Today, we’re going to look at the Book of Exodus. That’s the second book in the Old Testament. In case a new discoverer, we’ve been looking at each of the Books of the Bible. We started with the New Testament, and now we’re going back to the Old. I’ll leave a link in the show notes, in case you want to go back and listen to some of the earlier shows.
The book of Exodus is really rather exciting. It tells the story of how the Israelis were in Egypt and were eventually made slaves. It talks about how God sent a deliverer names Moses to set them free and lead them through the desert towards the land he had promised them. It’s really quite dramatic in it’s telling. The book was written by Moses himself, somewhere around 1407 BC.
There is some controversy around when these events happened, and we’ll tackle some of them while we
re together. But let me just say that when we think of Ancient Egypt, we tend to think that everything we find buried in the sand, is all related to the slavery of the Jews. That simply isn’t true. For example, I don’t think they built the great pyramid. I think it was built a long time before the Israelis. But I think all the talk about Rameses II and the 1200s BC talk that you often hear from liberal scholars, is also rubbish.
Moses gives us enough detail that we can pretty much pin the dates to the 15th century BC. When the story begins, the midwives of the Jews are asked to kill baby boys, but Moses mother, hides her son in a basket, in the Nile and he was found by a woman callled, Pharoah’s daughter. Interestingly, there was a woman who actually had that as her Title. Her name was Hatshepsut. She was the daughter of Tutmose II and the brother of Tutmose III. Her father loved her very much and she was the first woman to be treated like a pharoah. This woman would have been powerful enough to rescue an Israeli baby and raise him as her own. And she lives right at the time tha’t best fits the Biblical time period. She is hated by her brother, Tutmose III and once he becomes pharoah, he tries to wipe her name out of existence. It’s fascinating to read about it and see the conflict between them. And it follows that Tutmose would be angry with Moses. Because he was raised by Hatshepsut as a prince of Egypt, he would have been seen as such by the people and explains how he had access to Tutmose whenever he liked. Hatshepsut had been loved by many people so Tutmose would have indulged Moses.
One of my favorite visits, was to the Egypt exhibit in the British Museum. In fact, Brittan and I are going there in a couple of weeks. One of the things I love is all the stuff they have related to Tutmose III. His very sarcophagus is there. As I walk through that exhibit, I can imagine, the debates between Him and Moses.
When we look at the ten plagues God cursed the Egyptians with, we must take note that these plagues were directly related to Egyptian worship. They worshiped the Nile, Frogs, their cattle, their gods of the sky and harvests. Ultimately, they worshipped the Sun and Pharoah himself. So each of the plagues was pitting God against those worshiped by the Egyptians. They are not random acts. There is purpose to them. We don’t see that unless we’re told about it, but the Egyptians and Israelis both would have known exactly what this was all about.
The slavery part of Israel’s history ends with the Passover. God tells them to butcher a lamb and eat it quickly, with a few quick vegetables and herbs and unleavened bread. They are to take some of the blood of the lamb and paint the top of their doors with it. When the angel of judgment and death comes by, he will pass over any doors covered by blood.
Death was everywhere in Egypt that night. By morning they were begging the Israeli’s to leave. They were actually paying them to go. And the Jews walked out of Egypt, a free people.
To this very day, Passover is an important part of the Jewish calendar. Even Jews who don’t believe much at all will practice the passover.
But sadly, they don’t see it as a picture of Jesus. Jesus, who, like the lamb, was sacrificed, at Passover. Some day, each one of us will stand before the Judge. We are all guilty and deserve punishment, but we will be passed over by the blood of the lamb who’s blood we claim, just like the Jews did. Oh how I see Jesus in every part of the Passover. I hope you will, too.
There is one more part of the Book of Exodus I want to look at for a moment. And that is, the crossing of the Red Sea. That’s a really awesome story. We read about it in the 14th Chapter. After the Jews had been gone a few days, Pharoah had regrets and sent his army out to bring them back. The Jews found themselves trapped, with the sea in front of them and the Egyptian army behind them. They thought they were done. But God spoke to Moses and told him to stretch his walking staff out over the sea. When Moses did that, the sea parted. Interestingly, the Cloud of God’s presence stood between the Jews and the army almost like a fog, and the Egyptians did not see them crossing on dry ground. When God lifted the cloud, the Egyptians saw the Jews and ran into the sea bed, which God closed in around them, drowning the army of Egypt.
The story is beyond dramatic, it’s miraculous. Many people scoff at it. But why? Interestingly, this coincides with about a 70 year time period, when the Egyptians became monotheists. Now, they weren’t worshiping the God of the Jews, but their pantheon of Gods had just been defeated, along with their army. They had a new pharoah, and he led them in this monotheistic revival.
Also, consider the archaeological evidence. I remember when I was young, thinking divers should find something at the bottom of the red sea, but there was nothing there. That’s until fairly recently. See, the red sea has two fingers that stick up. There is the Gulf of Suez, but there is also the gulf of Aquaba. We have always thought the Jews crossed the gulf of Suez. Liberal scholars have even suggested there was a shallow bit to the north that would have worked. But in the late 60s, an explorer found an interesting set of sites over in the gulf of Aquaba.
Roughly a quarter of the way down the gulf, there is a sandy beach, directly across from it is another beach in Saudi Arabia. On the Saudi side, he found memorial markers and other signs that made him think this might actually be the spot. The problem is, the Saudis wouldn’t allow anyone to come see them.
He did manage to get some divers to do some work in the sea and they found several chariot wheels and other objects that looked like something had happened. But again, the saudis were a hindrance to the research.
Just last week, I read that the Saudis are considering opening these sites up for exploration and possibly even tourism. This could be really interesting. Especially, because if it pans out, a lot of tourist places and old worship sites like monasteries, built since the middle ages, will prove to be false. And we will have to deal with the repercussions of the scandal from the fall out. Stay tuned for this part. There is another site in this region of Saudi that looks pretty interesting, too, but again we’ll have to wait and see. I will get into it a bit next week.
When you read Exodus, I want you to understand the history that was surrounding these events. The events of the bible happened in space and time. Much of the history we can’t find, because history was not well chronicled in those days. But much has been uncovered. And the Bible is being confirmed all the time. You don’t hear about it, because it doesn’t match the agenda people want to feed or be fed. But the simple truth is, the Bible is stunningly accurate is all it proclaims.
So far in the book we’ve seen that God loves his people and delivers them from bondage. And folks, that’s the story of Jesus. God love his creation. He knows that we are held prisoner, not from Egypt, not from any government, but from sin. Jesus died and his blood sets us free. We will still be chased and tested, but God will be there with and for us. Every step of the way. It’s up to us to decide whether or not we will trust him. That’s your call.
And that’s all I’ve got for this week. We’ll finish the book of Exodus next time. I hope you have a great week. Read the book of Exodus, if you can. Write me with questions and thoughts. I’ll talk to you then, but for now…..Yep…I’m out…..