In the book of Exodus we see that more than four hundred years have passed since Jacob, his sons and their families had moved into the land of Goshen, located in northern Egypt. This small group of seventy people had grown into a nation of approximately one and a half, to two million people. God through divine circumstances used their geographic separation in the land of Egypt, to build Israel into a nation of people who would become His chosen possession, His special inheritance called to a special destiny. While in the land of Goshen, God had united the people through several different means, including the rite of circumcision, a common purpose and calling of God, their common hopes and dreams regarding God's promises of a land of the their very own, and the shared experiences as the descendants of Jacob, and through their shared experience under oppression by the Pharaoh of Egypt.
Because of their size the Egyptians became afraid the descendants of Jacob would rise up against them, and forgetting what Joseph had done for the nation, the leaders and people of Egypt began to oppress the Jewish people. However, God would use these circumstances to prepare His people to become of a nation of their own and show the surrounding Gentile nations that He is the true and living God of the universe. As a result of the oppression, the people call out to God, who raises up Moses to deliver the people and bring them back into the land of Canaan. And in the process of delivering the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, God shows the surrounding Gentile nations that He alone is the true, living and sovereign God. God demonstrates His sovereignty and might, by disposing of Egypt, who was at the time the most powerful nation in that region. However, upon leaving Egypt, God's people rebel against Him and as a result, they spend forty years wandering the wilderness as God trains and builds up the people.
Therefore, God has to prepare the people to be a nation chosen unto Himself and separated to a special destiny. While in the wilderness, God does several things. First, he uses divine intervention to build confidence and trust with His people. Secondly, He introduces civil and moral laws to prevent chaos and destruction among the people. Thirdly, God gives the people memorial feasts and visual aids to remind the people of their past, present and future and to help the people remember their separation unto God as His chosen people, and their obedience to His will. And lastly, God dwells with His people by giving them the Tabernacle, which serves as a reminder to the people of His constant presence with them. Along with the Tabernacle, God also gives them the Pillar of Cloud during the day and the Pillar of Fire during the night, these protect and comfort the people. The Bible clarifies for us, that it was the Lord Jesus, who led the people in the wilderness, "The Lord went before them in a pillar of cloud by day, to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night, to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night." (Exodus 13:21)
God appears to Moses in the burning bush. Moses ask God what should he (Moses) say God's name is? Moses' rod is turned into a serpent. God makes the hand of Moses leprous then returns it to normal. Moses turns the river water into blood. Aaron is given to help Moses. God hardens Pharaoh's heart. Moses' wife Zipporah circumcises their son. Moses and Aaron once again the give God's message to Pharaoh. Pharaoh oppresses the people more who then cry out to Moses, who cries out to God.
3:1 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 3:2 And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. 3:3 Then Moses said, "I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn." 3:4 So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, "Moses, Moses" And he said, "Here I am." 3:5 Then He said, "Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground." 3:6 Moreover He said, "I am the God of your father-the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God. 3:7 And the Lord said: "I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. 3:8 "So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites. 3:9 "Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. 3:10 "Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt." 3:11 But Moses said to God, "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?" 3:12 So He said, "I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain." 3:13 Then Moses said to God, "Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they say to me, 'What is His name?' what shall I say to them?" 3:14 And God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And He said, "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.' " 3:15 Moreover God said to Moses, "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: 'The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.' 3:16 "Go and gather the elders of Israel together, and say to them, 'The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared to me, saying, "I have surely visited you and seen what is done to you in Egypt; 3:17 "and I have said I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, to a land flowing with milk and honey." ' 3:18 "Then they will heed your voice; and you shall come, you and the elders of Israel, to the king of Egypt; and you shall say to him, 'The Lord God of the Hebrews has met with us; and now, please, let us go three days' journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God.' 3:19 "But I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not even by a mighty hand. 3:20 "So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My wonders which I will do in its midst; and after that he will let you go. 3:21 "And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall be, when you go, that you shall not go empty-handed. 3:22 "But every woman shall ask of her neighbor, namely, of her who dwells near her house, articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing; and you shall put them on your sons and on your daughters. So you shall plunder the Egyptians."
