Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Gods Goal Part IV

The Exodus

After the period of the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob), which is recorded in the rest of the book of Genesis, the people of Israel spent several hundred years expanding in the land of Egypt, and then became slaves there. They cry to God for mercy. In response God undertakes to deliver them through the hand of Moses, and then bring them through the wilderness to the promised land of Canaan. God's purpose in this deliverance from Egypt is recorded several places besides in Exodus-for example, in Ezekiel and the Psalms:

Thus says the Lord God: on the day when I chose Israel, I swore to the seed of the house of Jacob, making myself known to them in the land of Egypt, I swore to them, saying, I am the Lord your God. On that day I swore to them that I would bring them out of the land of Egypt into a land that I had searched out for them, a land flowing with milk and honey, the most glorious of all lands. And I said to them, Cast away the detestable things your eyes feast on, every one of you, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt; I am the Lord your God. But they rebelled against me and would not listen to me; they did not every man cast away the detestable things their eyes feasted on, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt.

Then I thought I would pour out my wrath upon them and spend my anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt. But I acted for the sake of my name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the na tions among whom they dwelt, in whose sight I made myself known to them in bringing them out of the land of Egypt. (Ezekiel 20:5-9)

Both we and our fathers have sinned; we have committed iniquity, we have done wickedly. Our fathers, when they were in Egypt, did not consider thy wondrous works; they did not remember the abundance of thy steadfast love, but rebelled against the Most High at the Red Sea. Yet he saved them for his name's sake, that he might make known his mighty power. (Psalm 106:6-8)

It is clear that the deliverance from Egypt is not due to the worth of the Israelites, but to the worth of God's name. He acted "for the sake of his name." This is also made clear in the story of the exodus itself in Exodus 14.

And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and he will pursue them and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host; and the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord.... And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen. (14:4,18)

God's purpose is to act in a way that causes people to own up to his glory and confess that he is the only Lord of the universe. Therefore, the great event of the exodus, which was a paradigm for all God's saving acts, should have made clear to all generations that God's purpose with Israel was to glorify himself and create a people who trust him and delight in his glory.

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