These are notes collected from studying Exodus with Matt Lantz and Matt Roefer. Anything good comes from the Lord. Everything else is from us!
Exodus = Our Christian Walk
I find Exodus one of the best pictures of our Christian walk:
- Start enslaved/oppressed by sin (= Israel enslaved by Egypt)
- Jesus comes on the scene to do signs and wonders pointing the fact that we should not dwell with sin (= first 9 plagues)
- Jesus’ blood covers our sins and finally make a break with the power of sin (= Passover / 10th Plague)
- We are baptized in the Spirit to begin our journey (= them baptized in the cloud before going into the Red Sea)
- We are baptized in water to walk out this break from our old sinful past (= Red Sea)
- This leads us to singing and praise (= Song of Moses and Miriam)
- We are nourished through the desert by God’s word (= Manna, see Matt. 4:4)
- We are nourished through the desert by God’s Spirit (= water from rock)
- When we seek more than God’s word and Spirit we fall into deception and sin (see Num. 21)
- We are being led unto God’s ultimate paradise: new heavens and earth (= Israel led by God in the wilderness, toward Canaan / Promised Land)
Also: see Moses Points to Jesus.
Exodus = A work of God, not us
I’m also really struck by how much Exodus was a work of God.
The work the people did:
- put blood on the doorpost and feast (where God would save them)
- ask Egyptians for goods (and God would give them favor)
- walk through the Red Sea (where God would miraculously open it and blind Egyptians)
- follow Moses
I think it can be summed up well in: “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Ex. 14:14).
Now think of the contrast scenario – when Sin/Egypt was the boss: they had to work, and work, and work some more!
God instituting Sabbath (which speaks ultimately to relying/trusting His work alone) was a contrast to Egypt where they had no option to rest. Now they have a choice: will you try to work it out or rest in God’s work? Before, they only could work because of the oppression of Egypt (symbolizing sin)
Too often we/me strive and strive. This message is counter to our culture but one we need to come back to often! To truly learn to be still before the Lord and let him fight for us and let Him fight our battles. Makes me think of when Israel defeats Amalek only when Moses holds up his hands- He is truly completely in control!
Exod. 7-8: Counterfeit Power
I found it really interesting how the magicians pulled off the first two plagues “by their secret arts” (Exodus 7-8). Thought this was interesting considering the new age and occult rising in popularity nowadays, and of course this is nothing new. Reminds me that there is truly “nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9)
This event is also recounted in the NT. See 2 Tim 3:8-9. But I love that even though false and counterfeit signs/wonders happen, Aaron’s snake still swallowed the other snakes. In other words…Gods signs/wonders always (eventually) show themselves more powerful than the counterfeit ones.
Exod. 19: A Chosen Nation; A Kingdom of Priests
Exod. 19:4-6 really jumped out at me… “You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles wings (which we have been talking about recently) and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples for all the earth is mine and you shall be to me a kingdom of priest and a holy nation.”
There interestingly seem to be a lot of if/then statements. The Lord has an expectation that IF Israel/we follow him and obey then He will bless them with a specific promise or covenant. See the same theme in the next chapter…
Exod 20:5-6 “You shall not bow down to them or serve them for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands who love me and keep my commandments.”
In some ways, without the totality of scripture if you only take these segments you could see how one could get quite a works based salvation…
Now open your Bible to 1 Pet 2:9. See anything similar to Ex 19:4-5?
It is restating those promises but now applying them to the church. And here’s the big point: it was conditional and Israel didn’t meet that condition. In fact no one does. Except 1 PERSON!! So 1 Pet 2 says that Jesus fulfilled the conditions perfectly. And we Christians are covered in Him, so we receive all the promises of Ex 19:4-5 on the basis of JESUS’ righteousness, not ours.
Exod 20: Love of God & People
In the 10 commandments, we have 2 groups: (Commandments 1-4 seem focused on direct ways to love God // Commandments 5-10 address how to love others, which indirectly also shows love for God). Thus, we can think more biblically about what it means to love neighbors.
Specifically, in Exodus 20:
- honor those in authority over you (parents, especially mentioned here)
- don’t murder (Jesus explains that it goes to the heart level and not even wanting harm to others – Matt. 5)
- don’t commit adultery (in other words, reserve sexuality to husband-wife…Jesus explains that this includes your thought-life…see Matt 5)
- don’t steal – this shows love to others by not taking from them what doesn’t belong to you (it also shows that it is implied God sees that we do have individual ownership of different things – which is one OF MANY reasons socialism ideas are not founded upon Bible)
- don’t lie to others – promote truth
- don’t covet other’s property — I think this is a big one today – we think it’s unfair we don’t have what others have…some have even falsely called this “justice” that all have the same thing…not true…we are to be content with what we have, and recognize that different people will have different things, some even better than what we have (again, this is contrary to socialism).
