When I was younger, the church I grew up in hosted a Vacation Bible School where we reenacted Old Testament Bible Stories. Around my Junior year in high school we performed the story of Joseph. Over the course of several weeks I studied and learned the story in a way I never had before. It had an impact on my life that I couldn’t even begin to realize at the time. I remember telling my mother, “I want God to use me the way he used Joseph.”
While I enjoyed it thoroughly, it wasn’t enough to simply “play” the part of Joseph. I wanted to be IN the story; I wanted to play a real role in the story of God. I wanted Gods story to include me in a way that went beyond typical Christianity.
What I didn’t realize at the time is God had already given me that opportunity. He has given it to you too. Very similar to a play, we have the ability to reenact the most important stories of God through acts of worship like baptism and communion. These acts go beyond mere reenactment and actually allow us to enter into the Story of God. This is not just a generic story of God. No, we hold lead roles in the most important stories God has ever told.
Last week I talked about how the Exodus is considered the most important story in the Old Testament. This story that held such an important place in the minds of the Israelites because it was the story of their salvation. But whenever I think about the Story of the exodus, I can’t help but wonder to myself, why did God choose to write that story?
I guess what I am really asking is, why did God choose to save the Israelites in the way that he did? It seems obvious to me that God could have chosen to save the Israelites in any way he saw fit. If he wanted, he could snap his fingers and teleport them out to the desert leaving the Egyptians dumb struck. But instead, he specifically choose to raise Moses up from his youth, preform 9 plagues that didn’t work (only one that did) and lead his people into what seemed to be a trap before eventually saving them through the waters of the Red Sea. Why would God choose to save like this rather than any other way? Why go to the trouble when there was an easier way?
He must have had his purposes.
One of those purposes, I believe, was to give a physical representation of what happens to us in our story of salvation. When God saves us today, supernatural things are happening on a spiritual level we can just barely begin to understand. So to aid us in our understanding, God provided a physical model in the story of the Exodus.
Think about this. We know all too well that Jesus came to save us from our sin. But Paul tells us in Romans chapter six that sin is really just a form of slavery. In Romans seven he goes on to give a practical definition of slavery explaining that slaves don’t do what they want to do, no, they have to do the things that they do not want to do. Only he isn’t talking about physical slaves, he is talking about sin’s effect on us. (Romans 7:14-20). Even Jesus points out our slavery when he tells us “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.” (John 8:34).
Slavery is a powerful metaphor that unites our story of salvation with that of the Israelite’s salvation story. It is not coincidental that these two stories share so many similarities. God is speaking to us through the joining of these stories giving life and depth to scripture in a way we have missed before.
More than that, we are now a part of God’s story. His Greatest story. You and I, everyone in this world, have fallen victim to sin’s slavery. Jesus has been raised up for this one purpose. He now stands in opposition to the Pharaoh of your life with a message from God. “Let my people go.”
The story of God beckons will you live it?