Overall theme and shape of the book of Exodus

Wed, 06/01/2010 - 12:34 -- James Oakley

Another post quoting Alec Motyer on Exodus. His introduction is extremely helpful at drawing threads together and helping to make clear how the details of the book go to make up the whole.

“The book of Exodus has been composed with great artistry. It opens with a slave people building cities for Pharaoh (1:11) and ends with the same people, now liberated, building a tent-dwelling for their God (35-40). It tells of the lamb of God (12:1-12) but relates how the same people who sheltered under the blood of the lamb turned to make and worship a golden calf (32:1-6). It is a book of grace of the God who first saves (1-12), then accompanies (13-17) and finally indwells (29:42-46) his people. At its centre lie the Bible’s fundamental truths of grace and law (19-24).

“Exodus has, in fact, a ‘chiastic’ plan, whereby its opening sections (A1, B1, C1) are balanced by its closing sections (C2, B2, A2) either side of a middle section (D), which contains the central thought of the whole book:

“A1: Building for Pharaoh (1-5)
   B1: The lamb of God (6-12)
      C1: The companion God (13-18)
         D: The grace of God and the law of God (19-24)
      C2: The indwelling God (25-31)
   B2: The golden calf (32-34)
A2: Building for God (35-40)

“There, so to say, in a nutshell, is the whole sweep and thrust of Exodus and the whole story of salvation. According to A12, the Lord’s redemptive work and plan brings us out of servitude to the world into his service and indwelling presence (cf. 1 Cor 3:16; 6:19); B12 reveals the wonder of the way of salvation and the dire reality of disloyalty and defection; C12 shows the beauty and practical efficacy of the presence of the Lord; and in D we see the priority or God’s saving grace and the responsive life of obedience.” (Pages 25-26)

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