I’m under the pump to have our church’s Exodus bible studies ready for the Exodus breakfast this Saturday, but I noticed this and wanted to share.
I was looking at the promise that God makes after giving the law at Sinai:
‘Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you.‘ Ex 25:8-9
I was thinking about how that promise is true for those living on this side of the cross, who don’t move around the desert setting up big tents anymore. I remembered John 1:14:
‘The Word became flesh and made his dwelling (lit: ‘tabernacled’) among us.‘
But it was when my mind went to Matthew’s gospel that I noticed something really cool (which I have probably been taught somewhere or other but forgotten): ‘God With Us’ is the frame for Matthew’s whole Gospel. He begins with the account of the birth of Jesus, whom he says:
they will call him Immanuel – which means, “God with us.” (Matt 1:23)
And Matthew closes his Gospel with the risen Jesus’ words:
And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matt 28:20)
That which the tabernacle foreshadowed has come true in the person and work of Jesus (and of course, in the sending of the Holy Spirit to be God’s presence amongst us and within us). And Matthew wanted to make that very clear that that’s what Jesus life, death and resurrection is all about.
“You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. (Ex 20:4-6)
“Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose names in Jealous, is a jealous God.” (Ex 34:14)
“What does this mean? We usually think of jealousy as spiteful envy, but how could such an attitude be worthy of God? The answer is that there is more than one kind of jealousy. Of course, jealousy can be sinful, and with us, it usually is. The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word ‘jealous’ as ‘afraid, suspicious, or resentful of rivalry in love.’ This is the way we tend to be: resentful of rivalry. But the primary definition of the word is ‘fiercely protective’. And although God is neither suspicious nor resentful, he certainly is protective, especially when it comes to his relationship with his people. There is nothing God guards more jealously than his love for us and our love for him in the covenant.
According to J.I.Packer, ‘God’s jealousy is not a compund of frustration, envy, and spite, as human jealousy so often is, but appears instead as a praiseworthy zeal to preserve something supremely precious.’ When God told Moses that his name is Jealous, ‘He meant that He demands from those whom he has loved and redeemed utter and absolute loyalty, and will vindicate His claim by stern action against them if they betray His love by unfaithfulness.’ “
P.G.Ryken, Exodus: Saved for God’s Glory (Wheaton: Crossway, 2005), 1054-5.
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“This, it seems to me, is what it means to ‘preach Exodus’ – to confront people with the jealous God who redeemed them; who expects their exclusive allegiance and fidelity; who wants them, mind, body and spirit; who demands their undivided attention; who will not brook any rivals for his affection; and who in his tender-hearted compassion and loving kindness is committed to doing what it takes to maintain that relationship, including provision for reconciliation and fellowship in the face of Israel’s addiction to sin”
R.Gibson, Name Above All Names: Preaching Exodus, in B.S.Rosner & P.R.Williamson (eds), Exploring Exodus:Literary, theological and contemporary approaches (Nottingham: Apollos, 2008), 211.
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