Exodus Study (pt. 25)
Today's lesson examines the concept of an ancient Near Eastern Covenant. In Biblical times covenants were everywhere.
God uses the idea of a covenant to help the Israelites understand the type of God he is and the nature of the relationship they are entering.
Simply put, God is a god who covenants and wants to covenant with us.
But what does that mean? What is the nature of an ancient Covenant that can help us understand our relationship with God?
To begin, our Bible is comprised of a series of covenants. From Adam to Noah, Abraham to Moses, to David, and finally, the latest covenant through Jesus.
Even though we refer to the two sections of the Bible as "Testaments," they are, in fact, Covenants - the Old Covenant (Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David) and the New Covenant (Jesus).
When we understand the nature of a covenant relationship and the significance of Jesus' death, we begin to see deeper into our amazing relationship with God.
This week's lesson has two handouts! Be sure to download both!
Exodus Study (pt. 24)
In today's lesson, we explore the structure of the final fifteen chapters of Exodus and look at how the concept of creation or re-creation is woven into the narrative.
We mentioned in our previous lesson that the final chapters in Exodus are written in a Chiastic structure.
A Chiasm – which gets its name from the Greek letter chi – is a method of helping the reader or listener focus their attention on the main idea that the author intends to convey.
Tonight, we take a closer look at this chiastic structure and what the author of Exodus intends as the turning point.
Within this structure, we find something interesting – creation itself is being revisited.
Building the tabernacle is creating a space for the presence of God to dwell with the Israelites. In this sense, it mimics creation as a dwelling place for God's presence and his people.
As we follow Exodus to its close, we see a motif of renewal, rebirth, or recreation.
God and his people are back together – stepping forthrightly into the future.
Exodus Study (pt. 23)
There is a concept within spirituality known as "Awakening from Above/Awakening from Below."
God's revelation comes down from Heaven, but an aspect of our spiritual growth emerges from below.
When we implement God's commands and become "doers of the word," a lasting transformation takes place.
When we "do," we gain insight. We learn at a deeper level and begin to experience the wisdom behind the command that solidifies our spiritual transformation.
This concept is expressed in the book of Exodus through a literary device called a chiasm or a chiastic structure.
The structure of the biblical text itself shows us the principle in action as the Israelites are transformed into a community where the presence of God can dwell.
Exodus Study (pt. 22)
The section of Exodus that scholars refer to as "The Book of the Covenant" consist of chapters 21-23.
Within these chapters are numerous commandments that, contrary to popular belief, do not concern individual holiness.
Instead, they focus on structuring a good and just society where the presence of God dwells and humanity flourishes.
Additionally, most of these commandments are found within the law codes of other ancient Near East cultures.
In today's video, we will explore how the commandments in the Bible are always an improvement on the prevailing laws of Israel's neighbors and how those improvements are always in support of the individual that is made in the Image of God.
Exodus Study (pt. 21)
So often, in the modern Western context of Christianity, we view the commandments in the book of Exodus only through the lens of individual salvation and getting into heaven.
This is a misreading of the biblical text.
The concern of Exodus, and the commandments within, is found in the final two paragraphs of the book, where the presence of God finally dwells within the community.
God dwelling with his people – what both the ancient Near Eastern culture and the Bible call redemption – is the ultimate goal of the entire bible.
So when we read the commandments in Exodus, it is essential to view them through the lens of building a community or society where the presence of God can dwell.
Most of the commandments in Exodus should be read and interpreted at the societal level, NOT the individual level.
The concern for the individual is only as far as we all, as individuals, participate in society as a whole and therefore have responsibilities toward society for how we conduct ourselves.
Today’s video will review the book of Exodus and then introduce this foundational concept of reading the commandments through the proper lens.
Scott Broberg - I have a Masters of Divinity (MDiv) from Bethel Seminary - San Diego - Biblical Studies with and emphasis on the Old Testament.
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