The story of Exodus is one of the most beautiful pictures of Christ’s redemptive work in the whole of the Bible. Here we have the story of the Israelites, hopelessly enslaved in Egypt by a foe that is too great for them. For eighty years the Egyptians had systematically killed off their newborn males, and yet one miraculously escapes, Moses, sent down the Nile in a basket of reeds. Later God sends Moses to announce the freedom of these captive peoples and to ultimately be the person, through whom God works to actually set them free.
On the day Abraham’s descendants left Egypt, in spite of 400 years of enslavement, mistreatment, and infanticide, the Israelites departed, not as a rag tag group of slaves, but as a great nation of nearly two million people. On the first day of their freedom, Israel was a nation. Moses led the people out of Egypt and, on the way out, God totally defeated the armies of Pharaoh at the Red Sea. But even after all of the miraculous signs and all of the ways God provided for the Israelites along the way, there was still unbelief among them and, because of that they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years until finally crossing the Jordan and emerging into the Promised Land.
While all of this actually happened, it so closely mirrors Jesus’ redemptive work in our lives that it reads almost like an allegory. We also were hopelessly enslaved by our sin, but God sent Jesus on our behalf. Like Moses, the authorities tried to kill Jesus as an infant but he escaped to Egypt and ultimately returned to his people the Jews. When he returned, he preached the gospel of salvation from the power of that enslaves us all claiming “I have come to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and to set the captives free.” Jesus was baptized in the Jordan, the same river the Israelites crossed into the Promised Land, which represents our death to sin and life in Christ. Once we are saved, we also become part of a people. God didn’t save us to be independent Christians, but to be part of a nation. 1 Peter 2:9 says that the Church is that nation, God’s chosen people.
The story doesn’t end with our salvation, however. Like the Israelites, even though we have been set free and we have become part of God’s chosen people, we often still struggle with the effects of sin in our life. One pastor said, “God took you out of Egypt but he’s still working to get Egypt out of you!” The good news is that, even on the worst day, you can take confidence in knowing that, while you yet struggle, you struggle with a defeated foe. One day, when we enter the Promised Land, Jesus will make all our struggles a footstool under his feet and we will struggle no more.