The Genesis of Exodus

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SERMON TEXT: Exodus 1:1-7
My yard has been overtaken with Bermuda grass. Not completely, but ANY is more than I want…I have much more than any.
Bermuda grass is that long wiry grass. When I say long…I mean snaky long. If you treat it like a weed in your fescue lawn, as I do, then you have to suppress it and pull quite a bit up by hand. When you start pulling at it, you find it’s very much like a really strong cord
I found out its root system can actually go down deep in the ground, 6 feet. Most of it lives in the highest layer, but (I have discovered) in NC, we have DEEP Bermuda connections…pun intended.
When you go to start preaching through Exodus, you recognize very quickly that the saga doesn’t begin in Chapter 1 verse 1.
Beware this sound byte, condensed-character, social media expression.
Just like it isn’t wise to take verses out of context because context means so much, we would do well not to take chapters and even books out of their place, too.
It has been suggested that Exodus is not meant to be read in isolation from the surrounding material in the Pentateuch. Rather, it describes one stage of Israel’s story that began with creation in Genesis 1 and ends with the Israelites poised at the borders of the land of Canaan at the end of Deuteronomy.
The first five books of the Bible are referred to as the Pentateuch, considered as a whole, there are only five major themes:
God’s promise to the patriarchs;
the exodus;
God’s Self-revelation in covenant and law at Sinai;
the wandering in the wilderness;
the entrance into Canaan
Well, here are some lessons I’ve learned from those who have preached through this book before. They’re great reasons to study any book of the Bible like this...
First, we need to know God more so that we might love and serve Him with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength!
Second, we need to better understand God’s plan of redemption.
Next, we need to understand God’s mission and our mission better.
Finally, we can draw lessons for living out our faith on a daily basis...
1 Corinthians 10:11 ESV
11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.
Taking care of the unborn
Racism and murder
How God can use weak, ordinary people
The importance of singing praise
The nature of true community
How to rely on God’s presence daily
Delegation and the need to take counsel from others
Obeying God’s word
The issue of idolatry and true worship
There is no shortage of dramatic moments in the book of Exodus. It is a story that has repeatedly captured the public imagination and which has been a favourite of film-makers.
Its story of deliverance from oppression has inspired liberation movements from the Pilgrim Fathers and the English revolutionaries of the seventeenth century to the anti-slavery campaigns of the nineteenth century to the civil rights movements in the twentieth century.
Its cry of, “Let my people go” has echoed down across the centuries (5:1; 7:16; 8:1, 20; 9:1, 13; 10:3).
But the truth is it’s more dramatic than these moments and more revolutionary than these movements.
This incredible book:
broadcasts the name of God
pivots on the promises of God
proclaims that true freedom is found only in willing submission to God
Let’s tug at that wiry thread a bit and see the bigger picture!


(verses 1-6)
Exodus 1:1–6 ESV
1 These are the names of the sons of Israel who came to Egypt with Jacob, each with his household: 2 Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, 3 Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin, 4 Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher. 5 All the descendants of Jacob were seventy persons; Joseph was already in Egypt. 6 Then Joseph died, and all his brothers and all that generation.
The book of Exodus begins with the word “And”. It’s missed out in most English translations, but it’s there in the original Hebrew, in which Exodus was first written.
It immediately alerts us to the fact that this story is part of a bigger story. The end of the previous book, Genesis, has already hinted at a sequel. Look with me at Genesis 46 & 50 to see what’s up.
Genesis 46:1–4 ESV
1 So Israel took his journey with all that he had and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. 2 And God spoke to Israel in visions of the night and said, “Jacob, Jacob.” And he said, “Here I am.” 3 Then he said, “I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you into a great nation. 4 I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again, and Joseph’s hand shall close your eyes.”
Genesis 50:24–25 ESV
24 And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die, but God will visit you and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” 25 Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.”


(verse 7)
Exodus 1:7 ESV
7 But the people of Israel were fruitful and increased greatly; they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong, so that the land was filled with them.
400 years before the events of Exodus 1, the promise had been under threat.
It looked as if famine would wipe out the family of Abraham. But in his providence, God arranged things so that Joseph, one of Abraham’s great-grandsons, became “prime minister” in Egypt.
Joseph gathered grain during years of good harvest so that Egypt could survive the years of famine. And Joseph extended this relief to his father’s family.
Genesis 45:7–8 ESV
7 And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. 8 So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt.
They moved to live in Egypt and enjoy Egypt’s provision. The future of the promise was secured, for now at least.
God’s people had blessed the nations through Joseph and the people of God had been preserved.
It’s worth noting that all 5 verbs in verse 7 mirror the language of creation. The writer again takes the reader back to Genesis and, in particular, to the cultural mandate of Genesis 1:28 and 9:7.
Genesis 1:27–28 ESV
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Genesis 9:7 ESV
7 And you, be fruitful and multiply, increase greatly on the earth and multiply in it.”
God seems to do this to demonstrate that the Hebrews in Egypt were fulfilling the command to be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth. In this respect, they were being exceedingly blessed by God


(verse 7, 9)
Exodus 1:9 ESV
9 And he said to his people, “Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us.
Exodus for You The People Threatened

The total number of those who made that original journey 400 years previously was just 70 (v 5). But now, those 70 people have become a great nation. They have “multiplied greatly”, so they fill the land (v 6–7).


