Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, May 21, 2012 0 comments

For three of my four years in college, I ate in the cafeteria. (I much prefer people preparing my food for me rather than doing it myself!) My friends and I had a joke that whenever a large group of people was leaving, such as when class time was approaching, there was a “mass exodus” from the cafeteria. Many students would take their trash and dishes to where they needed to go all at one time and all leave at once.

Biblically, the term exodus refers to when the people of Israel left the oppression they faced in Egypt, around the year 1200 B.C. It’s also the name of the second book of the Bible, where those events are recorded.

The exodus is an extremely important part of Israel’s history. Long before it, a guy named Joseph was taken into slavery in Egypt. He worked his way up from being a slave and spending time in prison to eventually become second in command of all of Egypt! When there was a severe lack of food in the Joseph’s homeland, his entire family - including all 11 brothers - was invited to come live in Egypt. That’s the short story of how the people of Israel came to be living in Egypt.

Naturally, that many families will multiply and multiply until after a few generations they grew quite numerous! Because of that, and since Joseph was long since dead, the ruler of Egypt at that time made all of the Israelites into slaves. The people were treated severely and oppressed for many years. Finally, a guy named Moses came along and God called him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. By this point in time, it is estimated that the Israelites numbered around 2 million people, so that was no small task!

Of course, the ruler of Egypt didn’t want to just let that many slaves walk away, so he refused to let them leave. Moses asked God what he was supposed to do, and God sent plagues onto Egypt to try and convince the ruler. Finally, after the 10th plague - which included killing the firstborn of each household - the ruler consented. The night of that 10th plague was the first observance of the Jewish holiday of Passover. The Israelites were to kill a young, perfect lamb and put its blood on their door frame to have the angel of death pass them over and not kill their firstborn. There are many rituals concerning Passover that are still practiced today. And so began the exodus of the people of Israel out of Egypt.

There is much more to the story than that, so I’d encourage you to read these stories for yourself. The story of Joseph begins in Genesis 37, and the book of Exodus contains the narrative of the Israelites leaving Egypt and wandering in the wilderness. It also contains the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20.

So why is the word exodus important for us today? The book of the Bible called Exodus is important for two primary reasons. First, as I mentioned, it contains God’s law for us in the form of the Ten Commandments. These laws still apply to us today and we need to follow them to the best of our abilities. Second, the event of the Passover which began the exodus from Egypt is a foretelling of what Jesus Christ would do for us. He was that perfect lamb that was killed so that we might be ‘passed over’ and saved from our sins.