A Nation Meets God: Genesis 43-Exodus 12


You can find a one-year Bible reading plan here.

Four hundred years pass, and Israel is no longer a family, or a clan, or even a tribe, but a nation of over a million people. As Halley said in his Bible Handbook, God took one man, Abraham, and from that man he raised up a family, the family of Jacob with his twelve sons, and from that family he formed the nation of Israel. The Old Testament at its heart is the story of how God grew that nation, and then from that nation took one family, the family of David, and from that family raised up one man, Jesus of Nazareth.

But that is still to come. Now God is dealing with the infant nation of Israel. The people of Israel are crying out in their slavery and oppression. The time has come for God to reveal himself to this nation, and he does so by telling them his name and by showing them his power. He will no longer be just the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He will be their God as well, a personal God, and he makes it personal by giving them his personal name. He is I AM, the self-existent, eternal, unchanging LORD or Jehovah.

God’s actions are just as important as his name in making himself known to Israel. The things he does for them, from the ten plagues to their deliverance from Egypt, demonstrate his sovereign power. He is able. There is nothing he cannot do. His actions also demonstrate his love and concern for them. He is willing. This dual nature of God became a recurring theme for the Psalmists, as in Psalm 59:16.

But I will sing of Your power;
Yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy in the morning;

This section closes with a foretelling of God’s plan of salvation for the entire world. God causes the death angel to pass over each family of Israel because of the blood of a lamb. The event becomes a yearly feast to memorialize God’s act of deliverance, but it also establishes a pattern so that years later Paul can acknowledge that “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us; therefore let us join the feast.” For us, as for the children of Israel, God is able to save. And he is willing, because he loves us. We only need to do as the Israelites did and cry out to him for deliverance.

It is a sign that the Lord is coming towards us with deliverance, when he inclines and enables us to cry to him for it. – Matthew Henry

About this blog

During 2020 I plan to post weekly writings covering the material you would read during each week as you proceed from Genesis to Revelation in one year. And so for this week I have covered Genesis 43-Exodus 12. Next week I will write about Exodus 13-Exodus 32. I hope you will continue along with me. You can find daily posts about these chapters archived here on the Bible in a Year blog. For your convenience here are the previous posts covering Genesis 43-Exodus 12.

Genesis 44 – A selfless act that changes everything

Genesis 46 – A man, a family, a nation

Genesis 50 – A word that isn’t in the Bible

Exodus 3 – The personal God

Exodus 4-6: Moses’ practical atheism

Exodus 7-9: A Hard Heart

Exodus 12: More than a baby

3 thoughts on “A Nation Meets God: Genesis 43-Exodus 12

  1. Great commentary. I enjoyed what you said here: ” He will be their God as well, a personal God, and he makes it personal by giving them his personal name. He is I AM, the self-existent, eternal, unchanging LORD or Jehovah.” This is incredible, to know that the creator of the universe, who has all power and authority, is also a gracious and compassionate Lord. Thanks for sharing!

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