uplifting thoughts and inspiration on faith
Exodus tells the story of how God led the children of Israel out of the bondage of slavery under Pharoah in Egypt to the promised land of Canaan. God calls Moses to lead the children of Israel and gives them the Law and instructions for the Tabernacle, the means by which he will dwell with them and lead them to the land.
Egypt’s Pharaoh, fearful of the Israelites’ numbers, orders that all newborn boys be thrown into the Nile. A Levite woman saves her baby by setting him adrift on the river in an ark of bulrushes. Pharaoh’s daughter finds the child, names him Moses, and brings him up as her own. But Moses is aware of his origins, and one day, when grown, he kills an Egyptian overseer who is beating a Hebrew slave and has to flee into Midian. There he marries the daughter of Jethro the priest of Midian, and encounters God in a burning bush. Moses asks God for his name: God replies “I AM that I AM”. God tells Moses to return to Egypt and lead the Hebrews into Canaan, the land promised to Abraham.
Exodus 13-15 And Moses said to God,”Behold, when I come to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you’, and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ What shall I say to them?”
And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM and WHAT I AM, and I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE;” and He said, “You shall say this to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you!”
God said also to Moses, This shall you say to the Israelites: The Lord, the God of your fathers, of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has sent me to you! This is My name forever, and by this name I am to be remembered to all generations.
Moses returns to Egypt, where God again reveals his name Yahweh to him. Yahweh instructs Moses to appear before the pharaoh and inform him of God’s demand that he let God’s people go. Moses and his brother Aaron do so, but Pharaoh refuses. Yahweh causes a series of ten plagues to strike Egypt, but whenever Pharaoh begins to relent God causes him to harden his heart.
God instructs Moses to institute the Passover sacrifice among the Israelites, and kills all the firstborn children and livestock throughout Egypt. Pharaoh then agrees to let the Israelites go. Moses explains the meaning of the Passover: it is for Israel’s salvation from Egypt, so that the Israelites will not be required to sacrifice their own sons, but to redeem them.
The Exodus begins. The Israelites, enumerated at 603,550 able-bodied adult males (not counting Levites) and their families, with their flocks and herds, set out for the mountain of God. Yahweh causes Pharaoh to change his mind about allowing the Israelites to depart; he pursues them, but God destroys the Egyptian army at the crossing of the Red Sea (Yam Suf) and the Israelites celebrate Yahweh’s victory. The desert proves arduous, and the Israelites complain and long for Egypt, but God provides manna and miraculous water for them.
The Israelites arrive at the mountain of God, where Moses’ father-in-law Jethro visits Moses; at his suggestion Moses appoints judges over Israel. The Israelites arrive at the mountain of God, where God asks whether they will agree to be his people. They accept. The people gather at the foot of the mountain, and with thunder and lightning, fire and clouds of smoke,and the sound of trumpets, and the trembling of the mountain, God appears on the peak, and the people see the cloud and hear the voice of God. Moses and Aaron are told to ascend the mountain. God pronounces the Ten Commandments in the hearing of all Israel.
Moses goes up the mountain into the presence of God, who pronounces the Covenant Code (a detailed code of ritual and civil law), and promises Canaan to them if they obey. Moses comes down the mountain and writes down God’s words and the people agree to keep them. God calls Moses up the mountain together with Aaron and the elders of Israel, and they all feast in the presence of God. God calls Moses up the mountain to receive a set of stone tablets containing the law, and he and Joshua go up, leaving Aaron in charge. God calls Moses to go up, and Moses goes up the mountain.
God gives Moses instructions for the construction of the tabernacle so that God can dwell permanently amongst his chosen people.
God gives instructions for the priestly vestments, the altar and its appurtenances, the ritual to be used to ordain the priests, and the daily sacrifices to be offered. Aaron is appointed as the first High Priest,and the priesthood is to be hereditary in his line.
God gives Moses the two stone tablets containing these instructions, written by God’s own finger. While Moses is with God, Aaron makes a golden calf, which the people worship. God informs Moses of their apostasy and threatens to kill them all, but relents when Moses pleads for them. Moses comes down from the mountain, smashes the stone tablets in anger, and commands the Levites to massacre the unfaithful Israelites. God commands Moses to make two new tablets on which He will personally write the words that were on the first tablets. Moses ascends the mountain, God dictates the Ten Commandments and Moses writes them on the tablets. Moses descends from the mountain, and his face is transformed, so that from that time onwards he has to hide his face with a veil.
Moses assembles the Hebrews and repeats to them the commandments he has received from God, which are to keep the Sabbath and to construct the Tabernacle. “And all the construction of the Tabernacle of the Tent of Meeting was finished, and the children of Israel did according to everything that God had commanded Moses”, and from that time God dwelt in the Tabernacle and ordered the travels of the Hebrews.