Preaching Pointers from Exodus
Exodus is one of the richest and most rewarding books for preachers. The prophets and the psalms reflect its theological significance and spiritual importance through frequent references to its account. The familiarity of the narrative also makes it readily accessible for our listeners. Additionally, Exodus in many ways encapsulates the Bible’s message of redemption in a single biblical book. One of the best ways to approach preaching through any biblical book is to identify key preaching themes, preaching truths, and preaching texts.
I. Key Preaching Themes – Preaching Themes are those critical subjects that are woven throughout a biblical book. If you don’t prepare with them in mind you and your people will be frustrated by the sense of redundancy throughout the sermon series. But, when leveraged properly they can provide consistency and depth that unite your messages and help your people see the text from the author’s intended perspective. There are two primary themes to consider when preaching from the book of Exodus.
Deliverance and Freedom– The story of the exodus recounts how God delivered his people from slavery in Egypt. But the theme of deliverance occurs in multiple scenarios throughout the book. In this way, Exodus reflects the entire corpus of Scripture. It is a story of rescue and salvation. As you preach through the book, highlight the supporting concepts of deliverance that are depicted through its historical accounts with spiritual overtones. Just as the Israelites are delivered from slavery, through Christ we can experience rescue from the bondage of sin (Col 1:13). The Passover is instituted in Exodus and vividly depicts God’s means of securing our freedom, redemption through the blood of the lamb. This crucial theological concept is epitomized through the sacrifice of Christ as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn 1:29; cf. 1 Pet 1:18-19). Preaching through Exodus gives us the opportunity to proclaim the deliverance and freedom that is available through Christ for our people as they battle through their sin and struggles.
Covenant and Faithfulness– As the second book of the Torah, Exodus continues the story of God’s covenant that he established with Abraham and his descendants. The Lord’s loyalty and love is demonstrated throughout the book. His unfailing mercy is consistently proven and reminds us that God is faithful to his promises. As he repeatedly fulfills his commitments to Israel and renews his covenant, we are reminded that all of his promises to us are confirmed and fulfilled in Christ (2 Cor 1:20). God’s fidelity to his covenant also assures us that God is faithful to his people. God established the Law when they escaped from Egypt to provide guidelines for their welfare and blessing. But, Israel’s doubts, complaints, and disobedience, did not diminish God’s faithfulness to them as his people. In the same way, when we drift and disobey God’s Word, through his covenant love in Christ, “he remains faithful” (2 Tim 2:13). God’s covenant relationship with his people throughout the book of Exodus can offer the same hope and reassurance to our churches through our faith in Christ (Heb 6:17-18).
II. Key Preaching Truths – There are several doctrinal and theological truths that we should emphasize and expound while preaching through Exodus. Preaching Truths provide timeless principles for our people to embrace and apply to their lives.
God’s marvelous plan – The plot of the exodus story includes a variety of fascinating characters. From Moses, Aaron, and even Pharaoh, to less prominent characters like Jethro and Miriam, they all reveal that God has a plan for each of us. Their lives, and God’s desire to use them, can serve as an encouragement, inspiration, and caution for our people. This does not endorse moralistic “be like” sermons. But, our participation in God’s plan and his willingness to use ordinary people in profound ways parallels the author’s intention and one aspect of how the original audience would have read the account. Through obedience to God’s Word and sincere faith in him we all can experience, participate in, and fulfill God’s will.
God’s tremendous power – God’s supremacy and supernatural power are reflected throughout the book of Exodus. Familiar examples abound, like the burning bush, the ten plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, and the water from the rock. God demonstrated his tremendous power in these overwhelming ways as well as through everyday personal victories. His omnipotence prevails over the laws of nature and the obstinate hearts of men. He uses his incomparable power to glorify his name and it deserves and demands our heartfelt worship and obedience. These truths can be helpful reminders for our people of God’s limitless power and his worthiness of our service and submission.
God’s miraculous providence – One of the most important theological truths revealed in Exodus is God’s active involvement in our world and circumstances. God is providentially orchestrating the timing and sequencing of events, working in the lives of people, and using their experiences to accomplish his purposes. We can assure our people that God is fully aware and actively involved in our world just as he was working through the context of Israel’s slavery, their deliverance, their wandering in the wilderness, and their preparation to inhabit the promised land. Not only was he at work in the collective plan of redemption for his people, he also was providentially active in protecting, calling, and training Moses. He worked through his personal life circumstances, his obedience and failures, as well as his prayers and petitions. God’s miraculous providence can also be affirmed in our people’s personal contexts and circumstances. He continues to work on behalf of his people and through their obedience and prayers to accomplish his redemptive purposes and plans.
God’s generous provision – Throughout the narrative God’s benevolent goodness towards his people is apparent. God provides for their physical needs through the provision of manna and quail. He provides for their directional guidance in the fire by night and the cloud by day. He provides for their moral wisdom through the provision of the Law. He provides a place of worship for his presence to dwell with the tabernacle and the ark of the covenant. Ultimately, he provided for their spiritual needs as evidenced by the Passover lamb that foreshadowed the greatest gift, the sacrifice of his Son. Exodus is a story that magnifies God’s generous grace!
III. Key Preaching Texts – The length of Old Testament narratives have inherent challenges for preachers that sometimes can be overcome by consolidating chapters or focusing on key passages. There are many great preaching texts in Exodus, but here are a twelve in particular that cannot be overlooked!
Exodus 2:1-10 – The Birth of Moses
Exodus 3:1-6 – The Burning Bush
Exodus 3:7-4:17 – The Commissioning of Moses
Exodus 12:1-13 – The Passover
Exodus 14:1-31 – Crossing the Red Sea
Exodus 16:1-36 – Manna from Heaven
Exodus 18:1-26 – Lessons in Leadership
Exodus 20:1-21 – The Ten Commandments
Exodus 32:1-35 – The Golden Calf
Exodus 33:12-23 – Moses’ Intercession
Exodus 34:1-35 – Encounter with God
Exodus 40:1-38 – The Place Where Glory Dwells
About: Dr. Scott Pace serves as the Associate Professor of Applied Ministry at Oklahoma Baptist University. Dr. Scott Pace joined the Herschel H. Hobbs College of Theology and Ministry as the Jewell and Joe L. Huitt Assistant Professor of Applied Ministry in 2009. In the fall of 2011, he was named the Reverend A.E. and Dora Johnson Hughes Chair of Christian Ministry. In 2014 he was awarded the “Promising Teacher Award” for excellence and demonstrated potential, the highest honor a junior faculty member can receive. In 2015 he received promotion to Associate Professor and was granted Senior Faculty Status as well. Pace also serves as the Chair of the Christian and Cross-Cultural Ministry Department.