Part I
Exodus begins with the reign of a king of Egypt who feared the growing population of Israelites. He orders every male child born among them to be killed. Certain brave midwives refused and some male children were spared. One couple had a baby boy and were able to hide him for three months. His mother decided that she may not be able to hide him any longer. She made a papyrus basket lined with tar and pitch. She placed the baby in the basket and placed the basket in the reeds on the Nile. Pharoahs daughter sees the baby, discovers he's a Hebrew baby, and decides to keep him and raise him as her own. She names him Moses.

Moses is raised as an Egyptian. He finds an Egyptian beating a Hebrew and kills the Egyptian, buries the Egyptian thinking no one saw him. A few Hebrew slaves mention his sin to him. Pharoah tries to kill him. Moses flees to Midian. He marries Zipporah, they have a son Gershom. Moses and his family live happily ever after, for awhile. However, during this time, the Israelites cry out to God about their oppression. They are in hopes that God will remember His promise to Abraham and the people of Israel. God hears their cries and takes action.

Moses is out tending sheep around Horeb when He sees a burning bush and the voice of God speak to him. God tells Moses that He remembered His promise to the Israelites and that He doesn't care for the way the Egyptians are treating them. He instructs Moses to go and tell the Pharaoh to let His people go. He also tells Moses to organize the elders of Israel and tell them about Moses' appointment and mission. God further promises the Israelites a land flowing with milk and honey. Moses has his doubts and he shares them with God. God shows Moses a few miraculous signs to bolster Moses' courage. Moses is indeed encouraged by the wonderful power of God, enough to take his family and head out to Egypt.

The Lord tells Moses that it's not going to be easy convincing the Pharaoh to let His people go. Moses met with his brother Aaron and, God worked wonders through Moses in front of the Israelite elders. Moses also delivers the message that God had seen their misery and cared for the Israelites.

Moses and Aaron pay the Pharaoh a visit with a simple request, let Gods' people go so that they can hold a special celebration to honor God. Pharaoh says no and instructs the foremen to have slave make bricks with no straw. Moses goes back to God in despair. He tells God that Pharaoh didn't let the people go, it only made matters worse for the slaves and comes right out and tells God that He did not do what He promised. God assures Moses that His plan is still in place. He tells Moses stand back and watch His mighty wonders work to get Pharaoh to let them go. He also sends Moses with a message of reassurance, love and committment to His promise to the Israelite people. God tells Moses to go tell the Pharaoh again to let His people go. Moses backs down, disheartened and tells the Lord that He just can't, he fears his words are not reaching the Pharaoh. So, Aaron is appointed to speak for Moses.

Aaron approaches Pharaoh, asks him to let the people go. Aaron shows Gods power (the staff turns into a snake), but the Pharaoh is unimpressed and commands his magicians to do the same, they turned their staffs into snakes. But, Aarons snake swallowed theirs. Still, Pharaoh wouldn't release the Israelites. God instructs Moses to go to the Nile. Aaron stretched out his staff, the river turned to blood and the fish died, making the water putrid for the people. However, the magicians of the Pharaoh were able to do the same thing and again the Pharaoh remained unimpressed, unyielding.

Part II
Seven days later, Pharaoh still refused to let the Israelites go. A variety of plagues cover Egypt including; frogs, gnats, flies, death of livestock, boils, hail, locusts, darkness and finally death of all Egypts firstborn. Pharaohs son dies. God gives instructions to the Israelites to place lambs' blood on the outside of their doorways so that this plague passes by their own children. It does, after this the day is remembered as Passover.

Pharaoh says he'll let the Israelites go and he does, for awhile. The Israelites, after traveling awhile, start to complain, fear they'll die and many want to return to the old way of slave life. Moses is empowered by God to divide the sea and provide the Israelites safe passage to the other side. Pharoah, who'd changed his mind, tried to follow them, the Egyptians are drowned.

The Israelites move on. God helps Moses find a good source of water for the people. He also provides manna (flakes of bread) and quail for them to eat. However, the people quickly forget to be grateful and begin to grumble again. Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, notices that Moses is overworked and under-appreciated and advises him to delegate some of his authority. He does.

The Israelites come upon Mt. Sinai. God creates the 10 commandments; 1. Worship only God, 2. Don't make idols, 3. Don't misuse God's name, 4. Keep the Sabbath holy, 5. Respect your parents, 6. Don't murder, 7. Don't commit adultery, 8. Don't steal, 9. Don't speak falsehoods about your neighbor, 10. Don't covet your neighbor. Moses was also given specific civil laws and instructions for appropriate celebrations. All of these the Israelites promised to follow; another covenant, this time the people promise something to God. More instructions follow. Moses, with the help of the people, makes the Ark, Tabernacle, priest garments and many other items to help the people realize that God is holy and to be revered.

Moses comes down from Sinai, after being away from his people for some time. They return to their old ways and break commandment #1, they build a golden calf to worship. Moses is disgusted and throws the tablets, they break. Moses speaks with God again, tells Him that the people are really tough to manage. Moses also asks God to reveal Himself. God allows a little of His glory to pass by him. God instructs Moses to write down the 10 commandments for the people.

Themes in Exodus

Part I
The people of Israel faced suffering and oppression on a daily basis in this section of the Bible. Pharoah orders their firstborn children to be put to death and they're forced into hard labor. And yet, human mercy comes from both sides as the midwives risk their lives to let babies live and Pharaohs daughter takes in a baby, knowing he's Hebrew. God finds a way, through Moses, to let His people know that He cares for them and He hears them. Moses doubts his own abilities at first to take on all this responsibility. But, God is patient and merciful with Moses and finds him help when He needs it to get the job done.

The message for us is that God listens to us in our suffering, He cares for us. He sent Moses to save the Israelites from the bondage of slavery so that they could be free, just as He sent Jesus to save us from the bonds of sin so that we could be free to live in heaven with Him. Although Moses killed a man and doubted Him at times, God was patient and merciful with Moses because He had a special purpose for Him. God forgives our sins and knows we doubt Him sometimes and through Jesus and He has purpose for us too. Even though we are all sinners, God loves us and has designed us to be a blessing to others in some way while we live on this earth.

Part II
Pharaoh had a hard time believing in God. Even after He'd brought terrible plagues on the land and the death of his own son Pharaoh still wouldn't give in. The Israelites also had a difficult time believing in God at first. God would bless them with food, water and they were grateful for awhile. But after a time, their faith seemed to leave them. They returned to their sinful ways. Moses had trouble believing that he was the right man for the job. But, God is patient and merciful. He knows that these people need to learn how to worship Him. He also knows that they need the commandments and laws, or they'll stray.

Today, we can remember to be grateful for all the good things that God has done in our lives. We can continue to have faith and obey His word even though the future is not clearly laid out for us. God knows what's good for us. We can continue to listen, have faith and follow His plan. His is the best plan. But, as human beings we are sinners and stray. How long did it take for the Israelites to forget all about what God had done for them and build an idol to worship? Not long. God instructs Moses on just how to sacrifice an animal so that the Israelites could atone for sin and start all over. God sent Jesus as a sacrifice so that we could be forgiven of sin and start all over on His path.

Authored by LB