To know the story of Exodus and God’s people is to recognize it as our own:

He draws us out to draw us in. 

Through this series, we hope to learn the story of Exodus, grow in our awe and worship of God and celebrate the One who draws us out of our sin and draws us into relationship with Him.

Before Exodus: A summary of Genesis

The first book of the Bible, Genesis, begins with a description of God creating the universe. Everything He made—from land to light to vegetation to animals—He called “good.” Only when God created man and woman was creation deemed “very good” and complete. Adam and Eve lived in the garden of Eden and had dominion over creation. But it didn’t take long for the peace of Eden to shatter.

Sin entered the world and changed everything. Mankind became separated from God, banished from paradise. Nothing would be the same. As mankind multiplied, they filled the earth and corrupted it. God brought His judgment upon earth, wiping out mankind with a flood and using the family of Noah to start anew. The Lord had a plan of redemption, and He would carry it out.

Generations passed, and the father of a future people, Abraham, was born. Abraham settled in Haran, where he received a promise from God. The promise was this: God would make Abraham and his offspring into a great nation, and they would one day dwell in the Promised Land. Abraham then moved his family to Canaan, but when a time of drought and famine hit, he brought them to Egypt.
Years passed, and Abraham had a son, Isaac, and Isaac had a son, named Jacob. Now Jacob had 12 sons, but the youngest, Joseph, was his favorite. Joseph's brothers, in their jealousy, sold Joseph into slavery. But the Lord gave Joseph favor with the pharaoh of Egypt, and Joseph rose to power in the royal palace. And when famine ravaged the land of Canaan, Joseph’s family came to Egypt, seeking food and provisions, and Joseph forgave his brothers.

So the house of Jacob remained in Egypt, and Joseph lived 110 years. But before he breathed his last, Joseph reminded the people of God’s promise to draw them out of Egypt and into the Promised Land.

Exodus Timeline

More than 400 years passed from the time God made His promise to Abraham, and the Israelites still had not seen its fulfillment. A new pharaoh—one who knew nothing of Joseph or God’s promises—ruled over Egypt. The Egyptians feared the Hebrews, that they would grow into a mighty nation and overtake them, so they forced them to work as slaves. Day after day, the Israelites worked in the heat of the sun and sand, the taskmasters whipping their backs, sweat stinging their wounds. But the nation of Israel continued to grow.

Exodus Timeline

One day, Pharaoh sent out a terrible decree: Every son born to the Israelites would be thrown into the Nile River. But a Levite couple defied this order. When they could no longer hide their baby boy, the mother placed him in a basket and into the river, trusting God’s will for his life.

Exodus Timeline

And God did have a plan for the child. Pharaoh’s daughter found the basket, caught in the reeds beside the river. She took pity on the crying baby and decided to take him in as her own child. She named him “Moses” because he was drawn out of the water.

Exodus Timeline

The years went by, and Moses grew into a man within the walls of the palace. But when he saw the suffering of his people, anger burned within him. After he witnessed an Egyptian beating an Israelite, Moses killed the man and fled Egypt to hide in the desert.

Exodus Timeline

But Moses could not escape the path God had for him. One day, he came upon a bush, consumed by flames but not burned to ash. Then the voice of God called out to Moses. God told Moses that He saw the persecution of His people and heard their cries. He promised to deliver them from slavery, and He commanded Moses to go before Pharaoh, the very man Moses had escaped from. Moses was terrified to return. But God sent Moses’ brother, Aaron, to go with him, and they obeyed.

Exodus Timeline

But Pharaoh would not listen. God had hardened his heart, and the king of Egypt would not be moved by signs and wonders. Even when Aaron’s staff transformed into a snake, slithering on the sand, Pharaoh refused to believe. So the God of the Hebrews brought down plagues upon Egypt. The water of the Nile turned to blood. Frogs, gnats & flies swarmed over every inch of land, and locusts consumed the fields. Darkness descended, blotting out the sun for days. Nine plagues in all, but Pharaoh’s heart remained hard as stone.

Exodus Timeline

To prepare for the tenth and final plague, Moses had the Israelites mark their doors with the blood of spotless lambs. That night, the Passover, the angel of death passed through the kingdom, killing the firstborn child of every Egyptian household that did not bear the mark. Not even the child of Pharaoh was spared.

Exodus Timeline

With that, Pharaoh told Moses and Aaron to take the Israelites and go. They were free. Thousands of men, women and children journeyed out toward the Promised Land. By night, a pillar of fire led the people, and by daylight, a pillar of cloud. This was the Spirit of the Lord, who did not leave the people.

Exodus Timeline

Then God warned Moses: Pharaoh and the Egyptian army were coming to recapture the Israelites. When the Israelites came to the Red Sea, they cried out in fear. Certain death awaited them on either side—the sea ahead or the chariots of the Egyptian army behind. But Moses lifted his staff to the sky, and the waters parted. The Israelites passed through the towering waves that stood like walls on each side of them, but the Egyptians—they were swallowed by the sea. God had indeed drawn His people out of bondage, out of darkness, and He would dwell with them soon.

Exodus Timeline

After fleeing Egypt and escaping Pharaoh and his army through the Red Sea, the Israelites entered the wilderness of Sin. Though they had witnessed God’s power and might in rescuing them from persecution and slavery, the people complained about their new misfortunes. Once they had had bread and meat; now they had nothing to satisfy their hunger.

