Exodus is a transliteration of the Greek word which means “going out, or away; a departure.” This book is the story of how God delivers the descendants of Jacob (aka Israel) from slavery in Egypt.  We call this “redemption”, which is God exercising his great power to rescue his people from bondage and to bring them to himself.

Some things to note…

Note the name of God (Exodus 3): In preparing the nation of Israel for a covenant relationship with himself — we call this the Mosaic Covenant, or the Old Testament — he gives Moses a new name to give to the people in order that they may know him and call upon him (Exodus 3:13ff). The Hebrew word with the consonants YHWH, or “Yahweh”, is usually translated as “LORD” in most English Bible translations. This name connotes the self-existing, eternal nature of God. Through Isaiah God says, “I am the LORD and there is no other” (Isaiah 45:6, 18). He is the One “who was and is and is to come” (Revelation 4:8). Jesus refers to himself in this way when he said, “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58).  This also relates to God’s covenant faithfulness to his people, that he — the eternal I am — will always be with them as their God.

Note God’s unchanging purpose in redemption (Exodus 6): “Say therefore to the people of Israel, ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment. I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.'” (Exodus 6:6-7 ESV)

Just as Adam and Eve first walked in harmony with God in the beautiful garden of Eden, so God’s unchanging plan has always been to redeem a people who will live under his rule, enjoying his presence and blessing in a beautiful world. This will come to completion in the glorious kingdom that the Lord Jesus will establish (read Revelation 21:1-6). As Graeme Goldsworthy writes, “the Kingdom of God involves: (a) God’s people (b) in God’s place (c) under God’s rule” (from Gospel and Kingdom).

Note the main characters in the early part of the book: Moses, as representative and mediator sent from God, and Pharaoh, who also represents the gods of Egypt.  The plagues upon Egypt at that time were judgments also upon the false gods of Egypt (Exodus 12:12), who supposedly preserved the harmonious cycles of nature.  God will always reveal the futility of idolatry. After leaving their bondage behind the people of Israel sang, “Who is like you, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders? You stretched out your right hand; the earth swallowed them.” (Exodus 15:11-12 ESV)