02 (February 2013)

The God who makes himself known

The God who makes himself known
Stephen Ford Stephen Ford is pastor of Lordshill Baptist Church, Snailbeach, Shropshire.
01 February, 2013 1 min read

In this book, Dr Blackburn argues that the main theme of Exodus is God’s missionary purpose in the world. It is impossible to know God without his self-revelation in the Bible. In Exodus he shows his character, power and dependability to Israel, and also, through their experiences, to the surrounding nations.
   The evidence is compelling, leading to several of those ‘Dr Watson’ moments: ‘It’s so obvious, why didn’t I see that before?’!
   This is not a verse-by-verse commentary. It focuses on six main sections: deliverance from Egypt; protection in the wilderness; the relationship between the gospel and the law (in that order); instructions about the tabernacle; the golden calf incident; and finally, the construction of the tabernacle.
   Pharaoh had to discover that God can outstrip the greatest human power and is prepared to do so for the preservation of his chosen people. The chosen people had to learn that their deliverance from slavery was in order to be the servants of God, who had chosen and rescued them.
   They were to be his representatives on earth, co-operating with his expressed purpose given originally to Abraham, that ‘in you shall all the families of the earth be blessed’.
   God’s miracle-working favour towards Israel ought to have led them to trust him unreservedly, proving God’s faithfulness and encouraging other nations to turn to him in faith. This is the Old Testament equivalent of ‘let your light so shine before men’.
   Dr Blackburn is an evangelical and in the book spends time combating modern interpreters who dismiss the integrity of the Bible text. There is certainly a place for this, but I felt it was something of a distraction from the important missionary message, which is powerful enough to stand on its own feet. Some general readers may find this aspect tedious. However the book is good. It will repay careful study and pastors may feel a new impetus to preach from Exodus.
Stephen Ford

Stephen Ford is pastor of Lordshill Baptist Church, Snailbeach, Shropshire.
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