Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Book Review: Echoes of Exodus

Echoes of Exodus: Tracing Themes of Redemption Through Scripture. Alastair J. Roberts and Andrew P. Wilson. 2018. Crossway. 176 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: The exodus is central to the Scriptures, central to the gospel, and central to the Christian life. Whatever book of the Bible you are reading, and whichever Christian practices you are involved in, echoes of the exodus are in there somewhere.

In Echoes of Exodus, the authors argue that the themes of exodus--of deliverance--are to be found in every book of the Bible. The Bible tells a cohesive story of a God who saves, who rescues, who redeems, who restores, who fulfills, who blesses, who loves.

The approach they take to illustrating this is unique. It is a musical approach. They write,
"Scripture is music. We use musical metaphors all the time when we talk about the Scriptures, without even thinking about it. We might describe the Bible as a symphony or a love song. We might refer to the opening of Genesis as an overture or to Revelation as a finale. We might talk about the story being composed or perhaps orchestrated by God, with themes and rhythms and echoes running through it, all building to a crescendo. If we are handling some of the difficult sections, we might say that there is a clash here or a discordant note there, but that there is always, ultimately, a harmony within the Word of God, and therefore that we can expect things to resolve....A musical approach to Scripture encompasses a number of aspects, each of which can help us see Scripture in a fresh light. One, which we have already mentioned, involves the language of tension and resolution...The Bible has a clear storyline, a melody, a tune, and it can be summarized (or sung) by a small child. It also has a range of individual and corporate stories that run together, sometimes taking center stage, sometimes fading into the background, providing harmony and counterpoint, treble and bass, height and depth, in such a way that no single writer (or musician) could possibly represent it all."
The book begins with a discussion of Exodus, of Passover. The book then journeys on through the rest of the Bible going back to Genesis and finally concluding in Revelation.

I would definitely recommend this one! I found it very relevant. Like the authors I agree that modern society is confused about what freedom really is.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:
Escaping from Egypt is only the first half of the exodus. It is easy for us to forget this, in an age where freedom is understood as merely being freedom from: from oppression, from constraint, or whatever. This aspect of liberation, as wonderful as it is, is only half the deal. In the Scriptures, more emphasis is placed on the freedom for: for worship, for flourishing, for growth in obedience and joy and glory. Human beings are not designed to be free from all constraint, slaves to nothing but our own passions, triumphantly enthroned as our own masters, even our own gods. 
The freest people in the world are those who are owned by someone else. Service is liberty. Obedience is joy. 
The greatest threats to true freedom, it seems, do not come from external oppression but from within. Delivering Israel from slavery to Pharaoh took only ten plagues; delivering Israel from slavery to self, sin, sex, greed, and idolatry took ten commandments and ten separate trials and corresponding judgments (Num. 14:22), and ended up with an entire generation dying in the wilderness—and even then, the problems persisted. True slavery is captivity of the soul, not just the body. Until a nation or a person is freed from that, and free to become what they were originally intended to be, their exodus is incomplete. 
It can be hard to tell the difference between an exodus and an exile, especially when you’re in the middle of one.
One summary we hardly ever use, but which appears in Paul’s writings all the time—even when he is primarily talking about something else—goes something like this: We were slaves. We were slaves to sin, death, fear, the flesh, and the Devil. But at just the right time, God rescued us. He defeated our enemy and redeemed us through the blood of his Son, taking us through the waters of baptism, uniting us to himself, giving us his Spirit to lead us and guide us, and providing us with all we need. He did all this, not so that we could do our own thing, but so that we could do his thing. And he is taking us on toward a new creation of resurrection and victory, milk and honey. In other words: Paul’s gospel is an exodus.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

No comments: