At the end of chapter 17 in Exodus is a short story of Israel’s engagement in battle against Amalek and his forces. As strange as it sounds, somehow Moses discovered that when he raised his rod, the Israelites began to win in the battle, and when he lowered it they began to loose. I wonder if Moses caught on to God using him and his rod, probably everywhere he went he took that rod, you never know when God would ask him to use it. God turned it in to snakes and back in to a rod before Pharaoh, He used it to part the Red Sea, He used it to bring water out of a rock, and now to be victorious over the enemy. Perhaps our modern equivalent to Moses’s rod is the memorized and spoken Word of God. We lean on it and God uses us as we use it (the scriptures) in obedience to Him.
The People of Israel were slaves in Egypt for 430 years until they were rescued by God. They were the offspring of Jacob who’s son Joseph was at one time 2nd in command of all of Egypt (Genesis 41:39-45). After Joseph died and all the descendents of his fther lived in Egypt a new king eventually came to power who did not respect God’s people, the Israelites (Exodus 1:8-11). The Jews were not ruled fairly, we find one account in Exodus where their quota for bricks increased but their resources to do so were removed (Exodus 5:6-9). The Israelite enslavement in Egypt is similar to our enslavement to sin and the weight that rests on every person’s shoulders until he is redeemed by God (Rom 6:23, Jhn 8:34).
The culture of Egypt was that of carnality, materialism, idolatry, and polytheism. This is the exact opposite of the culture that God desires us to live in (Rom 12:2). The culture of Egypt had worn off on the Egyptians; they adopted the ways of the world and trusted in man instead of God. Like the Israelites of Exodus we were born in to slavery (of sin) we have no say in it and it plays no favorites (Rom 3:23, 5:18-19). Because of Adam and Eve’s choice we suffer. Some people see this as unfair on God’s part, but on the contrary it shows His unswerving character which holds to His agreements. God clearly informed Adam and Eve what not to do yet they did it anyway (Genesis 2:16,17). When He says something, He means it. It also serves as an example of how our decisions affect others mainly our own children. Your life is not an isolated set of events, the choices you make effect who you are which then effect friends, family, and later generations.
Passover is a Jewish holiday that is still observed to this day. The first Passover was the night before the Israelites left Egypt (Exodus 12). God gave the instructions to Moses who then delivered them to the people. Each household was to acquire a spotless lamb, cook it, and eat it. The blood from the lamb was to be smeared on the outside of their house’s doorpost. Interestingly enough the Passover is the only Jewish holiday that Jesus is recorded to of observing. This is significant because the Passover Lamb and blood is symbolic of Jesus as the Lamb of God that was killed to take away the sin of the world (John 1:29) and who’s blood is applied to each believer (1Peter 1:18-19). On the night of the Passover all 1st borns of every household died if there was no blood on the doorpost, this is symbolic of the spiritual death one encounters if they are not covered by the blood of Christ (John 3:16). Without it, their sins are not atoned for and they are not washed clean.
At the beginning of Exodus 12 God told Moses that he and his people were to have their own calendar separate from that of the Egyptians and that their calendar was to start with the month in which they left Egypt. When we first confessed our sins to God and accepted Him as Lord and Savior of our life our new life began at that moment. It’s important to draw the distinction between your old life and what is now your new life as a Christian. Your testimony is how God brought you to the place of decision and gave you your new life. In Deuteronomy 5:14-15 God says that the Sabbath is a day of rest so that you will remember that God has delivered you from slavery and labor. It’s important to remember where you came from so that you will always be grateful for God’s saving grace and working hand in your life. When we forget what God has saved us from and where He has taken us we become complacent and apathetic towards God. Make sure to take time and look back and acknowledge what God has done.
This is a chart I made a while back as I studied the story of Israel with a different lens, that of typology. It brings to life the many stories and records in the Old Testament that may have seemed dull or strange (not that The Exodus was either).
The Law and the Old Testament records are like a teacher that was hired by God to teach the Jews to anticipate a King to come and to teach depravity and necessity of a savior.