‘Therefore say to the children of Israel,”I am the LORD; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. I will take you as My people and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the LORD your God who brings you out from the burdens of the Egyptians (Exodus 6:6, 7).’
The sense in which the word ‘redeem’ is used in the above passage is ‘deliverance from bondage’ – the deliverance of God’s chosen people from their distress of physical labour and oppression under the tyrannical rule of the Egyptians (Exodus 5). God promised Moses He would judge their oppressors with demonstrations of His power (Exodus 7-11:10). He would free them from slavery (Leviticus 26:13) and He would take them for Himself to be His people. He would be their God (Genesis 17:6-8) who would free them from the shackles of slavery.
Furthermore He promised to take them to a land flowing with milk and honey (Exodus 3:8), a land where they would have peace (Leviticus 26:6) and prosperity. To this end He commanded Abram to leave Ur, the country of his birth, and to take with him his kindred and his father’s house. God said He would show them a land they would inherit, and He would make of him a great nation that would live in the land. He would have many descendants (Genesis 12:1-3) and He would bless him and make his name great. Abram himself would be a blessing, and God would bless those who bless him (Genesis 12:1-3).
About 645 years later when Abram’s descendants were slaves in Egypt, God sent Moses to deliver them from their bondage, and to take them to the promised land (Exodus 3-6). After roaming in the desert for forty years, and Moses having died (Deuteronomy 34), Joshua their new leader, took them across the river Jordan (Joshua 3) to enter and capture the promised land. Under the power of God’s mighty hand (Deuteronomy 3:24) they conquered every king (Joshua 12:7-24) – thirty-one in all (v 24). Seven years after crossing the Jordan Joshua allotted the land they had conquered to the tribes of Israel (Joshua 13-22).
God had faithfully redeemed His people from slavery and brought them into the promised land, but as the years passed by they utterly failed Him. They were a disobedient people who lacked faith in Him (Acts 7:51; Romans 9:31, 32). Over and again, because of their disobedience, God punished them (Ezra 9:13). Despite many warnings from His Prophets (Acts 7:52) they failed to draw near to Him and worshipped foreign gods (Psalm 81:8-13). They were overthrown by the Assyrians (2 Kings 17:1-6, 24; 18:7, 9; Isaiah 10:6, 12, 22, 24, 34) and the Babylonians who exiled (2 Chronicles 33:11) them to their own lands.
Jesus, the Redeemer
It wasn’t until 432 BC when Nehemiah (Chapter13) restored God’s laws that there was a measure of peace again in Judah – nearly a thousand years of strife and discord had passed. In 430 BC Malachi announced the future coming of the Messiah (Malachi 3:1), i.e., Jesus, who would save [redeem] His people from their sins, and inaugurate for them the new covenant of grace (Hebrews 8:7-13) through the shedding of His blood (Matthew 26:28). He would save them and give them access to His kingdom (John 17:24) where they would have peace (John 14:27) and prosperity (John 10:10) for evermore (Revelation 21:1-22:5).
‘And they sang a new song, saying:”You are worthy to take the scroll, and open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God, and we shall reign on the earth (Revelation 5:9).”’