The Background to the Exodus (The Covenant & the Cross #63)

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Today’s passage of Scripture is Exodus 1:6-8 which reads: “And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation. And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them. Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.”

Today’s quote about the Bible is from Martin Luther. He said: “I beg every devout Christian not to despise the simplicity of language and the stories found in the Old Testament. He should remember that, however, simple the Old Testament may seem, it contains the words, works, judgments and actions of God Himself. Indeed the simplicity makes fools of the wise and the clever, and allows the poor and simple to see the ways of God. Therefore submit your thoughts and feelings to the stories you read, and let yourself be carried like a child to God.”

Our topic for today is titled “The Background to the Exodus” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin.

The Exodus is the key event of the Old Testament. The writer skips over the four-hundred-year period when Jacob’s descendants were in Egypt and picks up the story with the birth of Moses. He describes how God used Moses to deliver this mob of people out of bondage. This part of the story ends with the Israelites at Mount Sinai, where God establishes them as a full-fledged nation.

As we finished the book of Genesis, we noted that the nation of Israel had descended to Egypt in embryonic form and was left there to incubate for four hundred years. The twelve sons of Jacob had become the nucleus around which the nation would be developed (the twelve tribes). Now we will look at the hatching process, so to speak, which is described in the book of Exodus. These are now times that the original audience would have been personally familiar with — they had been there. And from our perspective, these are times for which we have firmer historical knowledge. The Exodus is the anchor point of the Old Testament, both historically and theologically.