BEFORE EXODUS: A SUMMARY OF GENESIS
The first book of the Bible, Genesis, begins with a description of God creating the universe. Everything He made—from land to light to vegetation to animals—He called “good.” Only when God created man and woman was creation deemed “very good” and complete. Adam and Eve lived in the garden of Eden and had dominion over creation. But it didn’t take long for the peace of Eden to shatter.
Sin entered the world and changed everything. Mankind became separated from God, banished from paradise. Nothing would be the same. As mankind multiplied, they filled the earth and corrupted it. God brought His judgment upon earth, wiping out mankind with a flood and using the family of Noah to start anew. The Lord had a plan of redemption, and He would carry it out.
Generations passed, and the father of a future people, Abraham, was born. Abraham settled in Haran, where he received a promise from God. The promise was this: God would make Abraham and his offspring into a great nation, and they would one day dwell in the Promised Land. Abraham then moved his family to Canaan, but when a time of drought and famine hit, he brought them to Egypt.
Years passed, and Abraham had a son, Isaac, and Isaac had a son, named Jacob. Now Jacob had 12 sons, but the youngest, Joseph, was his favourite. Joseph’s brothers, in their jealousy, sold Joseph into slavery. But the Lord gave Joseph favour with the pharaoh of Egypt, and Joseph rose to power in the royal palace. And when famine ravaged the land of Canaan, Joseph’s family came to Egypt, seeking food and provisions, and Joseph forgave his brothers.
So the house of Jacob remained in Egypt, and Joseph lived 110 years. But before he breathed his last, Joseph reminded the people of God’s promise to draw them out of Egypt and into the Promised Land.
– resource from The Village Church’s series Exodus
Exodus is an epic tale of redemption. The adventure takes place under the hot desert sun, just beyond the shadow of the Great Pyramids. There are two mighty nations – Israel and Egypt – led by two great men – Moses the liberating hero and Pharaoh the enslaving villain. Almost every scene is a masterpiece: the baby in the basket: the burning bush; the river of blood and the other plagues; the angel of death; the crossing of the Red Sea.
Once heard, the story is never forgotten. For Jews it is the story that defines their very existence, the rescue that made them God’s people. For Christians it is the Gospel of the Old Testament. God’s first great act of redemption. We return to the exodus again and again, sensing that somehow it holds significance for the entire human race. It is the story of hope and freedom. The exodus shows that there is a God who keeps His covenant promises, who saves, who loves, who provides, who is present and who delivers His people from bondage.
The book of Exodus is the second book of the Bible and it picks up the storyline of the previous book. Genesis, which ended with Abraham’s grandson, Jacob, leading his large family of 70 people down to Egypt. Now Jacob’s 11th son Joseph had been elevated to second in command over Egypt and he had saved his whole family from a famine. So Pharaoh, the King of Egypt, offered the family to come live there as a safe haven. Eventually Jacob dies there in Egypt, as do all the sons including Joseph. About 400 years pass and the story of the Exodus begins.
– Philip Graham Ryken and R. Kent Hughes. Exodus: Saved for God’s Glory (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books. 2005) pg 16-17
In Genesis we are introduced to Elohim, the powerful Creator God, who creates a world where He can reign with and through His image bearing people (Gen. 1-2). It only takes a few chapters (Gen. 3) to see the ways that humanity goes astray and how our first parents, Adam and Eve, are exiled from Eden due to their disobedience. Yet God does not allow their sin to ultimately define the end of the story as the “Protoevangelium” or first announcement of the Gospel occurs in the Bible (Gen. 3:15). Genesis 3 – 11 records the descent of humanity and the rise of chaos. God’s plan to reign with and through His image bearers appears lost. However, Genesis 12 takes a turn when God chooses a pagan, Abram, out of the land of Ur and blesses him in order that through him the nations will be blessed. The remainder of Genesis includes twists and turns, and raises the question of the legitimacy of God’s covenant promise, especially when Jacob’s twelve sons are divided and filled with sin, and famine spreads throughout the region. But God doesn’t five up on His commitment. He is the great Covenant Keeper.
By the end of Genesis, we find Abraham’s great grandson has risen from rags to riches and is second in command only to Pharaoh. With his position of power, Joseph saves his family from death, welcoming them and a total 70 of his relatives to live in the land of Egypt. All seems to be going well by the end. Near Joseph’s end, the people of God are reminded repeatedly to not fear (Gen. 50). Rather, they are to trust God’s goodness and His promises. Genesis therefore serves as a prologue to Exodus, where God’s promises are once again tested as post Joseph’s death a new King arises and forgets Egypt’s relationship to Israel and sees them as a threat due to their significant increase in number (Ex. 1:8).
Exodus thus begins a new chapter of God’s story as He forms a new humanity from the ashes of oppression. god wants to create a new people, redeem them, and make them a light to the nations: this is a central theme of the book of Exodus and as believers nearly 5000 years later we have much to learn about the redemption purchased for us on the cross through the narrative of Exodus – the Gospel according to Moses.
– Crossway Bibles. The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton IL: Crossway Bibles. 2008) pg 26
Another great resource is The Bible Project’s Exodus Podcast – to find it, search in your podcast app of choice.
The above are just a few resources that are available to us to help get a handle of the Book of Exodus. In preparation for our theme, if you come across any other helpful information or resources that has enhanced your own understanding, please feel free to share it with the wider group of leaders – we have a Teenstreet Leaders only Facebook group. You can email us at: TeenStreet.AU@om.org, or alternatively direct message us via the Teenstreet Australia Facebook page.