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Wednesday, 2 April 2014

What a difference a verse makes: Exodus 1

Exodus is all about God working His purposes out through one man: Moses. He is the central figure.
It is not an autobiography (Moses being the author of Exodus) and even though we learn much about him and he figures heavily throughout; he is not the hero! He exposes his fears, weaknesses and failures alongside his successes. Moses is a good historian who under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit records God’s continuing purposes for the nation of Israel. Moses is truly a man who is directed by God, he achieved great things for his God but in this account he has faithfully recorded for mankind God’s working for His people in very difficult circumstances.

Exodus simply means way out! Exit etc. This book is as we well know the record of Israel’s exit from Egyptian slavery. It does not end in the Promised Land but with the precariousness of wandering in the wilderness for a 40 year wandering experience.

Genesis is all about beginnings:
  • The beginning of the world.
  • The beginning of mankind.
  • The beginning of man’s relationship with God.
  • The beginning of a broken relationship.
  • The beginning of the effect of sin in the world.
  • The beginning of a restored relationship.
  • The beginning of the chosen people of God, beginning with a simple family.
  • The beginning of a nation.
  • It ends with the beginning of a suffering nation.

Exodus continues from there and focuses upon that nation and God’s relationship with them.
Moses begins by recording the small family that went into Egypt for protection and food in a time of famine many years earlier in the time of Joseph.

The Israelites settled in Egypt approximately 1850 BC and Joseph died in approximately 1775 BC.
Verse 6 records the death of Joseph and verse 7 spans in just a few words the next 325 years. There have been approximately 400 years since God last dealt with His people. He was silent to them. During those years they went from blessing to curse. They grew in numbers and were profitable and powerful in the land. Their biggest problem was that Joseph had become a forgotten figure but more importantly his God was unknown. Therefore the people of God were seen as a threat to the Egyptian nation and Egypt handled the situation very badly.

Verses 1-7 record the good times and move through to difficult days; as we have said there is a 325 year gap from the death of Joseph to the beginning of the Exodus:

What do you think God’s silence was all about?
How did the Israelites feel about God’s silence?
What do you think their spiritual state was like?

They would all have known their history from the beginning up to this point in time. Word of mouth history was vitally important to them and it was absolutely accurate. They all knew the creation account, after all that is exactly how Moses was able to account for it when he wrote Genesis. But there were other beginnings that were important also! There were the covenants that God had made with both Noah and Abraham; these were vitally important to them as a nation and so to truly asses how they should have faired in difficult times the covenants of God must be considered also. You see Genesis is not just a historical account of the beginning of nature, man and nations it is also a record of the beginning of theology, which is the knowledge of God, His promises and His workings.
Before we consider the covenant that He made with Noah I believe that there is another rather veiled covenant that we ought to consider:

God made vital promises at the time of the fall to:
  • Adam
  • Eve
  • Satan
  • Creation

What were those promises? Death, hard work, difficulty in childbirth, subjection to a husband, judgement through a Son to be born and weeds and groaning, these were the promise of God. A covenant to His natural and spiritual world!

Then there was His covenant with Noah:

Never again will judgement come to the whole world by a flood of water. The covenant had a sign to accompany it, a rainbow not to declare God’s love necessarily but His grace that will not judge the world as it deserves.

God’s covenant with Abraham is somewhat different in that it is in 3 parts:
The promise of a great nation and God’s blessing upon them Gen 12:1-3
A son and heir for Abraham. He would be the father of a mighty nation Gen 15:1-6 He also promised a land for the family: Gen 15:7
The promise of a mighty nation is repeated. The covenant will be lasting for Abraham’s descendants. The land is once again promised. This time a sign is given: circumcision.      Gen:17

5-600 years later the promise has not been fulfilled, in fact they have lost more than they have gained. They are in deep trouble!
Where is God in all of this?

They are by now largely carrying the mark of the covenant, they have the promise of God in their thinking but they are slaves in Egypt and there seems to be no way out!

No Exodus!!!!

400 years of silence had taken its toll on them, but they had to learn a lesson that is vitally important:

Just because God is silent does not mean that He is not fulfilling all of His promises!

After 400 years a saviour (Moses) was born; deliverance at last was at hand.

There is another key 400 year period that echoes the events of Exodus. At the end of Malachi, the last book of the Old Testament God through His prophet promises a Saviour. Matthew records the fulfillment of that promise:
  • Jesus as with Moses is born a helpless child.
  • Jesus lived in Egypt for a WHILE.
  • Moses saved Israel from Egyptian oppression and slavery whereas Jesus saves the church from slavery to sin and Satan.

Throughout Exodus we will recognise the Saviour of the world through the events that God brought about by His servant Moses.

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