Monday, March 30, 2009

Exodus: The fundamental task of the Christian preacher of Exodus is to name God truly

IVP put out an excellent volume of lectures from Moore College recently, Exploring Exodus: Literary, theological and contemporary approaches (eds Brian Rosner and Paul Williamson)

When reading the Pentateuch my hermeneutic is essentially founded on Jesus saying in John 5:46: "if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me". - Exodus is a book that if believed leaves us believing in Christ. And the preacher's mandate must then be to proclaim Christ, to preach Christ. Interesting other themes can certainly be found in the text but the Christian preacher who shrinks from preaching Christ has no place preaching particularly when the material is as obviously Christ-ian as Exodus!  (see also MacArthurs first preach)

The final essay is on Preaching Exodus and is by Richard Gibson, catch these highlights:
“For Christian readers, the Exodus becomes Jesus' story... the New Testament writers used Exodus texts for interpreting and proclaiming God's act in Jesus... This is what it means to 'preach Exodus' – to confront people with the jealous God who redeemed them; who expects their exclusive allegiance and fidelity; who wants them, mind body and spirit; who demands their undivided attention... who in his tender-hearted compassion and loving kindness is committed to doing what it takes to maintain that relationship... Exodus provides ample opportunity to confront people with this God...
This then is my proposed thesis statement for Exodus: 'the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God' (Exod. 34:14)...

John Piper: "God's jealousy is a great threat to those who play the harlot and sell their heart to the world and make a cuckold out of God. But his jealousy is a great comfort to those who keep their covenant vows and become strangers and exiles in the world."

Gibson continues:
The fundamental task of the Christian preacher of Exodus is to name God truly. To do this the Christian preacher needs to identify the jealous God, whose name is Jealous, with the Lord Jesus...

Perhaps, when all is said and done, this is the key to 'preaching Exodus' – to feel the very jealousy of God as we proclaim his name. Perhaps we should not dare to stand before others and bring them this word of the Lord until we ache and worry and grieve with the very jealousy of God. This is the pain and the anxiety and grief that consumed Moses, Ezekiel, Jesus and Paul. Exodus testifies to how much God wants Israel. As John Calvin writes: "The Lord, who has wedded us to himself in truth, manifests the most burning jealously wherever we, neglecting the purity of his holy marriage become polluted with wicked lusts..." Yahweh wanted Israel and would not settle for anything less.
Today, this very day, the Lord wants you and will not settle for anything less: 'God wants all our worship and all our praise. He wants us to give glory to him, and to him alone. Therefore all our idols must be broken; all our sacred stones must be smashed; all our goddess poles must be cut down' (Ryken: 2005). This, it seems to me is what it means to 'preach Exodus' to a contemporary congregation.”

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