Exodus is a Greek word. This is like Genesis, which is also aa Greek word.

[Note: Greek is the language of Greece.]

The word Exodus means ‘to leave’ or ‘to go out’. And the book has one main subject. God's people were slaves in Egypt. They were suffering very much. And Exodus tells us what God did about it. It describes how God rescued his people. And he led them out of Egypt.

There are three parts in the book.

God's Messenger (Chapters 1-6)

Moses is the main person in this book. And these first chapters tell us about him. They have the story about his birth. They record the way that God called him. And they tell us how Moses replied to God. The story has three clear parts.

God's Messenger in Danger (1-2)

Twice, his life was in much danger:

  • as a baby (1:16, 22; 2:1-10)
  • as an adult (2:15).

The name Moses has a meaning. It is like a Hebrew word (the language of the Jews).

The word means ‘to pull out’ (of the water). And the name continues to remind us. It reminds us about God's wonderful care. God's care is constant. And he protects his people. This is because of his goodness.

God's Messenger Has Doubts (3-4)

This story is about the special work that God had for Moses. It shows two things.

First, it shows God's sovereign choice. This means that God has the absolute right to choose. He can choose the task. And he can choose the person to do the task.

Second, it shows a person's response to God's choice. The reaction here was one of fear (3:11). Moses felt that he was not able to do the job. And he gave a series of excuses (3:11, 13; 4:1, 10, 13). ‘Send … some other person’ was his last excuse.

God's Messenger in Difficulty (5-6)

Moses and his brother, Aaron, went to the ruler of Egypt. His name was Pharaoh. But there were many problems. And these chapters record some of them. The Jews were slaves in the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh just forced the Jews to work even harder (5:19-21). This made the slaves angry with Moses and Aaron. Moses tried to encourage them. He reminded them about God's promises (6:6-9). But they still refused to believe God. The Jews would not accept God's truth. So, they could not expect the Egyptians to believe (6:10-12).

God's Rescue (Chapters 7-18)

These chapters are about God's great acts. They tell how God rescued his people.

  • Plagues or terrible events (7-11).
  • Passover (12). The Hebrew word means ‘to pass over’.
  • Protection (13, 14).
  • Praise (15:1-21). These verses are a song. Another word for a Christian song is a hymn. This song is a wonderful hymn of thanks to God. God saved (15:2) and guided (15:13) his people. He owned them (15:16). And he ruled them (15:18).
  • Provision (15:22-18:27). God provided many things for his people. There was pure water (15:22-25; 17:1-6). They had necessary shelter (15:27). God provided daily food (16:4, 15). He helped them to defeat their enemies completely (17:8-16). And God even gave human friendship (18).

Jethro was kind. He encouraged Moses (18:8-12). He realized that Moses could not manage alone (18:13-18). And he suggested something excellent. It was this. Other leaders could assist Moses to rule the people (18:19-27).

God's Covenant (Chapters 19-40)

This section tells us more about the covenant. The section is in three parts.

It explains about the most important things (19-20)

They should be most important to God's people (19-20). And God reminds his people about three things:

  • He rescues (19:4; 20:2).
  • He demands (19:5; ‘obey’ and ‘keep’).
  • He desires (19:5b, 6; ‘you will be’).

There is a careful list of these important things. And they have a name. It is The Ten Commandments. There are things that God commands us to do. And there are things that we must not do. The first four things are about man's relationship with God (20:3-11). The last six things are about man's relationship with man (20:12-17). Attitudes are very important. They are part of the covenant. There is our attitude towards God. Then, there is our attitude to man. Both of them are important.

[Note: The word ‘man’ relates to both man and woman.]

It Insists that God's People Should Behave Properly (21-23)

Notice something. There is provision for all of man's needs. God's covenant deals with them all. It deals with problems of society. There are laws about freeing slaves (21:2-11). And there are laws about murder (21:12-14). It deals with disagreements too (21:18, 19). And there are laws about animals. Perhaps someone was careless with dangerous cows (21:28-32). Another person might steal an animal (22:1-4). And there were animals that wandered away (22:5). There were also laws about property. Someone might ask a friend to keep something for him. And that friend might steal it. Or he might lose it. There were laws about these too (22:7, 8).

These are only a few of the laws. But they show God's love. He involves himself with daily life. Everything is important to God. All communities have some difficulties. And God cares about them all. The word ‘law’ sounds unkind to us. But careful study shows us something different. It shows us that God is kind. Here are some examples:

God cares about a woman who is having a baby. He cares about her body's protection (21:22). He cares about the blankets of a man with debts (22:26, 27). God speaks about animals too. People must care for them. And this must happen even if they belong to an enemy (23:4, 5). He cares, too, about food for poor people (23:10, 11). God even has plans for the land itself. He promises to give the land to his people. The name of the land is Canaan. There were people living there already. But God said that he would not remove them all at once. Or the land would become empty. It would become wild too (23:29-31).

It Explains the Worship of God's People (24-40)

This is the last section. It has one main subject. The subject is God's provision for his people's needs. The Jews were in the desert. They were wandering there. But God cared for them. This part tells us about his provision for their spiritual needs.

Moses went to the mountain (24:15). And God gave him instructions. The orders were careful and clear. They were about the Tabernacle. They were also about the priests’ clothes. These clothes were special.

There is a very sad chapter (32). It shows some bad things about the Jews. They were impatient (32:1). They worshipped idols (32:2-6). And their moral behaviour was bad too (32:25).

There are important spiritual lessons here. We may want God to act for us. But he may not act as we want him to. He may not act when we want him to. So we are impatient with him. Then we begin to move away from God. After that, we turn to ‘other gods’.

[A ‘god’ can be anyone or anything that takes God's place in our lives.]

When we leave God, there is another result. We forget his standards for our lives. Contrast Moses with the people. Moses was very different. Notice three things:

  • Moses was sorry about the people's sin (32:31).
  • Moses spoke with God (33:11). And God spoke with Moses.
  • Their friendship was special.

God chose Moses. There was a reason for this. It was for special service for God (34:10, 11). The result was wonderful: Moses’ face shone (34:29).

God's people gave. They gave in a generous way. And this may show true repentance. ‘The people brought more than enough...’ (36:5). We should be like them.