Abraham’s descendants became known as ‘Israel’. They went to Egypt, and there they were made slaves for about 400 years. But God had not forgotten his pledge to Abraham. God saved his people Israel from slavery in Egypt, by bringing them through the sea. The ‘exodus’, as that event has become known, was a defining moment in the history of Israel as a nation: they were the people that the Lord had saved from the land of slavery. The Lord (‘Yahweh’) was the God who had saved them. It was Moses who led Israel out of Egypt.
During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God.
24 God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. (ESV)
But the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.
30 That day the Lord saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore. (ESV)
God is powerful beyond any human powers, and keeps his promises.
God also said to Moses, “I am the Lord. 3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the Lord I did not make myself known to them. 4 I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, where they lived as aliens. 5 Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered my covenant.
6 “Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. 7 I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. 8 And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord.’” (ESV)
God saves his enslaved people in order to call them to live under his rule, as his own special nation.
And God spoke all these words:
2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.” (ESV)
God brings judgement upon those who are against him, but mercifully saves his own people.
In the greatness of your majesty you overthrow your adversaries;
you send out your fury; it consumes them like stubble.
8 At the blast of your nostrils the waters piled up;
the floods stood up in a heap;
the deeps congealed in the heart of the sea.
9 The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake,
I will divide the spoil, my desire shall have its fill of them.
I will draw my sword; my hand shall destroy them.’
10 You blew with your wind; the sea covered them;
they sank like lead in the mighty waters. (ESV)
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (ESV)
1 Peter 2:9-10
The idea of ‘freedom from slavery’ captures very powerfully what Jesus achieved for us in his death and resurrection. Our slavery to sin and death was terminated. In the cross, Jesus brought judgement on the enemies of God and showed mercy to those he loves.
What similarities and differences do you see in the salvation of the Israelites from Egypt and the salvation God has given you in Jesus?
Thank God for his great mercy revealed in the Exodus from Egypt, and even more so in the death of Jesus.