Today's Devotional Insight...
Redemption is a theme that universally resonates within the hearts of everyone in the world. It is a topic that is desperately needed to be talked about and shared with a world shackled and ensnared by sin. In the book, Echoes of Exodus: Tracing Themes of Redemption through Scripture, authors Andrew Wilson and Alastair Roberts, show us how the theme of redemption is resounding throughout the entirety of the Scriptures. This excerpt will help give you a glimpse into the content of the book and the heart of the authors.
Escaping from Egypt is only the first half of the exodus. It is easy for us to forget this, in an age where freedom is understood as merely being freedom from: from oppression, from constraint, or whatever. This aspect of liberation, as wonderful as it is, is only half the deal. In the Scriptures, more emphasis is placed on the freedom for: for worship, for flourishing, for growth in obedience and joy and glory. Human beings are not designed to be free from all constraint, slaves to nothing but our own passions, triumphantly enthroned as our own masters, even our own gods. Everybody serves somebody. So the point of the exodus is not just for Israel to find deliverance from serving the old master. It is for them to find delight in serving the new one.
This powerful truth is at the heart of Christian discipleship. The opening question of the Heidelberg Catechism, one of the most beautiful statements of Christian doctrine, asks, “What is your only comfort in life and in death?” The answer is profound, exodus-shaped, and delightful: “That I am not my own, but belong, body and soul, in life and in death, to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.” The freest people in the world are those who are owned by someone else. Service is liberty. Obedience is joy.
That was God’s endgame with the exodus all along. Back in the burning bush, he described Moses’s mission like this: “When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain” (Ex. 3:12). You are currently servants to Pharaoh, God explained, but when we’re done, you will be servants to me. As it turns out, freedom from serving Pharaoh is the easy bit. From beginning to end, it takes only fourteen chapters. Freedom to serve God, on the other hand, takes forty years of wandering and the next four books.
The second half of the exodus begins with Israel’s journey to Sinai, which echoes the burning-bush journey of Moses in various ways. Israel, like Moses, finds food and water in the wilderness: the sweetening of the water, the arrival of manna and quail, and then water from the rock (Ex. 15:22–17:7). Israel, like Moses, fights off enemies at the source of water, triumphing through a shepherd’s staff (17:8–16). Then, like Moses, Israel meets Jethro, who provides food and friendship (18:1–27), be- fore arriving at Mount Sinai/Horeb, where the people are given both a commission and commandments (19–20). They also have two divine names revealed to them in the process (God-Heals-You and God-Is-My-Banner), just as Moses did (Yahweh and I am that I am).
The two halves of the exodus—freedom from serving Pharaoh and freedom to serve God—are summarized brilliantly at the start of the first commandment: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me” (Ex. 20:2–3). The shape and nature of this service to the Lord is then filled out across the next nine commandments, and to this day, those ten rules encapsulate the shape of a life lived in liberated obedience. When the Ten Commandments are finished, to our surprise, the very next law concerns something quite obscure: what happens when a slave loves his master and wants to continue serving him even after he is entitled to leave (21:1–6). Yet a bit of reflection shows that even this reinforces the wider point about true freedom. When slaves, like Israel, love their masters, they will choose lifelong service over walking away. And the fact that the process for doing this involves blood and a doorpost (21:6) cannot help but remind us of the Passover.
(To read the full article, click here.)
Today’s Pastoral Resource...
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