Exodus: An Introduction
What’s the book about?
Exodus is about God’s faithfulness to Israel through the deliverance of his people out of slavery. God reveals himself to his people as a God who hears, responds, and delivers. In response the Israel people commit to the covenant with God to worship God alone. Moreover, Exodus is THE story that shapes the identity of people of faith for generations to come.
How should I read it?
This book is a testimony of Israel’s experience moving from servitude in Egypt to serving God. The shift requires not only a shift in allegiance but rather a shift of one’s whole life. Social justice, legal boundaries, and worship practices are introduced to guide Israel as they become formed as God’s holy nation.
Part I: Exodus 1-18
God delivers his people, Israel out of slavery in Egypt through his servant Moses
Part II: Exodus 19-24
Israel’s new identity as God’s covenant people, shaped by the ten commandments
Part III: Exodus 25-40
Instructions for God’s home among the people, the Tabernacle, is given
Identity: God and Israel
In the third chapter, God reveals himself to Moses, “I am the God of your father, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” God is continuing the covenant first made with Abraham. When Moses asks for his name, God responds, “I am who I am.” There is no other.
After God delivers Israel out of slavery, it is time for them to choose whom to serve. Through the covenant and the laws given at Mount Sinai, Israel becomes “a priestly kingdom” and “a holy nation ” (19:5-6).
Gift of the Law
On Mount Sinai, Moses receives the 10 Commandments and the law from God to give to Israel. These laws are not intended to become another form of bondage, but rather boundaries in which life together may flourish.
Liberation: Peoples Today
Peoples who have been oppressed by social structures have self-identified with the exodus narrative, especially the Black Church and movements in Liberation Theology (Dalit theology in India).
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This introduction draws from The Lutheran Study Bible (pgs. 124-125) and www.enterthebible.com.