Previously I've written an overview of Exodus.
This is an introduction from another angle:
Introduction to Exodus
Exodus is not the beginning. Exodus continues the story of God’s people.
In the beginning, the promise was given to humanity that the Offspring of the woman would crush Satan’s head, even though His own heel would be struck (Genesis 3:15). This was the first prophesy of the sufferings and glory of the coming Messiah (1 Peter 1:10-11). Though it would cause Him to suffer, the Offspring would defeat the powers that Adam and Eve had unleashed on the world.
From that point onwards, offspring in general became a consuming passion for the people of God. This is because the Offspring in particular – Christ – is our one true hope (cf Galatians 3:16,29).
In Genesis 12, Abraham is told that the Offspring will come through him (Genesis 12:7; cf Galatians 3:16). Thus Abraham’s many offspring would become the nation of Israel through whom the Offspring (the Messiah) would come. The people of the Messiah would therefore be the conduit for all God’s blessings on the world:
2 "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." (Genesis 12:2-3)
In Genesis 15 the Word of the LORD repeats the promises, reassuring Abraham that his childlessness will not be a problem (Genesis 15:1-6). His offspring would be innumerable. But just as the singular Offspring (Christ) would suffer and then be glorified, so the plural offspring (Abraham’s descendants) would suffer and be glorified. Abraham is told:
13 "Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and ill-treated four hundred years. 14 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterwards they will come out with great possessions.” (Genesis 15:13-14)
The story of Exodus is the fulfilment of these verses. It’s the story of the offspring of Abraham, called up out of Egypt – the land of darkness and slavery – brought through curses and judgements, through wilderness and trial, towards the land of blessings and freedom.
Exodus therefore works on many levels.
It is a grand prophesy of the work of the Offspring, Christ. Jesus is the true Son called up out of Egypt (Matt 2:15) who accomplishes His own exodus/departure by undergoing the judgement of the cross (Luke 9:31, ‘exodus’ and ‘departure’ are the same word). Reading Exodus will show us a vivid pattern for Christ’s own sufferings and glory.
Exodus is also a presentation of the sufferings and glories of God’s people in every age. For those who trust in the Messiah – whether in Old or New Testament times – the exodus is a paradigmatic experience. Paul underlines this in 1 Corinthians 10:1-13, and insists that the events of the exodus “happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us.” (v11) We too have had an Exodus experience – once we were in the darkness and slavery of sin but have been brought out through the bloody redemption of the LORD Jesus. Now we experience wilderness times of hardship and testing before we enter the promised land of His presence. Exodus will teach us all about the Christian life.
But if the Exodus experience defines the people of God, it’s even more true to say that the Exodus experience defines the God of the people. From this event onwards, God would always be known as “the LORD who brought you up out of Egypt.” (e.g. Exodus 20:2; Leviticus 11:45; Judges 2:1). In Exodus we will see the promise-keeping, compassionate, rescuing, judging, providing, incomparable I AM who saves His people with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.
8 He saved them for His Name's sake, to make His mighty power known. 9 He rebuked the Red Sea, and it dried up; He led them through the depths as through a desert. 10 He saved them from the hand of the foe; from the hand of the enemy He redeemed them. 11 The waters covered their adversaries; not one of them survived. 12 Then they believed His promises and sang His praise. (Psalm 106:8-12)
Our experience of Exodus should be the same – to believe His promises and sing His praise!