Pastor James J. Barker

Text: EXODUS 1:1-22


  1. Each separate book of the Bible has a prominent and dominant theme. 
  2. The theme of the first book of the Bible is “beginning.”  “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).
  3. Therefore, the book of Genesis is the book of beginnings.  Next, we come to the book of Exodus, the book of redemption. 
  4. The Scofield Study Bible says this about the book of Exodus, “EXODUS, ‘going out,’ records the redemption out of Egyptian bondage of the descendants of Abraham, and sets forth, in type, all redemption. It is therefore peculiarly the book of redemption.”
  5. Historically, the book of Exodus deals with the deliverance of Israel from Egypt. But viewed doctrinally, it deals with redemption.
  6. The first six chapters of Exodus reveal the need for redemption. The people of Israel were in bondage in Egypt.
  7. Israel in Egypt is a picture of where we were before God saved us by His grace.
  8. Egypt symbolizes the world, according to the course of which we all walked in time past.
  10. Pharaoh, who defied God, was the inveterate enemy of God’s people, and was eventually overthrown by God.  He is a picture and type of our great adversary, the Devil.
  11. The cruel bondage of the enslaved Hebrews pictures the tyrannical dominion of sin over its captives.
  12. Merrill Unger said, “Typically, Pharaoh becomes a picture of Satan, the enslaved Israelites become pictures of sinners, and their hard labor becomes a picture of the wages of sin” (Unger’s Commentary on the OT)
  13. Moses is introduced to us in Exodus 2, and he is a picture and type of our Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ.
  14. The Passover pictures the security of the believer beneath the atoning blood of God’s sacrificial Lamb.  Exodus 12:13 says, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you.”
  15. The exodus from Egypt pictures our deliverance from the yoke of bondage, as well as our separation from the world.
  16. The journey through the wilderness, with all of its trials and testings, represent the experiences of our pilgrim course.
  17. Psalm 78:19 says, “Yea, they spake against God; they said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?”
  18. Yes, God can!



  1. Back in Genesis 12:2, the Lord said to Abraham, “And I will make of thee a great nation.”
  2. Later on, the Lord said to Abraham’s grandson Jacob, “I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins” (Gen. 35:11).
  3. Jacob died in Egypt. His death is recorded in Genesis 49:33, and his burial in the land of Canaan is recorded in the last chapter of the book of Genesis.
  4. Then, in the very last verse in the book of Genesis we read that Joseph also died in Egypt (50:26).
  5. The Israelites carried Joseph’s bones with them into the Promised Land with them, and buried them there (Exodus 13:19; Joshua 24:32).
  6. The first six verses of Exodus connect it with the book of Genesis (cf. Genesis 50:26; Ex. 1:6).
  7. When Joseph was alive, the Egyptians treated the children of Israel very well (cf. Genesis 41:39-46; 47:5, 6).
  8. However, Joseph died and the new Pharaoh did not know Joseph (Exodus 1:8).  He felt no gratitude or indebtedness to the children of Israel. 
  10. Joseph saved Egypt from seven years of famine, but this new Pharaoh knew nothing about that.
  11. We have a new generation now that does not know anything about the Bible, or the great hymns of the faith, or anything about our Christian heritage.
  13. We have to reach them with the Gospel of Christ.
  14. We have to teach them the Word of God.
  15. Pharaoh did not turn the Israelites into slaves right away.  Their bondage was gradual (1:9-14).
  16. Sinners do not go into bondage to sin overnight.  They gradually develop bad habits, and eventually these sinful habits enslave them.
  17. Many of the bums on the Bowery started out as respectable businessmen and working men who drank liquor in moderation.
  18. Perhaps just a beer after work.  Or some wine with their dinner.   But soon they became drunkards.
  19. The Bible says, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise” (Proverbs 20:1).
  20. Most prostitutes and drug addicts and gamblers never dreamed they would end up in bondage to sin.
  21. The Egyptians were hard taskmasters (1:11), but the devil is the hardest taskmaster of all!
  22. Way back in Genesis 15:13, the LORD told Abraham, “Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years.”
  23. This prophecy was fulfilled in the book of Exodus.  The Israelites were strangers in Egypt.  They were slaves to the Egyptians, and they were afflicted (cf. Ex. 1:11, 12).
  24. Pharaoh was “pro-choice” way before it became popular.  He instructed the Hebrew midwives to murder all the Israelite boys (1:15, 16, 22).
  25. Satan was behind the program to destroy the Jews.  The devil wanted to cut off the Messianic line right from the beginning when he inspired Cain to kill Abel.
  26. The devil inspired wicked Athaliah, the mother of Ahaziah, to destroy all the seed royal of the house of Judah (II Chron. 22:10).
  27. But not all the seed royal.  God saw to it that little Joash was safe, because the Lord Jesus Christ was descended from King Joash.
  28. “But Jehoshabeath, the daughter of the king, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him from among the king’s sons that were slain, and put him and his nurse in a bedchamber. So Jehoshabeath, the daughter of king Jehoram, the wife of Jehoiada the priest, (for she was the sister of Ahaziah,) hid him from Athaliah, so that she slew him not” (II Chron. 22:11).
  29. We see the devil’s murderous plan all throughout the Bible.  Jesus said in John 8:44 that the devil was a murderer from the beginning.
  30. In the book of Esther we read about wicked Haman, who sought to destroy all the Jews in the kingdom of Media-Persia (Esther 3:6).
  31. Later on, Herod slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under (Matt. 2:16).
  32. But despite all of the Hamans and Herods and Hitlers, God has preserved the nation of Israel.
  33. Genesis 12: 3 says, “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”


