Exodus: What God teaches us about God

I’d originally planned a V-day post for today, but it was sub-par. Hopefully someone somewhere will appreciate the relief from romance offered below  🙂

What do we learn about the God of the Bible from the book of Exodus?

1. He is a covenant-keeping God

Right at the beginning of Exodus, the writer wants us to know that God’s promise to Abraham of numerous descendants was on track (1:7, 12). We’re then told that God’s concern for the Israelites’ plight stemmed from His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (2:24-25).

2. He is a rescuing and redeeming God

The rescue from Egypt was also part of the promise he’d made to Abraham. Moses points out the utter singularity of this event in Deuteronomy 4:34.

3. He is a God who judges

Why did Yahweh send the plagues on Egypt? Couldn’t He have brought out His people without all that nasty stuff?

When Moses and Aaron first appeared before Pharaoh, the latter had dismissively said, “I do not know the LORD” (5:2). You don’t say such things about God Almighty and get away with it. In the following chapters, the refrain “then _____ will know that I am the LORD” appears 10 times [1].

Thus Pharaoh’s wilful denial of Yahweh as God was the reason for the plagues. The people of Egypt weren’t lily-white either: their idolatry was a denial of Yahweh too. One way of looking at the plagues is that Yahweh was taking on the false gods of Egypt [2].

4. He is a law-giving God

Moses thought that having the law was a wonderful thing (Deuteronomy 4:8). The psalmists thought it was worth singing about (Psalms 19:7-11; 119; 147:19-20).

It’s also important to note that the law is given to an already redeemed people. There are 18 chapters in Exodus before a single command is given. No wonder those ancient Israelites got so excited about the law!

5. He is a God who desires to dwell with His people

The book of Exodus is wonderful reading until you get to chapter 25 or thereabout. From then until the end of the book, with the exception of a few chapters, it’s all about cubits and curtains made of blue, purple and scarlet yarn. Why is so much space given to the building plans of the tabernacle?

Another oft-repeated phrase answers that for us. We find it in Exodus 25:8 and 29:45-46. It pops up in promise form in Leviticus 26:12 and 1 Kings 6:13. The prophets speak of it  a lot, for example in Isaiah 12:6, Ezekiel 37:27, Zechariah 2:10, 8:3.

So what?

All this happened long ago and far away. Why should any of this matter to New Covenant believers?

God rescues, redeems and keeps His covenant: Moses, who led the people out of Egypt, foreshadowed the seed of Abraham who would deliver God’s people from the bondage to sin. The exodus is the great saving work of God that points ahead to the saving work completed in Christ.

But getting out of Egypt is only half the equation; Joshua led the people into the land of promise. We who believe await another Joshua who will lead us into God’s rest (Hebrews 4:8-10). So far, God has a pretty good track record of keeping promises!

God judges: But He always provides an escape route. In the last plague, it was the blood smeared on the lintel and door-posts. Today it is the precious blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:19).

God desires to dwell with His people: In the opening chapter of the New Testament, we read that Jesus is “God with us”. At the very end of Matthew’s gospel, He promises to be with His people to the very end (28:20). The apostle Paul pulls a number of OT texts together in 2 Corinthians 6:16-18. Finally, the culmination of God dwelling in the midst of His people is to be found in Revelation 21:3.

Oh my, this post has turned out longer than I expected…

Resources I used:

Notes:

[1] 7:5, 17; 8:10, 22; 9:14, 16, 29; 10:2; 14:4, 18

[2] For example, the plague of blood was directed against the Nile god; the plague of frogs was directed against Heqt/Heket, a goddess with the head of a frog; the plague of darkness was directed against the sun-gods, etc.

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2 thoughts on “Exodus: What God teaches us about God

    1. Thanks for the addition, zzzisle! However much we say about God, there’s always much more. Isn’t that amazing?

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