“The Exodus is such a significant event in Israel’s history that it serves as more than just an account of the wandering in the desert. It is a paradigm of how God deals with His people, signifying the formation of relationship. ” Rainier Camara (Senior Pastor) Address: Lot 7 Block 8, Winchester St. , Birmingham Place, Brookside Hills, Cainta, Rizal, Philippines Old Testament Theology Level of Study: Course 001 I. Introduction The Bible Stories in the market today are profit driven.
These are days where there is an abundance of teaching about the ways of God but a shortage in the understanding of the mind of God. The events of the Exodus reveal that God is mindful of man. Unfortunately, the Exodus of the nation of Israel is probably one of the most abused bible stories of modern times. Instead of the central intention of the Divine Author, the stories are presented with moral lessons that focus on earthly success rather than on God, the source of true success.
This essay highlights the significance of the Exodus as seen through the eyes of the Creator, thereby, giving us an understanding of the mind of God. Through His chosen people, God uncovers a paradigm of how He deals with His people, signifying the formation of an extraordinary relationship. We will explain this by defining the elements that make up the paradigm and its significance. II. The Exodus is a heavenly paradigm The Exodus is a significant event because it lays the foundation of the redeeming work of the Messiah, the Savior of Israel.
This is very important because the ‘Redemption’ as the running theme of the books of the Bible stands out as its central message. (Exodus 12; Numbers 18:16; Exodus 13:16; 43:20, John 3:16) The events leading to the Messiah teaches eternal laws & principles that were first established in the Exodus narratives. The Exodus events carry an incredible message of a personal God who desires to be intimate with His people. This message of God must be understood in light of the whole Bible. The Exodus becomes significant as the theme of the whole of the Old Testament is brought into light.
John Drane defines it well. “… the way these books were combined to form the final edition of the Hebrew Bible was intended to present a coherent message that would sum up and take forward the stories told by the individual writers. ”  The Exodus paradigm is a distinct relationship pattern about an omnipotent and loving God who makes Himself known to His creatures. (Exodus 20:2) Purposively, God teaches this heavenly paradigm to His chosen people, the Israelites. III. God Speaks through a heavenly paradigm.
God opens up His heart and His mind through a heavenly paradigm. A paradigm made up of His love, His calling, His redemptive plans and His Covenant. A. God’s love Love is the greatest expression of relationship between two beings. Knowing the mind of God through His plans reveal His divine attributes. God’s love relationship with Israel was manifested when He delivered Israel out of Egypt with His mighty hand. John Drane remarks, “Hosea pictured God at this time as a loving parent (probably a mother, given the form of imagery) and Israel as God’s child: (Hosea 11:1, 3-4).  Unfortunately, other scholars think otherwise. A sad example is DJ A Clines’ statement as follows. Even the problem of war today, which some adherents say can be attributed to the God of the OT.
“It is a sad day for theism if the only language its adherents can find to express their sense of the divine is the language of oriental despotism, with its scornful deity who offers comfort to petty kings in their grandiose ambitions and authorizes state violence and a regime of terror against those who want nothing more gross than self-determination. 3] If readers would accept Clines adoption of the point of view of the MLF (Moabite Liberation Front), then readers would regard God as a God of war and not love. This is totally misleading. The tragedies of war in the Old Testament can only be understood in the context of God’s love, protection and deliverance for His beloved nation Israel. That’s the point; God has left us a paradigm of undivided loyalty to His people and vengeance against its enemies. God is a God of love and justice. B. God’s call The God of the Exodus made the first call.
Most of the worldviews (section IV-A. folly of various worldviews) see God as impersonal. The Burning Bush experience between God and his chosen servant Moses heralds the first call to an otherwise impossible relationship between God and man. (Exodus 3) A unique conversation ensues, forever shifting man’s mindset about God; a mindset that is directly opposed to that of the understanding of the heathen nations at that time.  C. God’s redemptive plans The Exodus is about God who delivers, who fights and who provides. He is actively involved in the affairs of His people.
The narratives become significant because it illuminates for us this truth, even in our post-modern era. For example, consider the following statement. It is Alarming that there is a brewing sentiment towards banning of the Old Testament. “That the Old Testament is easily regarded as antiquated, primitive, (often in a derregoratory sense), and irrelevant. “ With this view in mind, the “irrelevancy” of the Old Testament becomes popular but in direct conflict to the central message of God’s redemptive plans as demonstrated during the Exodus.
Israel was a type of people who by their submission to God experienced His salvation. (Exodus 12 “the Passover”) D. The Mosaic Covenant God inscribes His heart and mind through an everlasting covenant. A covenant made by God for His people through Moses. Without this covenant, the Mosaic covenant, all our understanding of the paradigm would be futile. First of all, only a God who is willing to establish a relationship would bind Himself in an eternal covenant. (Exodus 20-24) Therefore, the elements of God’s love, call, plans and covenant set ups the stage for His Kingdom on earth.
All these elements are in the Exodus narratives. IV. The Futility of knowing God without a Heavenly Paradigm. Not having a heavenly paradigm is like building a house without a plan. The heavenly paradigm is a divine blueprint, the essence of God’s Master plan for man. It is an exercise in futility to base our knowledge of God on human opinions. Let’s analyze three major approaches to knowing God. A. Various worldviews According to the Charts of Christian Theology and Doctrine by H. Wayne House, there are seven major worldviews of God and these are: 1. Atheism 2. Polytheism 3. Panentheism 4.
