(this transcript has been lightly edited for readability)
Where Genesis ends on a high point, Exodus begins at a low point. The people that God has placed His heart on are now in slavery. I would subtitle Exodus: “Slavery, Rescue, And Restoration.”
Again, the redemptive story is picked up powerfully here because what you learn in Exodus is God is willing to unleash His mighty power for the rescue of His people. That predicts what God is going to do through all the rest of the redemptive story because here's how the story goes. God will harness the forces of nature; He will control the events of human history; He will actually control the rise and fall of kings and princes; He will move the story by His power, so that at just the right moment, the Redeemer will come and will deliver us from the ultimate slavery, not a national slavery to a cruel nation, but slavery to sin--the one slavery that politics or education or government can't break. What a finger-pointing to where the story is going is the whole narrative of Exodus--the drama of slavery and suffering, the picture of redeeming blood of God who does unthinkable, magnificent things just because He loves His people.
There's another theme; it's the theme of God's Law. It’s really important to understand, as you will encounter God's Law in your study of Scripture, to know the place of God's Law. Remember, the Law is given after God has redeemed His people from Egypt, now that's important. You see, the Law was never ever meant as a means of those people achieving God's acceptance. They were now liberated from their slavery because they were already the objects of His love. They’re objects of His rescuing grace. Now He gives them His Law, the Law that has the power to do two very important things.
One, it has the power to expose their need of the grace that that God would offer them. The Law exposes sin. We would not know wrong if it were not for God's Law. And the Law is a beautiful guide for your everyday living. These poor people didn't know how to live. They had been under the bondage of slavery; they didn’t have choices. Now that they would have freedom, they needed to know how to live properly in light of that freedom. God gives them His Law.
Here's what you need to understand; God's Law was not a way of achieving the grace of His acceptance. God's Law is a gift of grace to people He's already accepted. We could never ever stand under the burden of God's Law. If God's Law was a means of us achieving God's favor, we would all be damned. And the history of Exodus makes it clear that was never the purpose of God's Law.
His Law is a continuance of His redeeming grace. The people that He has rescued, He will now restore to be what He has created them to be. Grace is not just rescue, grace is restoration, and that is powerfully presented to us in Exodus. And you and I need both aspects of that grace.