Exodus 1-15 Highlights
- Exodus begins with Israel still in Egypt after the famine
- Israel is growing and increasingly great as a nation
- A new Pharaoh is now leading, and he is worried that Israel will take Egypt over
- He forces them into harsh slavery
- He also enacts a law telling Egyptian midwives to kill all sons born to Hebrew women
- Moses is born and hid in a basket to keep from being killed
- Pharaoh’s daughter finds the basket and decides to take care of the child
- Moses flees to Midian after killing an Egyptian for beating an Israelite
- God appears to Moses in a burning bush and calls him to go lead His people out of Egypt
- Moses is given powerful signs to show to Pharaoh that God wants His people to go
- God promises deliverance for His people
- God brings the ten plagues upon Egypt because Pharaoh will not let Israel leave
- Water turned to blood, frogs, gnats, flies, death of Egyptian livestock, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, and death of Egyptian firstborn
- Pharaoh lets God’s people go after the final plague
- Pharaoh tries to chase after God’s people later to bring them back to slavery
- God parts the Red Sea for His people to walk across and escape the Egyptian soldiers
- The soldiers follow and God drowns them in the Red Sea
Psalms 105, 114
- Psalm 105 speaks to remembering and celebrating the works of God for His people. The psalm walks through the story of Genesis and beginning of Exodus. It recounts all the wondrous deeds God had done to form and deliver His people, as well as the awesome promises He had made to them. This psalm is a call to praise God for all He has done in our lives, to remember His faithfulness, and to lean on that in both good and difficult times. God is good.
- Psalm 114 speaks to the awesome power of God. At his presence, the seas and earth tremble at the greatness of the one true God. We too, should tremble at the presence of God as we are not worthy to stand before a perfectly holy and righteous God. We can also rejoice, however, that God has made a way through His Son for us to be declared righteous before Him and have a relationship with the God of the universe.
Galatians 5-6 Highlights
- Christ has set us free from bondage to sin, and power of sin over our lives
- Paul calls us to walk by the Spirit and to trust the Spirit
- Paul lists the fruit of the Spirit’s work in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control
- The gospel calls us to bear one another’s burdens, walk through life with one another in love, and do good to one another, because Christ has been exceedingly kind and good to us
Ephesians 1-3 Highlights
- Paul begins his letter to the Ephesian church with a beautiful picture of all the spiritual blessings we have in Christ
- Chapter 2: 1-10 is one of the clearest pictures of the gospel; we were dead in our sin, helpless to save ourselves in any way, but God is rich in mercy, and while we were dead in our sin he sent Christ to die in our place and take the punishment of sin that we deserve
- Christ broke down dividing walls between us, so that now we can be one in Christ
- Christ made known to us the mystery of the gospel, that all people can be saved by repentance and faith in Christ
- Paul prays for spiritual strength, that you and I would know the love of Christ that surpasses all knowledge
Exodus begins with God’s people still in Egypt as a result of the famine and Joseph bringing his father and 11 brothers to Egypt. Israel is now increasingly greatly and growing, so much so that the new Pharaoh (who has no connection to Joseph) begins to worry that Israel will eventually be able to take over Egypt. He decides to force them into harsh slavery and also enacts a law where Egyptian midwives, when going to help with an Israelite woman giving birth, should kill the baby if it is a son. With no men, no more children will be had and Israel will stop growing in number.
God is gracious, and he sees the plight of His people. Moses is born, and after growing up, and fleeing to Midian for a season of life, returns to lead God’s people. God miraculously appears to Moses in a burning bush and tells Moses to return to Egypt and lead Israel out of Egypt to a promised land.
Moses dialogues much with God about this, but in the end does go back. God hardens the heart of Pharaoh and will not let Israel leave, so God sends 10 plagues on Egypt, which at the end of the last plague, Pharaoh relents and tells Israel to leave Egypt. He changes his mind shortly thereafter, and chases Israel, but God parts the Red Sea so Israel can cross and then closes the sea on Pharaoh and his army, killing them, and delivering His people.
Theologically, there are a few things of note:
- God is faithful – God sees the struggles of His people. He hears their groaning. He protects His people. When His people can do nothing to save themselves from trouble, God delivers them through His power and by His grace and goodness. This is the story of the beginning of Exodus. With the 10 plagues, or the parting of the Red Sea, God shows His love and desire to save. This should encourage you if you are a Christian as you read this account of God’s dealings with His people. God hears you. He loves you. He saved you out of the darkness of sin and into His kingdom of light. He doesn’t leave or forget about you. Our faith is a God-centered faith, because God is worthy of all praise and worship.
- God provides pictures of the coming Jesus – The tenth plague, death of the firstborn, is a foreshadowing of the coming Messiah that God had promised all the way back in Genesis 3. Israel was told to sacrifice a spotless lamb. They were to take the blood of the lamb and put it on and around their doorposts, in effect, covering their house with blood. When the angel of death swept through Egypt that night it would ‘pass over’ and not bring death to houses where they were covered by the blood of the spotless lamb. There is clear imagery here given from God for us to see. Jesus is called the lamb of God in the New Testament (John 1:29). He was spotless, without sin. His blood was shed. The shed blood of Jesus covers all those who repent of their sin and trust in Christ. This blood allows us access to the Father, both here and forever where believers will not taste death, but spend eternity in the presence of God.
- Our response to God’s goodness is to praise Him – Moses, in Exodus 15, writes a song that he and Israel after God delivered and saved them from Egypt. Their response was to praise God. This should also be our response to God’s goodness in our lives. It is so tempting to at times want to think that we were the reason God did something; we want to take a little bit of the credit, a little bit of the glory. Moses provides the right response for us here though. Praise God and recognize He will reign forever and recognize that we can trust Him an look to Him for every need.
Paul concludes his letter to the Galatian churches with some practical applications for their lives that flow from the gospel. The first is to keep in step with the Spirit. When we give our lives to following Christ, we get the holy Spirit of God living in us, guiding, and directing our lives. Paul tells us here to walk by the Spirit, which means to yield to the Spirit, and let the Holy Spirit lead and guide every aspect of our lives. Paul then gives two lists; one of actions of those who are led by the flesh, and one of those things that characterize those who walk by the Spirit. Notice, in the list, that Paul calls it ‘fruit of the Spirit’ and not ‘fruits’. Even though nine things are listed, it is one fruit. Paul is saying that all of these things should be evident in Christians, and in increasing measure. These things are marks of those who walk by the Spirit.
Paul’s final reminder is to bear one another’s burdens. This means that when a Christian is struggling, whether it be with sin or circumstances of life, that we love and walk with that person. We don’t shun them; we don’t ignore them and hope it gets better; we bear it with them. Do good to everyone, and especially to those of the household of faith. Since Christ has saved us and changed our hearts, we walk and encourage those who are struggling. If we are able to help, we give all the glory to God alone, for we boast not in ourselves, but in the cross of Christ. This is Paul’s final charge to those churches, and to us as well.