Summer Sundays at Restoration
The God of all gods and His Rescued People
One of the most pleasantly honest features of the Ancient Near East was the attitude of the inhabitants towards ‘gods.’ ‘Gods’ were entirely utilitarian. You worshiped a ‘god’ because of what that ‘god’ could do for you. You gave the ‘god’ your food, your sexuality, your allegiance, your children, your time, and your devotion because that ‘god’ got the job done. ‘Gods’ were supposed to be powerful. Thus there was no place for cultural or nominal religiosity. Either you feared the god wholesale or you worshiped something else.
The book of Exodus contains the early years of our family history. Yahweh, the LORD, the One True God (OTG) was forming a nation for Himself. The book can easily be divided in two:
- Part 1 (chapters 1-19) tells the story of God’s powerful deliverance. God shows up and shows off to all the gods of Egypt. He confronts the other ‘so-called gods’, showing them to be bankrupt and revealing Himself, alone, as true and powerful. In a milieu of divine attention-grabbing and one-upmanship, Yahweh shows who truly is God.
- In part 2, (chapters 20-40), God makes a covenant with the people He delivers. He establishes them as His people, defined by His rules and guidelines.
You might imagine the book as two stories of servitude: In Egypt, Israel was the servant of Pharaoh; at Mt. Sinai, they became servants of Yahweh. In the book of Exodus, God rescues a people and forms them into a nation for the purpose of rescuing the world.
At Restoration this summer, we will be journeying through the book of Exodus. I am captivated by our similar situation– a people being formed into a community for God’s purposes. God has rescued us, called us to be a church in Arlington, and given us a mission to build His kingdom.
Specifically, we will ask 2 questions each week: How does God reveal His character in the way He interacts with Israel and their leader, Moses? How do His law and instruction prepare a young community to be His means of redemption and revelation in a god-congested world?
June 8, 2009 @ 8:34 pm
First time in my life I’m gonna miss church while out of town on summer vacation.
June 14, 2009 @ 6:37 pm
I would like to comment on your statement that “God has……given us a mission to build His kingdom.” In Matthew 16:18, Jesus says to Peter – “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church….”. In Matthew 28:19-21 Jesus says “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you….”. In Mark 16:15,16, Jesus says “….. Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved… “. So according to Matthew, it is Jesus’ role to build his church – his kingdom. According to Matthew and Mark, it is the role of the church to preach the gospel, make disciples and to baptize. I think that this is a distinction worth making as it emphasizes our complete dependence upon Christ and guards against pride in any growth that God may, in his grace, choose to give.
June 17, 2009 @ 2:11 pm
John, great point. And well taken. I am personally reminded and we as a church are reminded almost daily of our dependence on God’s power to do the work to which He has called us. It is important for me to accurately articulate our dependence and God’s work. Nice work.