(verse 8)
Exodus 1:8 ESV
8 Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.
Genesis 3:15 (our reflection verse) could easily be seen as thematic for the book of Exodus.
Genesis 3:15 ESV
15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
The scope of God’s plan and Satan’s scheming is expanding...
No longer is the enmity limited to two people—think Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, etc.—but now it is enlarged to include two peoples or nations: the covenant people of Israel in opposition to the people of Egypt who are outside the covenant.
As the book of Exodus unfolds, we will see the clash reaching phenomenal proportions. We thus see a mere glimpse of the extent of the seed conflict—that is, its universal nature.
Let’s think about some big picture elements here:
Genesis 46 clearly shows us that EVERYTHING WAS ALRIGHT.
“Do not be afraid...”
Genesis 15:13 clearly shows us that EVERYTHING WAS PLANNED.
Genesis 15:13 ESV
13 Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years.
Gen 15.14 clearly shows us that ALL SHALL BE WELL.
Genesis 15:14 ESV
14 But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions.
Essential Truths
Everything was alright
Everything was planned
All shall be well
But how is this so?
I’m fairly certain that once Pharoah began the genocidal persecution of these people, everything DID NOT SEEM ALRIGHT, EVERYTHING SEEMED OUT OF CONTROL, EVERYTHING WAS AWFUL!
These 3 essential truths abide and remain even today because GOD IS AT WORK BEHIND THE SCENES!
It should not be forgotten that it is God is in control, acting in His providence and managing history unto his own ends.
History is being played out according to his desire, will and plan!
Remember that during this difficult, challenging, and polarizing season! Don’t get all hot and bothered about temporary things…let the peace of Christ rule and reign in your life!
Get worked up about people who are near you but far from Jesus!
Get worked up about living in the Word so the Word can live into you.
Get worked up about your relationship with Jesus so that your salvation works itself out of every nook and cranny of your life!
GOD IS AT WORK…and He is working all things for His glory.
One of the notes from our Essential Doctrines we cover in The Gospel Project reminds us of what we learn in Isaiah 55; that:
His thoughts and ways are higher than ours. He has a larger perspective, and purposes everything that happens for our ultimate good and His glory.  God’s transcendence is, in many ways, what makes God God.  God is different than us. God is above us. God is superior to us. So let us respond to Him with awe and wonder as the only one worthy of all honor, praise and glory forever.
In one sense, of course, God does everything for his glory. In his famous “Dissertation Concerning the End for Which God Created the World,” Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758) wrote, “The great end of God’s works, which is so variously expressed in Scripture, is indeed but ONE; and this one end is most properly and comprehensively called THE GLORY OF GOD.”17
The chief end of God is to glorify himself in all he is and all he does. But this is especially true of the exodus. One of the most glorious things God ever did was to save his people out of Egypt. The exodus was for His glory.
Later on the psalmist would sing, “When our fathers were in Egypt … he saved them for his name’s sake, to make his mighty power known” (Ps. 106:7, 8).


Here, in these introductory verses to Exodus, we see a people who are plentiful, powerful, but are about to face down a peril they couldn’t dream of.
I wonder if you see the parallel.
The problems, heartaches, disappointments, sufferings, sadness, sicknesses of this present age certainly make us worry that things are not okay…they are out of control...
But those problems didn’t just begin…like that pesky, wiry Bermuda grass; it goes all the way back.
Man’s sin started in the Garden of perfection not a Den of isolation.
We may think are POWERFUL…but we are wrong!
God, the creator of all things, has always existed, and He is holy.
Genesis 1:1 ESV
1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
1 John 1:5 ESV
5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
We may think we have PLENTY and ABUNDANCE…we say “I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.” (Rev 3:17)
All people are sinners who deserve God’s righteous, eternal wrath.
Mark 9:48 ESV
48 ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’
Romans 3:10–19 ESV
10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” 13 “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” 14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” 15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 in their paths are ruin and misery, 17 and the way of peace they have not known.” 18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” 19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God.
Revelation 14:11 ESV
11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”
Jesus Christ, who is fully God and fully man, lived a sinless life, died on the cross to bear God’s wrath in the place of all who would believe in him, and rose from the grave in order to give his people eternal life.
John 1:1 ESV
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Romans 3:21–26 ESV
21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
1 Corinthians 15:20–22 ESV
20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.
2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV
21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
1 Timothy 2:5 ESV
5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
Hebrews 7:26 ESV
26 For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.
The only way to be saved from eternal punishment and be reconciled to God is to repent of sin and trust in Jesus Christ for salvation.
Mark 1:15 ESV
15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
Acts 20:21 ESV
21 testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
All can be well...
Everything for our rescue and redemption was planned before the foundation of the world.
In spite of the suffering, and the impending arrival of a gift-wrapped handbasket for the world in the coming months…
Everything can be alright...
So let the storm clouds rage high, The dark clouds rise, They don't worry me; For I'm sheltered safe within the arms of God. He walks with me, And naught of earth can harm me, Sheltered safe, within the arms of God.
Let’s stand together.
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