Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Introduction to Exodus

Exodus is the second of the first five books of the Bible, sometimes called the Pentateuch (from the Greek word for "five), or called "Torah" in the Hebrew Scriptures. Though sometimes translated "The Law", Torah actually means "teaching". Central to the Torah is the idea of covenant, the most binding type of agreement between two parties. One of the astounding aspects of the Torah is that it relates how Eternal, Perfect Almighty God, Creator of the Universe, enters into covenant with part of his creation: mortal, fallible, sinful men. These covenants have 3 parts:

(1) A statement about God's saving acts - what He brings to the covenant;
(2) A statement about what God expects from humanity in response
(3) a sign or symbol as a reminder of the covenant

Much of the Torah is a record of God's covenant with man. In Genesis God covenants with Adam and Eve, with Noah, and Abraham. The Abrahamic covenant includes the promise that God would make of Abraham and his descendants "a mighty nation" in whom "all the families of the earth shall be blessed" (Genesis 12:1-3).

Exodus is a continuation of the story of God working out his covenant started in Genesis. The book of Genesis is a family history, while the book of Exodus is a national history. True to His Word, the family God has covenanted with in Genesis becomes a nation in Exodus. But while the closing chapters of Genesis show God's people enjoying great favor with the Egyptians, Exodus shows the Israelites in cruel bondage to the Egyptians. God raises up the very special figure of Moses, the author of Exodus, to deliver them through mighty acts of God to release the Israelites from the mighty power of Pharaoh.

means "the way out", and God leads His people out of Egypt and into the desert on their way to the Promised Land. During their journey God enters into the national covenant of Mount Sinai, and gives them the moral law of the covenant, including the summary of those obligations in the Ten Commandments. He also establishes the ceremonial law, how sinful man can approach a Holy God through the sacrificial system God ordained. The description of the tabernacle in Exodus is rich with the symbolism of how a sinful people can be righteously forgiven and worship a holy God, and foreshadows the ultimate sacrifice of Christ to bring us into the very Holy of Holies, the presence of God Himself.

As you read, may you be blessed with a fresh revelation of our covenant God, his mighty redeeming power, His breathtaking holiness, and His mercy and grace in making a way for our sins to be covered so that we may fellowship with Him.

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