7 Exoduses (Part 2)
Having given brief consideration to the Israelites exodus from Egypt, we observed, in our first post, five elements to the idea of the “exodus” principle. First, we observed that Exodus takes place to and for God’s chosen people. Second, we observe a physical departure from the promised land to a pagan land. Third, we saw that the covenant people were oppressed and persecuted. Fourth, that God’s people cried out to him and He acted mightily on their behalf to redeem them. And fifth, that God’s people returned to the promised land with great physical and spiritual blessing. We also noted that the first example of an exodus principle is found not in the life of Israel as a nation, but in Abraham the father of the nation (Genesis 12; 20).
As we search Scripture we find this pattern repeated on numerous occasions. What follows is the briefest of outlines delineating several other exodus experiences found in the Scriptures:
- Exodus # 3: The Exodus of Isaac – Genesis 26:6-16
Principle 1: Exodus happens to God’s chosen people. Isaac is the chosen seed.
Principle 2: Physical departure from the promised land to a pagan land. Isaac settles in Gerar in the land of the Philistines.
Principle 3: The covenant people oppressed and persecuted. Isaac repeats the sin of his father by pretending Rebekah is his sister. This sin causes friction with Abimelech King of Gerar.
Principle 4: God acts mightily on behalf of his people to redeem them. Through Abimelech, God warns the Philistines that anyone laying a hand on Rebekah will die.
Principle 5: God’s people return to the promised land with great physical and spiritual blessings. “Isaac sowed in the land and reaped in that same year a hundredfold. The LORD blessed him and he became a rich man...he became very wealthy”. Isaac is sent away from the Philistines out of their territory.
- Exodus #4: The Exodus of Jacob – Genesis 27-31
Principle 1: Exodus happens to God’s chosen people. Jacob, rather than his older brother Esau is God’s sovereign choice for his people.
Principle 2: Physical departure from the promised land to a pagan land. Jacob is sent from the promised land to Paddan-aram to find a wife.
Principle 3: The covenant people oppressed and persecuted. During his stay in Paddan-aram, Jacob is persecuted and tricked multiple times by Laban. Laban used Joseph for his own gain.
Principle 4: God acts mightily on behalf of his people to redeem them. Jacob becomes aware of discontent against him among Laban’s sons. It is the LORD, however, who warns him to “return to the land of your fathers and to you kindred and I will be with you”.
Principle 5: God’s people return to the promised land with great physical and spiritual blessings. During his stay in Paddan-aram, Jacob’s wealth and prosperity is magnificent. Not only does he have many offspring but “the man [Jacob] increased greatly and had large flocks, female servants and male servants and camels and donkeys”.
- Exodus #5: The Exodus of Israel (see original post).
- Exodus #6: The Exodus of God's people through the death and resurrection of Christ.
Next, we jump forward to the New Covenant. We may well be able to identify more exodus experiences in the Old Covenant, but what is significant is that this same experience is witnessed in the lives of New Covenant saints. We'll save the exodus of our Lord Jesus (Luke 9:31) until next time and examine briefly examine the 7th Exodus experience, that of Simon Peter.
- Exodus # 7: The Exodus of Peter – Acts 12
We should note that as we move into the New Covenant there is less of a focus upon the physical aspects of the exodus principle and more focus upon the spiritual elements. It would be wise not to press the exact pattern of exodus too firmly on the events of the New Covenant. We should examine the spiritual import of circumstances rather than seeking and exact physical correlations.
Principle 1: Exodus happens to God’s chosen people. With James having been killed, Peter the Apostle of Christ is now in Herod’s crosshairs.
Principle 2: Physical departure from the promised land to a pagan land. Not out of the land of Israel per se, but certainly Peter’s experience takes place in a Roman-occupied Israel and under the despotic rule of Herod Agrippa.
Principle 3: The covenant people oppressed and persecuted. James is slain with the sword, Peter is arrested, imprisoned and waits to be put to death himself, but Herod delays due to the Passover (notice the timing of this event!).
Principle 4: God acts mightily on behalf of his people to redeem them. In an experience and language redolent of the Exodus, Peter is freed by God. An angel looses his chains and delivers him from between two guards. Striking Peter on his side he urges him to “Get up quickly, dress yourself and put on your sandals...wrap your cloak around you and follow me” (c.f. Exodus 12:11 and the manner in which the Passover was to be eaten). Passing the first and second guards, Peter and the angel come to the huge iron gate of the city, which is closed. Of “its own accord” is opened for them (allusion to the Red Sea experience). Additionally God’s hand is witnessed in the death of the guards who kept Peter, and importantly, the death of Herod whom God himself struck down.
Principle 5: God’s people return to the promised land with great physical and spiritual blessings. Not a return to the promised land in reality, but a return to the promised people of the church who had been calling on God for his freedom (Acts 12:5). Peter’s return is a profound blessing to himself and to his brethren (Acts 12:11 ff). Consider the all important postscript to this experience “But the word of God increased and multiplied” (12:24).
Why would God ordain this pattern to be observed in both covenants and apply it not just to a nation, but also to specific individuals? What is it that unites the saints of the New Covenant and those of the old covenant? What is it about these particular individuals that lends significance to their common experience. In the final instalment we will consider the missing link – the exodus of our Lord Jesus Christ.