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The Great Rescue: Part 2

Line of camels with people on them wandering through the Promised Land desert with the words "The Great Rescue: Part 2" in the sky
Line of camels with people on them wandering through the Promised Land desert with the words "The Great Rescue: Part 2" in the sky

Exodus is a book of rescue. It picks up where Genesis left off– with Abraham’s family, God’s chosen people, safe in Egypt. God had promised Abraham that his family would become a mighty nation, and in Egypt, God shows Himself faithful. He grows Abraham’s descendants into a nation of millions. Soon, the Egyptians feel threatened by their numbers and cruelly enslave them. Pharaoh orders the Egyptians to be ruthless and harsh with God’s people– forcing God’s people to do back-breaking manual labor and murdering their male babies for population control. 

God’s people are suffering.

God hears their cries, they break His heart, and He begins His plan to rescue them from the evil kingdom. The God of the universe introduces Himself to a man, Moses, and calls him to be the leader of His people and His spokesperson before Pharaoh. Reluctant at first, Moses agrees. As he grows to know God, this former shepherd boldly proclaims God’s words to the ancient world’s most powerful ruler– “Let my people go!”

But Pharaoh has no intention of letting God’s people go. After nine miraculous, disastrous plagues that make a mockery of Egypt’s gods, God brings one final, devastating plague– the death of Egypt’s firstborn sons– to convince Pharaoh to release His people from their bondage. The angel of death passes over the land, sparing God’s people as their homes are covered in blood. But in the morning, it’s a sad day in Egypt. The Egyptian’s firstborn sons are dead. Pharaoh, grief-stricken and broken–his son has died too–let’s God’s people go.

God leads the Hebrews out of Egypt, and provides food, water, and protection for them as they trudge through the barren desert.

Years before, God had promised Abraham that a certain plot of land would belong to his family. But before God leads His nation back to their home, the Promised Land, they need to learn more about who He is and how to live. At Mount Sinai, God gives them instructions that will guide them to real, true life, as well as instructions on how to make the tabernacle, His dwelling place among them. The Book of Leviticus records these guidelines.

The book of Numbers tells of a scouting trip to the Promised Land, and how–despite what God had done for them in Egypt–God’s people doubt His ability to help them defeat the powerful people living in their promised home. Because of their disbelief, God is hurt. He knows that the journey to conquer the Promised Land is going to be a treacherous one, and that their trust in Him will be crucial. So He keeps His people in the desert for 40 years so they can learn more about who He is and how to trust Him.

Forty hard years later, after the next generation has grown up, Moses reminds them of God’s faithfulness and of His guidelines for how to live.

The book of Deuteronomy records his messages to them. Then Moses the great leader dies at the edge of the Promised Land and is buried by God Himself. Joshua assumes the leadership position, and through miraculous battles and God’s perfectly timed provision, the Hebrews drive out most of the people living in the Promised Land. Abraham’s family has finally come home.

 It’s a long…hard… road… to undo what evil has done, but God is steadfast and unwavering, driven by His great love. God is faced with the situation where His people need to be set free, not only from their physical captivity, but from their spiritual captivity too. Evil has damaged everyone’s ability to see, know, and trust Him. He must teach His people what they have lost. Through miracles and wonders and the events of everyday life, God not only rescues His people, but He shows Himself to them. He is the Great Pursuer, a mighty Hero, and a valiant Warrior–One worthy of their hearts and trust. But as God pursues His people, will His people respond to His pursuit? Will they learn to love and follow Him?

In case you missed it, read Part 1: In the Beginning here!