodus, I want to make one application that I think is so practical because we all struggle with it. And that is this, like Moses we oftentimes want to do God’s will, but we want to do it our own way. And as I said before, that always leads to desert living, to dryness of soul. And I want to encourage you today. God has given you and me immediate access when he tore the veil and now, regardless of what it is in our life, we can immediately come into the presence of a holy God, but we can’t come by only one way. And that is because of the shed blood of Jesus Christ that God says everyone who has accepted my son into their life as their Lord and savior, they’ve got instant access to me.
And I want to encourage you today. Every day of your life, spend time alone with just you and God coming into his presence, honoring him as the holy God that he is, loving him, pouring out your heart and every day, committing yourself to doing his will for your life, but not the way you want to do it, the way he wants to do it. I would encourage you to review this. Even with your Bible, open reading the verses, jotting down notes. It’ll help you to understand how the book of Exodus and the book of Genesis fit together and where God is going in the Old Testament. And I can’t wait to come back in our next episode as I take a somewhat difficult book, the book of Leviticus. I’ll see you then.
Thanks again for tuning in to The Bible for Life Podcast. We’re so glad you took the time to listen today. And we hope that the past lesson has strengthened your faith in Christ as we’ve walked our way through this pivotal second book of the Bible. As always feel free to follow, subscribe and share this podcast with your friends, because you never know how God’s going to use it in someone else’s life. Remember, for the issues of life, for the rest of your life, it’s The Bible for Life.