The plagues and the Exodus Event demonstrate the omnipotence of the true God over the people, livestock, and gods of Egypt. The LORD says, “For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the LORD” (Exo 12:12). And God establishes a statute or ordinance — the Passover meal. It will be one of the ordinary means of God’s grace and salvation until the Passover lamb is slain on the cross. The Gospel of John even understands the fact that the instruction, “do not break any of the bones” (Exo 12:46) with Psalm 34:20 as the reason Christ did not have any bones broken (cf. John 19:36). It is this Passover lamb, who says, this is my body; this is my blood. Thus the Lord’s Supper, derived from the Passover meal, is one of the ordinary means of God’s grace and salvation today.
And we have an early example of catechizing children: “And when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ you shall say, ‘It is the sacrifice of the LORD’s Passover, for he passed over the houses of the people of Israel in Egypt, when he struck the Egyptians but spared our houses'” (Exo 12:26-27). And concerning the feast of unleavened bread, it says, “You shall tell your son on that day, ‘It is because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt'” (Exo 13:8). This is something that also should continue today as the Lord Christ taught us to teach them to observe everything that he commanded (see Matt 28:20, Great Commission). Baptism being mentioned in the previous verse, what they are to observe especially includes the Lord’s Supper. See Flavel’s defense of catechizing in my first quotes of Flavel’s Exposition of the Assemblies Catechism on this page.
We also see a glimpse of language that will be elaborated in the Shema (Deut 6:4-9) “And it shall be to you as a sign on your hand and a memorial between your eyes, that the law of the LORD may be in your mouth. For with a strong hand the LORD has brought you out of Egypt” (Exo 13:9). The catechizing continues, “And when in time to come your son asks you, ‘What does this mean?’ you shall say to him, ‘By a strong hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt, from the house of slavery. For when Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, the LORD killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man and the firstborn of animals. Therefore I sacrifice to the LORD all the males that first open the womb, but all the firstborn of my sons I redeem'” (Exo 13:14-15). And the next verse continues the Shema-like language (Exo 13:16).
This Exodus account is very much a continuation of the narrative of Genesis and we see this in the comments fulfilling prophecies of Genesis. In particular, Genesis 15:13-16 says that the people will be “in a land that is not theirs and will be servants [we could say slaves] there” 400 years and come out with great possessions. Then we see Israel plunder Egypt (Exo 12:36) and it is noted that they had lived in Egypt for 430 years (Exo 12:40). And, as in Genesis 1:2, the Spirit hovered over them like He did the waters at creation in the form of the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night (Exo 13:21-22, 14:24). And then we have the parting of the waters by the wind/Spirit to give way to dry land, also just as in Genesis 1:7-9. Israel is born (they even change their calendar to reflect this new creation (Exo 12:2). And thus how beautiful is the description, “Israel saw the great power that the LORD used against the Egyptians, so the people feared the LORD, and they believed in the LORD and in his servant Moses” (Exo 14:31).
And then we see the Song of Moses, which then Miriam takes up (the repetition of the first line implying that she led the people in singing the whole song too). She led the song, played the tambourine, and all the women danced. This is an interesting example of a prophetess leading worship and proclaiming the good news of salvation in the LORD. Anything that can be said, can be sung, and vice versa. This song was a type of proclamation — a sermon in verse. And the lesson, fitting what we have said of the purpose of the plagues and the exodus event, is “Who is like you, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?” (Exo 15:11). And the song foreshadows what will come to pass in the days (and unfortunately years) ahead, as it talks of the inhabitants of Canaan having melted away when they heard.
The principle of the firstborn in the exodus event is most critical in understanding how Jesus’ death can cover our sins. It is worth saying that faith in God the Father and in his servant the Lord Christ is the Spirit wrought response of the one who is born again and that this application of salvation depends on the accomplishment of salvation in the death and resurrection of Christ as the firstborn of his people. And that given this accomplishment and application of salvation we too should have our tongues loosed (not because we are drunk, but because of the Spirit) to sing many new songs.
Though things end well, it is ominous that right before the Exodus event the people expressed such unbelief and grumbling saying, “It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness” (Exo 14:12). And Moses tells the people, to best translate the verse, to “Shut up” (Exo 14:14). This foreshadows the rest of the story of the Torah, beginning with the verses immediately following this section (Exo 15:22ff). And is in stark contrast to Jesus who remained silent when accused by the chief priests and elders of Israel rather than complaining.