Finite godism 5. Pantheism 6. Deism 7. Theism The first to the sixth worldview are a result of an un-inspired search for God. But if one compares his worldview of God according to the Exodus narratives, he will probably tend to gravitate towards the seventh worldview, Theism, which has a firm foundation. A foundation where Scripture provides the necessary historical framework. Interestingly, the major conflicts of the various worldviews surround the truth about God’s personality. People do not know God personally. That’s why; the Exodus narrative triggers a hunger to seek the true God. B.
Humanistic understanding The Exodus narratives were divinely authored as they were experienced first hand by the Israelites. It is not figurative but literal. As indicated in “introducing the Old Testament Course 001”, the OT can be studied historically, literarily as well as theologically.  Thus, the Exodus event plays a pivotal role in proving that Old Testament history can be relied upon to understand God and the events today. Unfortunately, some scholars think otherwise. A sad example is DJ A Clines. Even the problem of war today, which some adherents say can be attributed to the God of the OT. It is a sad day for theism if the only language its adherents can find to express their sense of the divine is the language of oriental despotism, with its scornful deity who offers comfort to petty kings in their grandiose ambitions and authorizes state violence and a regime of terror against those who want nothing more gross than self-determination.  If we would accept Clines adoption of the point of view of the MLF, the Moabite Liberation Front, many of his readers would judge the Old Testament as a source of the problem of war today!
This viewpoint seems so humanly logical and politically correct but is highly imbalanced. Whereas, the Exodus event plays a significant part of showing God’s perfectly balanced nature of mercy and justice. As a necessary part of God’s justice is judgment and execution upon the enemies of God and His people. Without which there would be chaos. I concur with Jenson that understanding God’s dealing in the narratives provides illumination in this complex issue of war.  C. Religious biases Ever since the Bible was written, the 10 commandments and the laws were commonly used as a basis of religious doctrine.
Intentionally, in order to perpetuate a biased view of God. These are usually presented as a set of do’s and don’ts rather than a definitive set of statements that connect us with the mind of God. For example, some statements taken from “The New Unger’s Bible Handbook Revised and Updated Edition” on its definition of the Mosaic Covenant include the following: The Mosaic covenant Ex 20:1-31:18 is a legal covenant, given solely to Israel. It consisted of the commandments (Ex 20:1-26); the judgments (social) (Ex 21:1; 24:11) and the ordinances (religious) (Ex 24:12-31:18); also called the law.
It was a conditional covenant of works, a ministry of ‘condemnation’ and ‘death’ (2Co 3:7-9), designed to lead the transgressor (convicted thereby as a sinner) to Christ.  Immediately comes to mind is God as a Father with a rod in His hand. Hence, a God of this sort results in a religion of works. On the other hand, it is no coincidence then that the 10 commandments begin not with an instruction, but with a reminder of God’s love and goodness.  (Exodus 20:2) The Bible is actually a love covenant between God and man.
Therefore, God powerfully expresses Himself through a heavenly paradigm in order to highlight the spirit of the law rather than the letter. Apart from which, our knowledge of God would at best, be partial and dangerously misleading. The Exodus event has proved to be the source for this heavenly pattern whereby we can draw fundamental truths about God. V. Conclusion: The elements of the heavenly paradigm direct us to the truths about God. These truths present the Exodus event as highly significant. The graphic description in the narratives tells much of who God is.
The balanced study and analysis also correct several misleading religious thoughts about God. The statements provided by Clines and Unger appear to be a humanistic, works-oriented approach to God. Even the beliefs of the heathen nations, according to the Ancient Near East Treaties, can be rectified by these truths. The Covenant seals those truths in order to prove His uniqueness from other gods. God of the Exodus is a personal God, wanting to enter into a covenant relationship with man. The Exodus event is significant because it has proven God’s fulfillment to His nation Israel at that time.
Entering into that covenant relationship with God gives the assurance that He will uphold His part of the covenant relationship. He is committed to fulfilling His covenant and to fulfill His purposes.
1. “Introducing the Old Testament” by John Drane. ©2000 2. “Covenant in Ancient Near East” PowerPoint presentation by Dr John Wilks 3. The New Unger’s Bible Handbook Revised and Updated Edition: 1998 Electronic Edition Files ©2000, Laridian, Inc. 4. Old Testament Survey. William Sanford LaSor, David Allan Hubbard, Frederick Wm. Bush ©1982, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Cambridge, U. K. 5.
An Introduction to the Old Testament by Walter Brueggeman ©2003, Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, Kentucky 6. Charts of Christian Theology and Doctrine by H. Wayne House. ©1992, Zondervan Publishing House Academic and Professional Books, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530 7. Introducing the Old Testament, Course 001. Course notes originally prepared by Elizabeth Heike, Revised by John Wilks, Don Horrocks and Alison Cornu. ©1998, 2003 London School of Theology, Greenlane, Northwood, Middlesex 8. The Problem of War in the Old testament by Philip Jenson ©2002, Grove Books Limited, Ridley Hall Road, Cambridge