OK…so those are 6 concepts to help us think through some of what God means by loving our neighbor. Of course there is more (in fact, Lev. 19 gives a lot of good stuff on that…coming soon, Lord willing!). But I fear that so many can parrot the words “love your neighbor” but don’t look to the Bible to capture some of what God means by that.
If we started, for instance, with these things, and all sought to do this in a way to glorify God…we would have love of neighbors beyond our wildest dreams. Unfortunately, we go beyond these things, and sometimes neglect these, or re-define them. So now socialism, for instance, is related to “love of neighbors” but I believe the fundamental principles of socialism go against the concept of don’t steal and covet.
Let’s let God define the concepts, not us. If that makes sense.
Exod 21: God’s Governance
God’s governance and principles for governance are so much better than human ideals.
- Ex. 21:16: “Whoever steals a man and sells him, and anyone found in possession of him, shall be put to death.” – thus, God outlawed in the strongest terms a kidnapping form of slavery among his people (New Testament says something similar)
- Ex. 21:27: “If he [a master] knocks out the tooth of his slave, male or female, he shall let the slave go free because of his tooth.” – in other words, God did not tolerate abuse in slavery.
- The reason for slavery outlined in Exodus seems largely for economical reasons. Someone has no money to offer, so can sell himself (like an indentured servant). In fact, there are provisions for becoming a permanent slave if a slave thought his arrangement was good (see Ex. 21:6)
- God allowed for justice (“eye for eye”) to ensure fairness. But Jesus shows how people’s corrupt hearts made this into “wanting” to exact revenge. We “get” to payback. Instead of we “should” have retribution to help curb bad behavior (Matt. 5:38-39)
- I could go on…but there is so much wisdom in these principles. Thankfully, the founding fathers of America really took these principles seriously – arguably more so than any other country has (not that they got it perfect). But I think that has brought a lot of structure for blessing, because we have godly principles and concepts of governance. But we still miss it in U.S.! If only we went back to the principles of God’s word for governance.
- To be clear – I brought up the slavery passages as an example that is a hot-button issue, and many people (wrongly) assume the Bible endorsed the Antebellum South slave practices of America. But when you read what the Bible actually says you see that it condemns such practices in strong terms, and does not endorse a kidnapping-of-people or abusing-people slavery in the least. And even what it does allow within slavery largely would fit into the category of “polygamy” – in other words, God allowed it and curbed the abuses, but never sets this forth as an ideal. God forbid. The ideal, instead, is found in Gen. 1-2. Notice: Adam was made to have 1 wife (not many). And Adam was to see animals and the land as under his dominion, not fellow human beings to become his slave. That’s the ideal.The thought about America following biblical principles in its founding was a separate thought. Not as specific to the issue of slavery (that’s a little more complex of a discussion, and obviously there is a good share of shame in America’s past on this). But on the way they thought through their founding documents. Studies have shown how many Biblical principles and Scriptures went into the formation of laws and ideals of American governance…many that people today are totally ignorant of, yet reap the blessings (for instance, the checks-and-balances structure of the 3 branches of government…based on Bible teaching that we are depraved and sinful and need checks and balances, as I understand)… even Frederick Douglas and MLK could point to America’s founding documents as ideals that are amazing in their concept, even though we haven’t lived up to them in some ways (and they urged Americans to live up to them more)
- GREAT teaching on the subject of slavery and the Bible: https://youtu.be/EUOsBQYuZ9g
Exod 24: God’s Majesty
Exodus 24:17: “Now the appearance of the glory of God was like a devouring fire on top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel.” Let us stand in awe…
Exod 33: Moses’s Prayer
I was really inspired by Moses’s prayer in chapter 33…his genuine desire for God and to know His ways. Not much selfishness in this prayer, just wanting more of God and then you see how this is honored.
Moses: “now, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me your ways that I may know you and find favor in you.”
God: “my presence will go with you and I will give you rest”
Moses: “if your presence is not with us do not bring us from here.”
Moses: “please show me your glory.” (Humble)
God: “I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious and show mercy on whom I will show mercy.” (Sovereign)
Exod 34: The Lord’s Character
I am sure many of us are familiar with the common proclamation “the Lord is merciful, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” I was not aware God himself made this proclamation about His own character (Exodus 34:6-7)–really interesting!