Exodus Timeline

Hearing the people’s complaints, the Lord promised to sustain them, so that they would know He was their God. And the next day, the people saw tiny flakes on the ground, sweet and good to eat. They called it manna.

Exodus Timeline

Though food came daily to them, the people again complained, this time of thirst. So the Lord told Moses to strike a rock with his staff, and water gushed out. The Lord had provided yet again, and the people continued on their journey.

Exodus Timeline

Three months after their escape, the Israelites came to Mount Sinai. Moses gave the people a word from God: If they obeyed and kept God’s covenant, they would be His treasured possession, a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. And the people promised to do so.

Exodus Timeline

Three days later, the mountain shook with thunder, and lightning flashed in the sky. Moses brought the Israelites to the mountain, and the people covered their ears as a deafening sound, like a trumpet, grew louder and louder. They cried in fear of their lives. Then the Lord came down in fire and smoke and told Moses to keep the people back so they wouldn’t die from seeing Him in His true glory. When the people heard God’s voice, they grew afraid, and they asked Moses to speak with God on their behalf.

Exodus Timeline

God gave Moses many laws, including the Ten Commandments, the first being that they would have no other gods but Him. And the Israelites promised to worship the Lord alone and to keep all His laws.

Exodus Timeline

Moses spent 40 days and nights on the mountain with God. But upon his return, he found the people bowing down to an idol—a golden calf that Aaron made for them out of the jewelry they had taken from the Egyptians. They had forgotten their promise to God. In his anger, Moses broke the stone tablets on which God had inscribed the Law, burned the golden calf and atoned for the sin of the faithless. God’s wrath burned against the Israelites, and He punished them but did not destroy them altogether. He remembered His promise to make them a great nation.

Exodus Timeline

After the Israelites repented, they went to work making everything that the Lord had instructed. They built the ark of the covenant to hold the tablets of the Law. They made fine garments with precious stones for Aaron and his sons, consecrating them with oil for their service as priests.

Exodus Timeline

And they built the tabernacle, the place where God would dwell with His people. It was beautifully crafted—with gold, silver and bronze, and acacia wood, and blue and purple and scarlet linen for its curtains. They anointed the tabernacle and the altar with oil and spices and brought the ark inside the dwelling place of God.

Exodus Timeline

Then God’s glory descended and filled the tabernacle, and the people fell down and worshiped their God—Yahweh—the One who drew them out of their slavery. The One who drew them out of Egypt and drew them into His presence in the wilderness lands. And though the Israelites would continue in strife and doubt, and even disobedience, God steadfastly and compassionately drew them toward the Promised Land.

Exodus Reading Plan

Part One

Exodus 1-3 | January 11 - January 16
Exodus 3: 10-15 | January 18 - January 23
Break | January 25 - January 30

Part Two

Exodus 3:16-4:31 | February 1 - February 6
Exodus 5 | February 8 - February 13
Exodus 6 | February 15 - February 20
Exodus 7:1-9:12 | February 22 - February 27
Exodus 9:13-11:10 | March 1 - March 6

Exodus The Plagues

The 10 plagues of Egypt were acts of divine justice by God against the oppressors of His people. They demonstrated the power of the one, true God and exposed the gods that the Egyptians worshiped as false. Each plague corresponded to particular Egyptian gods and served to prove— both to the Egyptians and the Israelites—who the true Sovereign Ruler was.
PLAGUE
Water turned to blood
EGYPTIAN GOD(S)
Apis, Isis, Khnum and Osiris, gods of the Nile
EFFECT
It killed all the fish and made the water unusable, devastating the economy.
PLAGUE
Frogs
EGYPTIAN GOD(S)
Heqet, the frog goddess
EFFECT
Frogs invaded all the homes and later died. The Egyptians believed frogs to be sacred.
PLAGUE
Gnats
EGYPTIAN GOD(S)
Set, god of the desert
EFFECT
The dust of the desert turned to gnats and swarmed over everything—the first plague that the Egyptian sorcerers couldn’t duplicate.
PLAGUE
Flies
EGYPTIAN GOD(S)
Uatchit, the fly god
EFFECT
Flies swarmed the Egyptians—the first plague that didn’t also affect the Israelites.
PLAGUE
Diseased livestock
EGYPTIAN GOD(S)
Hathor and Apis, cattle gods
EFFECT
The Egyptian cattle died, devastating the economy further.
PLAGUE
Boils
EGYPTIAN GOD(S)
Sekhmet, Sunu and Isis, gods over health and disease
EFFECT
Boils covered the bodies of the Egyptians and kept the sorcerers away from the royal court.
PLAGUE
Hail
EGYPTIAN GOD(S)
Nut, the sky goddess, Osiris, the crop fertility god, and Set, the storm god
EFFECT
Hail and fire ruined the Egyptians’ land.
PLAGUE
Locusts
EGYPTIAN GOD(S)
Nut, Osiris and Set
EFFECT
The locusts devoured the Egyptian crops, preventing a harvest for that year.
PLAGUE
Darkness
EGYPTIAN GOD(S)
Re, god of the sun, also symbolic of Pharaoh himself
EFFECT
Darkness covered Egypt for three days, but the Israelite homes still had light.
PLAGUE
Death of the Egyptian firstborn sons
EGYPTIAN GOD(S)
Isis, the protector of children, and also served as judgment on Pharaoh himself
EFFECT
The angel of God killed the firstborn sons of the Egyptians but passed over the homes of the Israelites.

Exodus Tabernacle

Content and images used with permission courtesy of The Village Church.