4:1 Then Moses answered and said, "But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, 'The Lord has not appeared to you.' " 4:2 So the Lord said to him, "What is that in your hand?" He said, "A rod." 4:3 And He said, "Cast it on the ground." So he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it. 4:4 Then the Lord said to Moses, "Reach out your hand and take it by the tail" (and he reached out his hand and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand), 4:5 "that they may believe that the Lord God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you." 4:6 Furthermore the Lord said to him, "Now put your hand in your bosom." And he put his hand in his bosom, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous, like snow. 4:7 And He said, "Put your hand in your bosom again." So he put his hand in his bosom again, and drew it out of his bosom, and behold, it was restored like his other flesh. 4:8 "Then it will be, if they do not believe you, nor heed the message of the first sign, that they may believe the message of the latter sign. 4:9 "And it shall be, if they do not believe even these two signs, or listen to your voice, that you shall take water from the river and pour it on the dry land. And the water which you take from the river will become blood on the dry land." 4:10 Then Moses said to the Lord, "O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue." 4:11 So the Lord said to him, "Who has made man's mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? 4:12 "Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say." 4:13 But he said, "O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send." 4:14 So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses, and He said: "Is not Aaron the Levite your brother? I know that he can speak well. And look, he is also coming out to meet you. When he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. 4:15 "Now you shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth. And I will be with your mouth and with his mouth, and I will teach you what you shall do. 4:16 "So he shall be your spokesman to the people. And he himself shall be as a mouth for you, and you shall be to him as God. 4:17 "And you shall take this rod in your hand, with which you shall do the signs." 4:18 So Moses went and returned to Jethro his father-in-law, and said to him, "Please let me go and return to my brethren who are in Egypt, and see whether they are still alive." And Jethro said to Moses, "Go in peace." 4:19 And the Lord said to Moses in Midian, "Go, return to Egypt; for all the men who sought your life are dead." 4:20 Then Moses took his wife and his sons and set them on a donkey, and he returned to the land of Egypt. And Moses took the rod of God in his hand. 4:21 And the Lord said to Moses, "When you go back to Egypt, see that you do all those wonders before Pharaoh which I have put in your hand. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go. 4:22 "Then you shall say to Pharaoh, 'Thus says the Lord: "Israel is My son, My firstborn. 4:23 "So I say to you, let My son go that he may serve Me. But if you refuse to let him go, indeed I will kill your son, your firstborn." ' " 4:24 And it came to pass on the way, at the encampment, that the Lord met him and sought to kill him. 4:25 Then Zipporah took a sharp stone and cut off the foreskin of her son and cast it at Moses' feet, and said, "Surely you are a husband of blood to me" 4:26 So He let him go. Then she said, "You are a husband of blood"-because of the circumcision. 4:27 And the Lord said to Aaron, "Go into the wilderness to meet Moses." So he went and met him on the mountain of God, and kissed him. 4:28 So Moses told Aaron all the words of the Lord who had sent him, and all the signs which He had commanded him. 4:29 Then Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel. 4:30 And Aaron spoke all the words which the Lord had spoken to Moses. Then he did the signs in the sight of the people. 4:31 So the people believed; and when they heard that the Lord had visited the children of Israel and that He had looked on their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshiped.
5:1 Afterward Moses and Aaron went in and told Pharaoh, "Thus says the Lord God of Israel: 'Let My people go, that they may hold a feast to Me in the wilderness.' " 5:2 And Pharaoh said, "Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, nor will I let Israel go." 5:3 So they said, "The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please, let us go three days' journey into the desert and sacrifice to the Lord our God, lest He fall upon us with pestilence or with the sword." 5:4 Then the king of Egypt said to them, "Moses and Aaron, why do you take the people from their work? Get back to your labor." 5:5 And Pharaoh said, "Look, the people of the land are many now, and you make them rest from their labor"