The descendants of Israel dwelt and multiplied in Egypt for over 400 years, even under Egyptian enslavement, represented here by the Egyptian statue (Ex 1). But God heard His people’s cry and set out to deliver them (Ex 2:23-25). To accomplish this, He called Moses to be their leader, depicted here with the staff (through which God provided numerous miracles) and the tablets of the Law (given to govern the relationship God would have with His people).
Moses received this call at the burning bush (Ex 3-4). Within the flames is the Hebrew name by which God revealed Himself (Ex 3:14). The bloody doorframe depicts the sign of the Passover lamb, by which each household of Israel was saved from God’s judgment (Ex 12:1-13).This served as a gateway to the people’s redemption and God powerfully delivered them by parting the Red Sea and leading them to freedom (Ex 14). The mass exodus through the waters cuts a path through the panel’s center, away from Egypt. The people then traveled to Mount Sinai, where God met them in a thick cloud, gave them His Law, and began shaping them into a holy nation (Ex 19). After 40 years, leadership was passed to Joshua (depicted here with sword raised, Num 27:12-23), who led the next generation in conquering the land God had promised to Abraham (Josh 1-24). All of this was made possible by God’s continuing presence, which He made real through the ark of the covenant (Ex 25:10-22). The ark—surrounded by the cloud of God’s glory—connects this panel to the next to show God remained in the nation’s midst, both in the wilderness and in the Promised Land.
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