Session 9: Andrew Reid
A. Where are we?
Our context is largely Biblically illiterate. They don’t know the content, setting and figures of the Bible, let alone the big picture of how they all hold together.
Most of us are committed to systematic, consecutive, exegetical preaching.
We must preach in a way that informs people about how this part of Scripture fits in to the whole picture of Scripture.
B. A Problem of Definition
Scobie defined Biblical theology once way. James Barr says that Biblical theology can only be defined by what it is not. Warfield approaches Theology as a Science, and classifies Biblical theology as one of its five disciplines. Goldsworthy says Biblical Theology is a lens through which we view the Bible.
What is football? Anywhere in the world, it means something definite. In some places, it is soccer, rugby, rugby union, Gaelic football or AFL. Each brand will think of itself as the only true football. There are various things which fit within the category of football.
The boundaries of Biblical theology are:
Faith in Jesus Christ, who is the fulfiller and centre of God’s purposes.
The Bible of Christians consists of two Testaments which are Scripture and contiguous.
We cannot read the Old Testament entirely objectively as if the New Testament did not exist.
Nor do we read the Testaments into the other, because they have to speak on their own to bear witness to Jesus Christ.
Both Testaments come from the same God.
It builds on exegesis and forms the basis for systematic theology.
Biblical theology is as inductive as exegesis is.
C. A Sample (Exodus 15:1-21)
1. Introducing a remarkable song
This is one of those times that the Bible gives us both a narrative account and a poetic account of the same event.
All of our translations have trouble deciding what to do with these ancient tenses.
Verse 1 sets the scene: Israel is standing beside the sea. Miriam is coming out to sing about the great victory.
There are two halves: 2-12 and 13-18. Both verses 12 and 18 are the shortest verses. They act as a sort of refrain and conclusion to their sections. The sections have difference foci, looking back and looking forward.
2. The Content of the Song
i. About Whom?
The song is about God. YHWH, Yah and Adoni are all mentioned repeatedly.
He is the one who triumphed. This has exalted Him and given Him glory, and given His people salvation. These actions demonstrate His supremacy. It tells His people that He will surely bring them to the promised land.
iii. Exalting the Warrior King (15:1-3)
God is described as a man of war, v3.
iv. The Exploits and Incomparability of the Warrior King (15:4-12)
He is celebrated as the agent of salvation, v11. No one can be compared to such a God. He is ‘awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders’. The Egyptians cannot compare to Him.
v. Under the Hand of a Shepherd King (15:13-18)
There is a change of tone at verse 13. The Warrior King turns into the Shepherd King, v13. The verbs in verse 13 are for leading a flock and shepherding a flock. His people are spoken of as ‘redeemed’ and ‘purchased’, economic terms.
The abode is the place of destination for a nomadic people, designating a grazing land. It is described as God’s own mountain, the place where the LORD had made his abode, and His sanctuary which He has made. This could be Sinai or Zion, but poetry is open enough to allow it to be both.
The people of Canaan know about these events and tremble when they arrive.
Verse 18 is the first time that God reigning is explicitly mentioned in Scripture.
3. The Song and the Rest of Exodus: The Creator Who Redeems
i. Where Exodus Began
The theme of Creation permeates the book of Exodus. 1:7 describes Israel as multiplying and increasing, just as mankind was commanded to in Genesis 1. Pharaoh tries to stop this.
ii. Creation and Redemption: A Suggestion
The language of the deep comes up here. Why does the writer use the language of Creation? Because redemption is a done by creative acts on behalf of His people. His purpose is to give them rest in His presence, the same as His purpose in Creation.
D. A Sermon Outline
Helpless and Without Hope
A Quick Overview of Exodus
The Song of the Sea
Introducing A Remarkable Poem
Delight in the Warrior God and the Shepherd King
The pinnacle of the poem
Parading into the Promised Land
The Creator Who Redeems
Where Exodus Began
Creation and Redemption – a Suggestion
Checking out our suggestion
Drawing things together
Praising the God of Creation
Living with the God of Redemption
E. A Sermon Ending
Redemption is about making things new, bringing them back to the way God intended them to be.
If I am right, we would expect to see that in the rest of the Bible too. Isaiah talks about the redemption from Babylon as a new Exodus and a new Creation.
If I am right, you would expect to see that in the New Testament too. Paul uses the Exodus language of hard hearts and blinded minds, which God changes by speaking a word that light should shine out of darkness, using Genesis language, 2 Corinthians 4:1-6. Following on from this, 2 Corinthians 5:17 says that becoming a Christian is in some ways, going back to how you were meant to be, dependent upon God, forgiven in Him and living in his presence. Revelation 21:1-5 uses creation language to describe the future. He will return the world to the way he intended it, with man and God living together in harmony again, replacing chaos with order and darkness with light. In the Old Testament, He did that by defeating Pharaoh and setting Himself among His people. In the New Testament, He does this by the lamb who was slain, Jesus, who makes all things new.
This matters because my deepest desire is to be independent. I cannot make myself pleasing to God and stop being sinful. The point of the poem is that God did this all Himself. He didn’t need help. In Genesis 1, He waged war on chaos and disorder, and it was done. This doctrine tells us how God can make us right with Him: He does an act of Creation in us, speaking a word about Jesus into us and making us again. We cannot make ourselves what God wants us to be, but God can. As we trust in Jesus, the old will pass away and the new will come. If God is a Creator, He will make things new.
How can we not be carried away with the people of Israel on the banks of the sea before this God?