Posts by Matthew Holst

 

At a recent conference, I sat and listened intently to a lecture in which the participants were challenged to read the Psalms, not after the manner of those who eat candy--picking out favourites randomly--but in context. The speaker was Dr O. Palmer Robertson, who was giving us a taste of the fruit of his forthcoming work The Christ of the Sages. The question raised was, "Is there a context or order to the Psalms, or does each Psalm stand-alone?" It will help us to briefly consider Psalms 34-41 as a case study in order to answer this question.

 

I was recently introduced to the phrase, "going-to-hell sin." This intrigued me because, from my own studies of Scripture when I was a young Christian, I always thought it was clear that all sins were "going-to-hell sins." But apparently not. Hollywood certainly has us thinking that they are not. You can hardly watch a movie in which hell is mentioned without reference to a character who has done some particularly terrible things--as over against other characters who are doing smaller, less "hell-deserving," evils. So, obviously, some sins send you to hell, and others...well, don't?

 

The overarching themes of the Exodus principle are hardship, deliverance and blessing. We might also label them as, suffering, salvation and glory. We observed how both certain individuals in redemptive-history and the nation of Israel experienced a displacement, of sorts. They were removed from the place of blessing – the promised land or the promised people in Peter’s case. In their time away from the place of blessing, they find themselves amongst pagans and suffering at the hand of pagans. God’s people cry out to him and he delivers them from oppression, granting them great material and or spiritual blessing as they are saved.

 

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:

 

The “Exodus” principle holds a profoundly important—yet, often overlooked—place in the Christian life. Many are under the impression that there was only one “Exodus” in the Scriptures – Israel’s coming out of Egypt by the plagues, the Passover lamb and the parting of the Red Sea. The Exodus of Israel out of Egypt is clearly one of the central redemptive-historical events in the Scriptures. To highlight the importance of the Exodus-motif, we find that there are at least seven events, unfolded in Scripture, which follow the pattern of Exodus and may themselves properly be called “Exoduses.”