LESSON 29 – Intro to Exodus – 400 Years Later – Exodus 1

Discussion

Overview: We broke the book of Genesis into two sections: events (creation, fall, flood and the Tower of Babel) and Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob & Joseph). Now we move on to the book of Exodus which begins the next stage in Biblical history: The Exodus Stage. It starts with the Exodus and carries through to the end of Deuteronomy. We are introduced to Moses, the author of the first 5 books of the Bible. The major events of the Exodus Stage are: deliverance of the nation ofIsraelfrom slavery inEgypt, the giving of the Law in the wilderness, the failure ofIsraelto go into the Promised Land, the 40 years of wandering and the death of Moses. The four main people in the book are Moses, Aaron, Joshua and Caleb. Exodus itself will give us a picture of Jesus’ coming redemption when the plagues occur and we will also see the patience and love that God shows to His people even in the face of their disobedience. We will see that Moses is a type of Christ and we will learn the Law and how it will drive all mankind to Jesus Christ.

  • Exodus 1. According to verse 7, what happened to the nation of Israel after the death of Joseph and his brothers? (Their population exploded, so much so that the land of Egypt was filled with Hebrews.) What does verse 8 say about a new king that arose in Egypt? (he did not know about Joseph and what the nation owed to him) Historical note: Around 1550BC the Hyksos kings of Egypt were expelled and the Egyptians once again ruled. They wanted no reminder of their previous leaders. It would not have been “politically correct” for the new dynasties to be kind to the Hebrews.) Why does the Pharaoh think the Hebrews are a problem and what does he decree? (vs. 8-14. The Israelites were so numerous it was possible that they would rise up and join Egypt’s enemies if war would come. So they made the Israelites into slaves and forced them to build storage cities for the Pharaoh. No more shepherding – they became masons and farmers! Their lives were bitter and the Egyptians were harsh in their treatment of them.) Do they start to dwindle in numbers and become less of a threat to the Pharaoh? (vs. 12 – No. The more they were oppressed, the more their numbers increased!) What new plan for the extinction of Israel does the Pharaoh come up with in verse 15-16? (The midwives, Shiphrah and Puah were to kill all boy children at birth.) Do they follow his command? (vs. 17-19. No. They feared God and not Pharaoh, so they let the boys live. They tell the Pharaoh when he demands to know what’s going on when he sees the undiminished numbers, that the women are giving birth before they can get there.) Does God punish the women for lying? (No) How does God reward the faithful midwives? (vs. 20-21 – He blessed them so they were able to have families and children of their own. What final solution does Pharaoh decree? (vs. 22 – That every boy born to the Israelites must be thrown into the Nile, but all the girls can live.)

Application

We see two kinds of fear in this story.  The Pharaoh feared the Israelites. Why? (Because he thought they were a threat to his throne – if enemies invaded, he thought they would turn against him and help overthrow him.) What actions did his fear drive him to? (Enslaving and eventually trying to murder those he feared.) His first mistake was in not finding out why the Hebrews were there in the first place. The Hebrews, through Joseph, were responsible for saving Egypt in the past and posed no threat to him. However, Pharaoh had no interest in history – he wanted power and he would not accept any threat to that power.  The midwives, on the other hand, fear also, but the object of their fear is God. Not a loss of power, prosperity or even the loss of their life.  Read Proverbs 1:7, Ps. 34:9 and Ps. 33:8-11.

  • What do these verses teach about fearing God? Ask your children when is fear bad and when is it good. Fear that is “bad” is the result of not trusting God or believing in Him.  The Pharaoh thought that he had to protect himself from the Hebrews, so he sinned against them by enslaving them and treating them cruelly. He even murdered to get what he wanted and to tried to be delivered from his fear of a takeover.  The midwives correctly believed that what God said about Himself was true – He was the all-powerful and all-knowing God – there is no other greater than He.
  • If God is so powerful, why is it that we don’t trust him like the two women of this story? They were willing to risk their lives rather than to displease God by killing the innocent children of the Israelites.  They knew that one day they would stand before God Almighty and account for their actions. The power of Pharaoh was nothing compared to the power and authority of God.  Pharaoh’s fears led him further into sin and his sin will eventually permanently harden his heart against God.
  • What or who is it that you fear? Do you fear God like the women of this story? Give up your fears of the future, or fears of rejection or fear of exposure. They are keeping you from God. Instead recognize that God’s opinion is the only one you are to worry about.  Stand firm like the midwives and God will reward you as well – with peace and joy and a guilt-free conscience.  Read Ps. 112:1,7,8a and end in prayer.

Digging Deeper

    1. The two midwives in this story committed “civil disobedience”.  Were they wrong or right in so doing? What were the risks involved? What is the role of faith play in their decision? In what areas of today’s world should we as Christians be committing civil disobedience, or should we at all? What do we risk? What are the Biblical principles that should guide our decisions? Start with Romans 13.
    2. Have you or has someone you know had an experience like the midwives?  How did you or they resist an oppressive regime or boss? What happened and what principles from the Word helped you?