Exodus: Week One Study Guide

In this week’s study guide, we’ll kick off an epic 26-part series through the Book of Exodus! Dive into Exodus 1 with us as we learn how we got to this point in Scripture and how the Lord was weaving freedom and deliverance for His people all along!


Below, you’ll find some key discussion points to consider, questions to personally reflect on and/or discuss in your small group, with your family, or in your circle of friends, and some action points for the week. 

Memory Verse of the Week: Exodus 1:7–8 (NIV)

“The Israelites were exceedingly fruitful; they multiplied greatly, increased in numbers and became so numerous that the land was filled with them. Then a new king, to whom Joseph meant nothing, came to power in Egypt.” 

Israel’s Story, Our Story

The Bible is full of epic stories, and chief among them is the story of the Exodus. But what makes this story all the more epic is how relevant it is to us and our world today. You see, the story of Israel is our story! In this story, God reveals He is a God who keeps His promises. He is present, He sees us in our mess, and He has power to lead us out of bondage. He is a God of deliverance, a God who rescues and frees us for His good and perfect purposes. What He did then for the people of Israel He still does for people everywhere as He sets us free from sin and death and draws us into relationship.

New King, Same God

Around 300 years after Joseph ascended to power, saved Egypt from famine, and brought his family (Jacob/Israel, his brothers and their wives, and all their kids) to settle in Egypt, the Israelites were still living there and numbered in the millions. Now, this new king, whom scholars believe was Amenemhet III, had no allegiance or emotional ties to Joseph or his family. He didn’t care about what some Hebrew dreamer, who happened to be a former slave himself, did to help the Egyptian people survive a terrible famine.

When he saw both the threat of their numbers and the opportunity for a seemingly endless supply of free labor, he jumped on it. In addition, David Guzik points out, “The ancient Egyptians were famous—or infamous—for their proud sense of racial superiority towards all other people. It isn’t surprising to see them afraid and discriminating against this strong minority group in their midst.”

There are a few key things here about God and His nature.

  1. God uses the wicked to accomplish the wonderful. God used Joseph’s brothers and Potiphar’s wife to accomplish great things that led to the salvation of many, and He used this evil ruler’s machinations to set in motion not only the deliverance of His people into the land He promised Abraham, but also to foreshadow the coming deliverance through Jesus and pave the road for His coming.
  2. God’s good purposes and plans involves suffering. God allowed (and still allows) suffering in order to draw us in, build us up, conform us to Christ’s image, and bring about the very best for us as He redeems all injustice and pain for His glory!
  3. God is sovereign and always in control. None of this caught God by surprise—not the cruelty of Pharaoh who enslaved God’s people nor his policy on Hebrew population control. Before the foundations of the earth were laid, God knew and purposed to accomplish wonders in and through this.

Did you know that nothing happens in the world or in your life that catches God by surprise? He’s in control, and He’s working in your midst, your heart, your life, and the lives of those around you. And just like He did here with His people, He suffers along with us, feels our pain, traumas, and hardships, and equips us with everything we need to not only accomplish His good purposes but also to be “more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37 NIV).

Discussion Question 1: What does this first chapter of Exodus teach us about the nature of God and the way He works in our lives and the world? 

Discussion Question 2: Why is it important for us to read and reflect on stories like Exodus? How does this help to prepare us for the ups and downs of our own lives and the lives of those around us?

You’re Never Freer than When You Fear God

What’s your biggest fear? Maybe it’s spiders or snakes. Maybe it’s the dark. Maybe you have a fear of the unknown. These types of fears trigger anxiety, tell us to run or hide, and are negative. But there’s another type of fear that’s good.

Here in chapter 1, we see the Pharaoh not only enslave the Israelites, but attempt to cut the population in half by committing genocide of young males. This plan; however, hinged on a very important group of people—Israelite midwives, whom he commanded to kill all newborn Israelite males.

“God brings deliverance through people we look past . . .”—Pastor Doug Sauder

Keep in mind, a command from the king of Egypt is the equivalent to a law. It must be obeyed or there would be consequences. But the midwives chose to disobey the king of Egypt because they feared God. This is the fear that’s good. This fear means reverence, respect, and awe. It creates willing obedience and cultivates trust. This fear indicates the midwives knew God is good, loving, kind, and His will is for their good and the good of His people. They trusted God, so they obeyed Him over the command of the king of Egypt.

What bravery these women displayed! They held the lives of future leaders in their hands. They delivered hope to the Israelites. They chose life. No doubt they would be afraid of repercussions from their disobedience, but they had the courage to defy the king of Egypt to obey God.

So, again . . . what’s your biggest fear? Just as the Israelite midwives feared God, we Christians should also fear God above all, responding in awe and obedience to our King of kings and trusting that His plans are good.

Discussion Question 3: How can we apply this fear of the Lord to our current cultural context? How can you apply it to your everyday life?

Discussion Question 4: How have you seen the fear of the Lord and faithfulness to Him rewarded, whether in your life or the lives of others?

This Week

Write down some names of people you know who have demonstrated courage. What have they done? Consider sending them a text or writing a note acknowledging their courage and sharing this story of the bravery of the Israelite midwives.


In our next study, we’ll explore Exodus 2 as we meet Moses and see God’s redemptive plan for His people begin to take shape.  

Additional Resources

About the Author

Danny Saavedra

Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.