Exodus provides a powerful revelation of who God is. He is the true ruler. Pharaoh cannot rule God’s people. That’s good news.
Exodus is about God’s kingship — establishing a nation under his rule and law, living among his people.
Genesis described how the rebellion against God’s reign led to anarchy and unsustainable violence. After cleansing his realm, God permitted human government, and the nations went their own ways. Through Abraham, he promised to establish a nation that would show the nations what they were missing — the blessing of divine rule.
Exodus describes the fulfilment of that promise. God led Jacob’s descendants out from oppressive human rule, forming them into his representative kingdom on earth. Israel became the first nation under God’s direct kingship, guided by his laws. So they built a tent for their heavenly sovereign to live among them and lead them.
A kingdom reveals the wisdom and character of its king, so the heavenly sovereign is revealed in what he does for his people. His goal is this: “I will be their God, and they will be my people.” The king is revealed in relation to his people:
- Whose people? (Exodus 1–14): Pharaoh claims the descendants of Jacob as his slaves. YHWH commands, “Let my people go!” YHWH wins this conflict, and liberates his people.
- Whose kingdom? (Exodus 15–24): YHWH leads his people to Sinai where he establishes Israel as a nation. As their king, he gives them his laws. The covenant establishes YHWH as their sovereign and Israel as his kingdom.
- Whose dwelling? (Exodus 25–40): The king instructs them in how to build a tent where he can live among them and lead them. They complete the tent. He moves in and directs their nation.
The whole Book of Exodus reveals the character of YHWH in relation to Israel, his representative kingdom:
Exodus 1 – 14: Whose people? — Liberated by YHWH
Ex 1 How power corrupts human rulers
Ex 2 Combatting evil with evil won’t work
Ex 3 The royal encounter
Ex 4 Trusting the heavenly ruler
Ex 5–6 The struggle against injustice
Ex 7–10 God’s mighty acts: the initial plagues
Ex 11–13 Release through the final plague
Ex 14 The Red Sea
Exodus 15 – 24: Whose kingdom? — Covenanted to YHWH
Ex 15 The salvation song
Ex 15–17 Regal providence
Ex 18 Sharing the responsibility for justice
Ex 19 Israel meets her ruler
Ex 20 The foundational commandments
Ex 21 Gaining perspective on the law
Ex 22–23 What the law reveals about God
Ex 24 Committing to the covenant
Exodus 25 – 40: Whose dwelling? — YHWH among his people
Ex 25 The palace and the throne
Ex 26–27 Tabernacle: holy space for God
Ex 28–29 Royal servants (priests)
Ex 30 Incense altar, census tax, laver, oil, incense
Ex 31 Craftsmen, Sabbath
Ex 32 Misrepresenting God (golden calf)
Ex 33 Going without God?
Ex 34 The sovereign’s character
Ex 35–39 Constructing YHWH’s dwelling (obedience)
Ex 40 God among his people
Without Exodus there would be no Israel, no redemption, no Torah, no temple, no Jews, no Jesus, no New Testament, no hope for the world. The whole narrative of the Bible grows out of the exodus.
The Exodus story was front and centre for Jesus. He planned his final journey to Jerusalem to coincide with Passover, the annual celebration of the exodus. He used Passover to explain the meaning of his death.
In Jesus, the whole world will experience what Israel experienced in the Exodus. Earth will be liberated from oppressive rule, and military powers will cease. All nations will come into the kingdom of God, the reign of his appointed ruler, Messiah Jesus. God and humans will be reconciled as sovereign and citizens, and God will live among his people. What God did for Israel in the exodus, he will do for the whole earth in Messiah Jesus.