Week 4: Exodus 1-18

“I have indeed seen the misery of My people in Egypt” “So now, go. I Am sending you to Pharaoh to bring My people the Israelites out of Egypt.”             Exodus 3:7; 3:10

What’s Going On?

Moses, having told us the backstory of how the descendants of Abraham ended up in Egypt, now begins to tell his own story. Four hundred years will go by between the book of Genesis and the book of Exodus. During that time, Jacob’s family has grown from 70 to over a million and the first part of the 3-fold blessing has already come to pass – Abraham’s descendants have indeed grown into a very large family. Because there are so many of them, the Egyptians have made the Hebrews into slaves and have even commanded that the male Israelite children be killed in an attempt at population control. One Israelite woman defies the order and places her son in a basket in the river. That son, Moses, is rescued and adopted by the daughter of the Pharaoh where he receives the finest education. But, when he sees a Hebrew slave being treated badly, he kills an Egyptian and then flees to Midian and settles down with Jethro/Raoul who is a descendant of Abraham through his second wife, Ketura. One day Moses hears the voice of God coming from a burning bush telling him to go back to Egypt to set the Israelites free. Moses returns and with the help of his brother, Aaron, asks the Pharaoh to let the Israelites go free. Of course the Pharaoh refuses and God begins to bring plagues on the people of Egypt until finally, after the death of every first-born Egyptian son, Pharaoh orders them to leave Egypt. The Israelites have been spared from death by painting the blood of a sacrificial lamb on the doorway of every household so that the angel of death would “Pass Over” their households. Jews still commemorate this event every year when they celebrate Passover. Many years later, Jesus would be celebrating the Passover meal when He is betrayed at the Last Supper. As the Israelites are finally leaving Egypt, they are chased by Pharaoh’s army and trapped at the edge of the Red Sea until God holds the water back allowing them to cross on dry land. Safely on the other side, they witness the Egyptian army being swept away when the waters are allowed to rush back in and Moses, Aaron, and their sister Miriam along with all of the Israelite people celebrate their deliverance from Pharaoh, just as the Lord had told them they would. The people are given instructions and are even allowed to witness the Glory of the Lord as He speaks to Moses, and yet they grumbled and complained about their situation, blaming Moses for their hardships. Moses gets some help from Jethro/Raoul and sets up a system of judges to act as leaders within the community.

When and Where are We?

We begin in Goshen, in northern Egypt. It is now about 1500 BC, 500 years after Abraham. Moses flees Goshen to Midian near Mt Horeb which is called the Mountain of God, possibly the same location as Mt Sinai. Midian is named after one of Abraham’s younger sons and is most likely located east of the Sinai Peninsula in modern day Saudi Arabia. Moses then returns to Egypt where he miraculously leads the people through the Red Sea, into the Desert of Shur, and on to Elim where there is water and fertile ground. They then set out to the Desert of Sin where they see the Glory of the Lord! (I hope you caught that – the see the Glory of the Lord in the Desert of Sin.) They finally arrive at the outskirts of The Promised Land near Canaan where they are attacked by Amalekites at a place called Rephidim. This part of the story leaves the people back in the desert at the foot of Mt Sinai.

Who’s Who?

  • Moses – a descendant of Jacob through the family of Levi and God’s chosen prophet, teacher, and leader for the people of Israel as they begin their journey back to the land promised to Abraham
  • Jethro/Raoul – A priest in Midian who becomes Moses’ father-in-law when Moses marries his daughter Zipporah
  • Aaron – Moses brother, who will speak for Moses and become the leader of the Levite priests
  • Miriam – a prophetess, Moses’ older sister
  • Joshua and Hur – leaders in the fight against the Amalekites

“God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’” Exodus 3:14a

Weekly Reading Assignment:


Monday: Exodus 1-4
Tuesday: Exodus 5-7
Wednesday: Exodus 8-9
Thursday: Exodus 10-12
Friday: Exodus 13-15
Saturday: Exodus 16-18

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