Tuesday, July 19, 2011

intro to Exodus

Overview/Framework of Exodus:

Alec Motyer points to Israel: 
a.) in Egypt (1:1-13:16)—the saving Lord; 
b.) at Sinai (13:17-24:11)—the covenant Lord; and 
c.) around the Tabernacle (24:12ff)—the indwelling Lord. 

He also notes a chiasm in the structure of Exodus: Building for Pharoah vs. God (chs. 1-5, 35-40); Lamb of God vs. Golden Calf (6-12, 32-34); and Companion God vs. Indwelling God (13-18, 25-31)—all centered around the Grace and Law of God (19-24)

The theology of Exodus includes revelations about…
1.) His Name: Yahweh—“I AM” (3:14)

2.) His Salvation: as Redeemer/Rescuer/Savior (6:6, 15:13; Ch. 12's Passover; and a key OT theme as a picture of God's grace, sovereignty, power, especially in the face of injustice and oppression). For the believer, it serves as a picture of being freed from bondage (Justification; Jn 1:29; I Cor 5:7) and setting out for the Promised Land (Sanctification).

Combining Ex 3:14’s Name of God and Ex 12’s Passover Lamb, Motyer observes the revelation of the same combo in the NT at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry—at his baptism—when the Trinity has its first plain revelation and is bracketed by John the Baptist’s two references to Jesus as “the Lamb” (Jn 1:29,36).

Note other parallels as well: 
-Israel is identified as God’s “firstborn son” (Ex 4:22)
-in Matthew, Jesus is also threatened with genocide (2:12,16); journeys into and out of Egypt (2:13-15); travel to the Jordan (vs. Red Sea); time in the Wilderness with the absence of food and water; putting God to the test (Ex 17:2; vs. not—Mt 4:7); and failure vs. success at the mountain (Ex 32 vs. Mt 4:8-10). 
--> Motyer: “Exodus is the story of the son of God who stands in need of salvation, failing at every point of life and even of privilege; Matthew tells of the Son of God who brings salvation (Mt 1:21), perfect and righteous at every point and in every circumstance and test.”

3.) Other attributes: 
In Genesis, God as 
a.) Creator—sovereign over nature; 
b.) moral judge; and 
c.) covenant maker. 

To compare/contrast these themes in Exodus:

a.) miracles: more than any other OT book—most importantly, to show Himself as a single God with universal sovereignty (9:16). He reiterates his sovereignty over nature, but in the context of depicting His sovereignty over history. (Without the latter, a God of Creation results in deism.) As Sarna notes: “History is the arena of divine activity…the product of God’s providence, conditioned by human response to his demands…the unfolding of God’s grand design…It is no wonder that the Exodus is the pivotal event in the [OT] Bible.”

b.) holiness: Here, we see the origins of the (formal) law—and with the Sinai covenant, the foundation of Biblical ethics and morality (the 10 C's and other categories of law: mitzvah, hok, mishpat). God’s zealous/active holiness is depicted by fire (Ex 3’s bush, Ex 13-14’s pillar, Ex 19’s on top of Mt. Sinai, Ex 40’s over the tabernacle).

c.) faithfulness: fulfilling covenantal promises made in Genesis to Abraham and Co. (2:23, 4:22, 12:41-42)

4.) Working with a man/family in Genesis-- and now, a nation: Pharaoh is the first to call them a “people” (1:9; only translated by the NIV for Egypt, not Israel; narrator uses “Israelites” in 1:7); later in Exodus, called nation (goy), congregation (kahal), and community (udah). As such, “politics enters the narrative, center-stage…”—and so, we find a huge emphasis on justice, freedom, and rule of law; sanctity of life and human dignity; use and misuse of power. As an aside, Sacks argues that Pharaoh is more political than evil (vs. Haman, Amalekites; Dt 23:7 vs. 25:17-19).

5.) A theology of worship: putting time, talent, and treasure into building the tabernacle—where God “dwelt” among his people (Ex 25-30,35-40). The NIV Study Bible: "God is not only mighty on Israel's behalf; he is also present in their midst." Here, we find the beginning of the priesthood and prophet roles. And it’s interesting that law and worship are combined.

In sum, the NIVSB: Exodus is an "account of redemption from bondage leading to consecration in covenant and the pitching of God's royal tent in the earth, all through the ministry of a chosen mediator, discloses God's purpose in history-- the purpose he would fulfill through Israel, and ultimately through Jesus Christ the supreme Mediator."

And Motyer: “Exodus begins the normative OT (and biblical) revelation of God’s way of salvation; it underlines the nature of God as holy and of humankind as sinners; it explains the meaning of blood and sacrifice; it is a book of grace which reaches down from heaven and of the law which teaches redeemed sinners to live in heavenly terms. While some of these great biblical truths are foreshadowed in Genesis, Exodus pulls them all together, giving them a shape and definition that the rest of the Bible will not alter.” (see also: p. 11-12)

Finally, we have an Intro to the Main Character: Moses. A Hebrew boy, a life saved by grace, a prince under Pharaoh, an outcast in the desert, a servant of God, and a type of Christ—as a deliverer (Jn 5:46). It’s interesting that the two largest gaps we have in Biblical history are inter-testamental times (pre-Christ) and pre-Moses. 

LaSor notes that Moses "dominates the Pentateuchal narratives from the 2nd chapter of Exodus to the last chapter of Deuteronomy. Throughout the OT, he is portrayed as the founder of Israel's religion, promulgator of the law, organizer of the tribes in work & worship, and their charismatic leader through the deliverance, covenant at Sinai, and wilderness wanderings, until Israel was poised to enter the promised land from the Plains of Moab."

We covered chapter 1 last Sunday. I hope to post on that soon. We hope to see you on future Sunday evenings!


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