II. THE FEAR OF GOD (1:17, 21).

  1. “But the midwives feared God…” (1:17-22). 
  2. One of the great themes of the Bible is the fear of God.  Psalm 111:10 says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.”
  3. Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.”
  4. Proverbs 8:13 says, “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil.”
  5. Proverbs 16:6 says, “by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.”
  6. Pharaoh’s command to kill all the Jewish baby boys was evil. The Hebrew midwives feared God and hated evil, and so they ignored his wicked commandment (Exodus 1:17).
  7. Acts 5:29 says, “We ought to obey God rather than men.”
  8. Proverbs 19:23 says, “The fear of the LORD tendeth to life.” – Life, not death.
  9. Acts 9:31 says, “Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.”
  10. Churches that fear God truly enjoy the blessings of God. 
  11. Pharaoh did not fear God. CH Mackintosh said Pharaoh “could accurately recount the various contingencies of human affairs – the multiplying of the people, the falling out of war, their joining with the enemy, their escape out of the land. All these circumstances he could, with uncommon sagacity, put into the scale; but it never once occurred to him that God could have anything whatever to do in the matter. Had he only thought of this, it would have upset his entire reasoning, and have written folly upon all his schemes.”
  12. Yes, it never once occurred to Pharaoh that God could have anything whatever to do in the matter.
  13. In Romans 3, the apostle Paul gives God’s guilty verdict upon wicked mankind – “Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Rom. 3:13-18).



  1. Another one of the great themes of the Bible is the providence of God.  By divine providence, we mean the “widespread care and supervision which God exercises over His created universe” (ISBE).
  2. My favorite definition of Divine Providence is from the Westminster Confession of Faith (1646):

“God the great Creator of all things does uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things, from the greatest even to the least, by His most wise and holy providence, according to His infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of His own will, to the praise of the glory of His wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and mercy.”

  1. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
  2. Isaiah 46:10 says, “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.”
  3. We see the providence of God in the life of Joseph (cf. Genesis 45:5-8; 50:20).
  4. And we see the providence of God in the birth of Moses (Ex. 2:5).
  5. The ISBE says, “The whole life-history of Moses as it is found in the Pentateuch is a study in the doctrine of divine providence.”
  6. Psalm 37:23 says, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.”
  7. Moses could not even walk yet but God was ordering his steps.  And his mother’s steps.  And his sister’s steps.  And Pharaoh’s daughter’s steps (Exodus 2:1-10).
  8. William Shakespeare said, “There’s a divinity that shapes our ends, Rough-hew them how we will.”
  9. Ephesians 1:11 says God “worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.”  It was God’s plan to raise up Moses to deliver Israel from their bondage in Egypt.
  10. Therefore, God would providentially see to it that Moses would not be cast into the river and drowned (Ex. 1:17).
  11. Exodus 2 does not tell us the names of Moses’ parents or his sister.  We learn from Exodus 6:20 that Moses’ parents’ names were Amram and Jochebed, and we read in Exodus 15:20 that his sister’s name was Miriam.
  12. Ephesians 1:11 says God “worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.”  God worked it all out so that Moses’ mother was still able to nurse him (2:6-10).
  13. And on top of that she even got paid for doing it (2:9).
  14. When you are submissive to the will of God, you can be sure that God is going to work everything out.
  15. There may be times when it does not seem that way, but God’s word is true (cf. Ex. 3:11, 12).
  16. Ephesians 1:11 says God “worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.”   God is still working all things out.  We can be sure of that.  Our Lord said in John 5:17, “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.”



  1. Is God working in your life?
  2. Do you recognize the providential hand of God at work?

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