BibleProject Torah Series - Lesson 4

The Book of Exodus (Part 2) - BibleProject Torah Series

In this lesson, Jon and Tim discuss the book of Exodus, which is the story of Israel's rescue from slavery in Egypt and their covenant with God at Mount Sinai. The first half of Exodus tells the story of Israel's rescue, while the second half is about God's covenant with Israel and the construction of the tabernacle as a place for God's presence. The concept of God's presence is central to the book of Exodus, as it is the restoration of relationship and access to God's presence that God promised Abraham. The covenant between God and Israel is like a legal agreement, and Israel is asked to obey a set of laws, including the Ten Commandments. If they obey, they will become a kingdom of priests who will represent God to the nations of the world. However, obeying these laws is difficult, and the people of Israel struggle to maintain their relationship with God. Despite this, God remains faithful to his promises and chooses to stay with his people. The book of Exodus is significant in the Old Testament as it emphasizes the themes of covenant, law, redemption, and deliverance. In Christian life, the lesson emphasizes God's faithfulness, obedience and trust in God's commandments, and the presence of God in our lives.

Taught by a Team
Taught by a Team
BibleProject Torah Series
Lesson 4
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The Book of Exodus (Part 2) - BibleProject Torah Series

BP110-04 - The Book of Exodus - Part 2 of 2

I. Exodus - Rescue from Slavery and Covenant with God

A. Exodus Story and Second Half of Exodus

B. God's Presence at Sinai and Covenant with Israel

1. Covenant as a Unique Legal Agreement

2. Laws and Commandments to Obey

3. Israel as a Kingdom of Priests and a Blessing to Nations

C. Construction of Tabernacle as a Place for God's Presence

1. Detailed Architectural Blueprints

2. Story of Moses and the Golden Calf

3. Moses Unable to Enter Tabernacle

II. Significance of Exodus in the Old Testament

A. Historical and Theological Importance

B. Covenant and Law in the Old Testament

C. Redemption and Deliverance in the Old Testament

III. Application to Christian Life

A. God's Faithfulness and Our Relationship with Him

B. Obedience and Trust in God's Commandments

C. The Presence of God in Our Lives

  • This lesson provides a comprehensive understanding of Genesis Part 1, exploring creation, the fall, and early humanity, while examining key figures and events in biblical history.
  • In the second part of Genesis, you'll explore the story of Abraham's family and witness how God works through their dysfunction to fulfill His promises, ultimately turning their evil actions into good and using them to restore humanity.
  • You will gain a comprehensive understanding of the Book of Exodus, which tells the story of Moses leading Israel out of slavery in Egypt through the ten plagues and the Passover meal. Despite their salvation, the Israelites struggle in the desert, but God provides for them. The book's significance lies in its contribution to liberation theology and foreshadowing of Christ's redemption.
  • You will gain insight into the book of Exodus, its significance in the Old Testament, and its application to Christian life, emphasizing the themes of covenant, law, redemption, deliverance, God's faithfulness, and the presence of God in our lives.
  • You will learn about the book of Leviticus as a solution to the problem of living near God's holiness. Leviticus shows how Israelites can live near God's goodness without being destroyed through rituals, priesthood, and purity laws. The Day of Atonement is the center of the book, where the priests take two goats - one is killed and its blood symbolically covers Israel's sin, while the other, the Scapegoat, carries away the sins of Israel. Leviticus shows Israel's God as totally different from other gods in ancient times, providing a clear way for Israel to know they are forgiven and safe to live near His presence.

BP110-04 - The Book of Exodus - Part 2 of 2

Jon: The first half of the book of Exodus tells the story of ancient Israel being rescued from slavery. And when people say 'the Exodus story' those are the chapters they're referring to.

Tim: But the book has a second half where Moses gives the Ten Commandments to Israel along with these instructions about building a sacred tent.

Jon: And what links these two halves together is this crucial story: the people of Israel, they're out in the middle of nowhere, they find themselves at the foot of this mountain called Sinai. And here God's presence comes dramatically down the form of a violent storm cloud.

Tim: Now let's stop a second and talk about this concept of God's presence because it is really important for the rest of the book. At the beginning of the Bible, in the Garden of Eden, humanity was in God's presence they had this close relationship with Him and it was good. But humanity rebels and the relationship is fractured and access to God's presence is lost. But God promised Abraham that he would restore His blessing to all of the nations and that includes this restoration of relationship and access to God's presence. 

Jon: So here at Sinai, God's presence is now right here in front of them and it's actually quite frightening. And He's here to invite Israel into this unique and close relationship with Him. 

Tim: The word used to describe this relationship is 'Covenant'. It's like a legal agreement between God and Israel. And it's unique because up till now God hasn't asked Israel to do anything in return. ..... just to trust Him. But here on this mountain God is going to ask Israel to do something...... a lot of things actually. He gives them a whole set of laws it includes the Ten Commandments, and if they obey these commandments they will become the people who will represent God to the nations of the world. 

Jon: Like a priest would...

Tim: Yeah, in fact that is what God calls them to become, 'A kingdom of priests. And this is all connected back to the promise to Abraham that his family would become a blessing to the nations.

Jon: Okay, but obeying these laws is going to be difficult

because there's a lot of them and they set really high standard.

Tim: Though if you think about it, I mean of anybody in the world who should be able to do it, it is these people who experienced first-hand God's grace and his power when He rescued them from slavery.

Jon: And they agree to obey the terms but then they refuse to go into God's presence because it's still a bit frightening. 

Tim: And since the people won't go up, Moses goes up to the mountain by himself to meet with God. But God still wants to be with all of His people, and so he says... Okay if the people won't come up here to me I'll come down off this mountain to be with you all. And that's why he orders Moses to build this elaborate tent as a place where God's presence can be among his people.

Jon: And that's why the next thing we get is seven chapters of extremely detailed architectural blueprints for this tent. It's really, really ... really long

Tim: But every details important and has some kinda symbolic value. For example there is all this garden of Eden imagery inside the tent and it is to remind you that when you're in the tent you are in God's presence.

Jon: Then we get another six chapters describing how they built the tent which is really just repeating the same blueprints word-for-word.

Tim: Now, let's back up because before the tent is finished there's this super important story. Moses is coming off the mountain with the Ten Commandments and the blueprints in his hands and he finds Israel breaking the first two commands of the Covenant.

Jon: (1) Don't have any other gods before me and (2) Don't worship idol statues. 

Tim: Right. And so here we are immediately after agreeing to the Covenant they're throwing this ritual party. They're worshipping an idol. And so God says to Moses, you know what, this is not going to work. I should just wipe these people out and start over with you.

Jon: But Moses reminds God of his promise to Abraham and he pleads with God to spare them, which is a really weird conversation, why would God need to be reminded of something?

Tim: Yeah it does seem odd. But this dialogue is inviting us into God's experience of grief and pain due to Israel's actions. And he really could walk away. But instead this God chooses faithfulness to His own promises even though He knows it's going to cost Him. 

Jon: So we come to the end of the book. The tabernacle is built. God's presence comes down off the mountain to fill it. And in the final scene Moses goes to enter the tabernacle to be in God's presence...

Tim: But he can't. He is actually not able to go inside and that's how the book ends.

Jon: Why can't he go in? That was the whole point.

Jon: So when Israel worshiped the golden calf it was like a slap in the face to God's faithfulness. And so Moses can't just waltz into the tent like everything's just fine. There's a deeper problem still in this relationship. 

Jon: Will they ever be able to fix the relationship and go into God's presence?

Tim: Well that is what the next book, Leviticus, is all about.