Sermon

Exodus: God With Us (Exodus 1:1-2:10)

Photo by David McEachan from Pexels

This morning we begin a new series of messages on Exodus. Exodus is a continuation of the book of Genesis; therefore, it would be helpful to remember the main themes of Genesis: 1) How humans and all things came into being (Genesis means “beginning”), 2) How humans (through Adam and Eve) rebelled against God and brought the curse of sin and death into the world, and 3) How God has faithfully worked to bring reconciliation between Himself and mankind through a Redeemer (Jesus Christ) through the line of Judah. At the end of Genesis, the Israelites were in Egypt to escape a famine. Joseph was second in command in Egypt and provided for them until the day he died. Exodus begins with the exploitation of the Jews and the birth of Moses. 

Exodus is the second book in the Pentateuch.[1] It’s called Exodus because it tells of the liberation and exodus[2] of the Jewish people from captivity in Egypt. Exodus begins with Israel in Egypt, their unjust treatment at the hands of the Egyptians, their journey from Egypt to Mount Sinai, and of the giving of the Covenant and the Law for their new nation in the Promised Land. Exodus shows us the beginning of the nation of Israel through which the long-awaited Messiah would come.

What year did the Exodus occur? According to 1 Kings 6:1, Solomon built the house of the Lord in his 4th year as king (960BC) which was 480 years after the Jews came out of Egypt. This would put the Exodus around 1440BC. This corresponds to Judges 11:26 which states that Jephthah started to judge Israel (1100BC) after Israel had dwelt in the Promised Land for 300 years (1400BC). Add Israel’s 40 years in the wilderness and the Exodus would be approximately 1440BC. It is remarkable how cohesive the Bible is regarding history!

Israel in Egypt

We might be tempted to think that Exodus occurs soon after Genesis, but according to Exodus 12:40, the children of Israel lived in Egypt for 430 years! Exodus begins with a recap of how the children of Israel came to dwell in Egypt. God chose Abraham to be the Father of a new nation for Himself (Gen 12:2). The promise passed to Abraham’s son Isaac (Gen 18:10) and then to Isaac’s son Jacob (Gen 25:23) who was later renamed Israel (Gen 32:28). Then the sons of Jacob/Israel and their descendants became the children of Israel: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher (Ex 1:2-3). At first their time in Egypt was great due to Joseph’s care and provision. However, “there arose a new king of Egypt, who did not know Joseph” (Ex 1:8) and their life in Egypt became bitter.

Slavery in Egypt & a Deliverer (1 & 2:10)

The small family of 70 “were fruitful and increased abundantly, multiplied and grew exceedingly mighty; and the land was filled with them.” It is very probable that up to 2.4 million Israelites lived in Egypt at the time of the Exodus[3].

Israel Suffers in Egypt (1:1-22)

The new Pharaoh grew increasingly afraid of this large group of Israelites. He feared that they would rise up and join the enemies of Egypt in a war against them. Therefore, he dealt with the Israelites shrewdly, enslaved them and afflicted them with heavy burdens. Pharaoh increased his burdens on them and called for the murder of newborn baby boys. Let’s be very clear on this matter. This was genocide. It was political genocide designed to continue to subjugate the Hebrews. He was fearful that this type of war would allow them to take over the land of Egypt. Thankfully, the Lord was well aware of their difficulties and was bringing things together according to plan.

God Raises Up a Deliverer (2:1-10)

In their distress the Lord heard them and blessed them so that “the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew” (1:12). God heard the cries of His people and had compassion on them. He emboldened the midwives and through their faithful work countless boys were saved and one of them (Moses) was used by God to lead His people out of bondage in Egypt.

God’s Blessings in Trials 

The first section of Exodus illustrates how the Lord provides for and cares for His children while allowing them to suffer hardship. God blessed the Israelites and allowed the wicked king of Egypt to mistreat them. During this mistreatment, God blessed them more and more and rewarded their acts of faithfulness in the face of hardship. Why does the Lord allow His people to suffer? Shouldn’t the righteous always be protected while the wicked always suffer? We will examine this topic throughout our study of Exodus, but for the moment set your mind on this one thought: God cares more about my holiness than my happiness. He wants you to be happy (more like joyful) and He knows that we will only have true joy when we “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matt 6:33). It is for this reason God allow trials to come in order to develop in us faith, patience, and perseverance (James 1). God uses trials to reveal the genuineness of our faith (1 Peter 1:7).

Finally, the Exodus is God’s demonstration of His mighty power to the world, especially the Jewish people and the Egyptians. Throughout the history of the nation of Israel, the Lord would remind His people of His mighty power in delivering them from bondage and splitting the Red Sea for them to walk on dry land. What a mighty God we serve.


[1] The Pentateuch means “Five Books”. It is the first five books of the Bible. Sometimes referred to as the Books of Moses.

[2] An exodus is a large departure of people, especially immigrants. (Oxford Dictionary)

[3] A detailed analysis can be found at http://www.gotquestions.org/Israelites-exodus.html