We finished reading Genesis by seeing how because of a famine, the seventy individuals of the family of Israel, formerly called Jacob, moved to Egypt. At the beginning of the book of Exodus we observe that 430 years have passed since Joseph lived there. God has prospered Israel and made it a nation, remember the Abrahamic covenant? Well, God has fulfilled everything he said he would accomplish.
Despite the development of the Jewish people, Pharaoh is worried because now the Israelites are so numerous that they have the capacity to rebel. Because of this, the life of the Israelites becomes very difficult. Pharaoh also wants to reduce the Jewish population and therefore sends to kill all male Israeli babies. Moses was one of the babies of that time, however, his mother disobeys Pharaoh’s orders and Moses is saved and adopted by the family of Pharaoh. Moses is raised as prince of Egypt.
One day Moses sees an Egyptian foreman mistreating a Jew, and in an outburst of anger, he murders the foreman. Because of this situation Moses flees from Egypt to the desert. Many years go by and believing that he will never return to Egypt, Moses marries and becomes a shepherd. On one occasion, while shepherding, Moses has an incredible encounter with God (Ex 3) and becomes God’s chosen one to lead his people, Israel, to freedom. So he returns to Egypt and by order of God tells Pharaoh to let his people go. Clearly Pharaoh does not listen to him, and, although God knew in advance that he would refuse, He responds by sending ten plagues to Egypt that end with the Passover.
These plagues seem random but sister, each plague directly confronts each of the false gods of Egypt. The plague of blood goes against the god of the Nile River; the one of the frogs faces Heket, goddess of water and fertility. The plague of lice faces Geb, god of the earth. In the midst of this plague, the wise men of Egypt realize that this is the hand of God! The next plague separates Egypt from Israel. The plague of the flies opposes the god of creation and rebirth, Khepri. Interestingly enough Pharaoh accepts that he needs the Lord, the God of Israel, but there is never repentance. And then, God begins to take lives.
First God goes against the life of animals. The death of cattle goes against the goddess of love and protection, Hathor. Next, God touches human beings. If the Egyptians were paying attention, they would have seen that the God of Israel is true, while the Egyptian gods are false. The plagues continue. The ulcers shames Isis, the goddess of medicine and peace. The plague of locusts mocks the god of disorder and storms, Seth. The one of the darkness attacks Rah, the sun god, and finally, the death of the firstborn attacks against the supreme “god” of Egypt, the one who supposedly could not die, the Pharaoh himself.
During the last plague, God institutes the Feast of Easter. There are 7 other Biblical feasts . These were given to point to the sacrifice that Jesus would make for our salvation. Easter reflects this in a very obvious way. Easter was basically this: God saying that if they didn’t want the angel of death to take their firstborn, all they had to do was trust and obey Him. We can see Jesus as follows: Find a perfect lamb (Jesus), kill him (the cross), and put blood (redemption by faith for forgiveness, power) on the poles of your house. God was showing them and us that only God’s way would ensure salvation.
Now, I’m sure there were many who put the blood of the lamb on the roof or in the window, or that they killed a cow instead…and paid the consequences. Obedience or partial faith is the same as disobedience. God wants your all, not just a little part or you. But those who trusted in the Lord were spared judgement. Can you see the similarity with the Gospel? God made a way for His people to be saved through a perfect lamb in the same way that God has made a way for His children to be saved through the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world – Christ!
Israel must have known after all these plagues, without any doubt, that their God, living and true God, would not share their glory with anyone, but even after seeing and living the plagues, we soon see that they still do not trust Him and in fact, they rebel against Jehovah.
The Israelites leave Egypt with their Egyptian neighbor’s possessions. Here we see God’s fulfillment of the promise of Gen 15:14. Pharaoh gets enraged and persecutes the Jews. God remains faithful and continues to defend them in an incredible way; by dividing the Red Sea miraculously so that his people can escape walking on dry land in the middle of the sea!
The passage through the Red Sea is our spiritual reality. What God does here is that He provides Israel with a clear path to move from slavery to freedom. Turn to 1 Corinthians 10:1-4 (New Testament), God says: “For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.”
The crossing of the Red Sea is a symbol of our redemption with God through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. We see that in order to follow God we need Christ, and, just like the Israelites found the physical freedom from their former slavery, we will also find fullness of spiritual freedom in Jesus who saved us from the slavery of our sin.
Sister, as you continue reading your Bible, remember that, although it was written by 35 people inspired by the Holy Spirit and they came from different socio-economic and educational contexts, the unity in the meta-narrative (that is, the main story) of the Word points us to our deep need for Jesus.
Everything we read yells at us, follow me! Have a relationship with me! Trust my ways and not your ways! As we continue our reading of the Bible, we will see that the path to our salvation only exists when we follow God’s plan to save humanity in Jesus. Anything else will profoundly point us to our insufficiency and our deep need to depend and believe in Christ alone for salvation and for a abundant life.
1. Is there any attitude in your heart that follows Christ with partial obedience? (Repent sister! God is merciful and will forgive you in Christ and remember: Partial obedience is disobedience).
2. How does the first part of Exodus teach you to wait in God’s time in times of tribulation and suffering?
3. Who are you going to encourage today by understanding that God is not slow to respond but works His purposes through our waiting?
If you have any questions, send us an email or contact us on one of our social networks.