How significant is the “exodus” in shaping the biblical idea of mission? Real significant would be the answer of Chris Wright in The Mission of God (chp. 8 ). Here’s how he begins the chp: “How big is our gospel?” That leads to “How big is our understanding of redemption?” And that leads then to “What is God’s idea of redemption?”
Exodus 15:13 says it all:
?In your steadfast love you led the people whom you redeemed;
you guided them by your strength to your holy abode.”
The image for “redeemer” in the Old Testament connects to the word ga’al and go’el, though this is not the only term. But this term, Wright shows, gets to the heart of the matter: a family relationship, powerful intervention by the Redeemer, and effective restoration. (The term is used for avenging shed blood, redeeming land/slaves, and providing an heir.)
This leads Wright to reflect on the breadth and depth of the OT concept of redemption, and I must emphasize that too many are nervous about this today:
1. Political: liberated from political injustice.
2. Economic: set free from slave labor.
3. Social: state-sponsored genocide liberation.
4. Spiritual: to worship YHWH. Liberated in order to worship God.
Now this paradigmatic text:
Ex. 6:6 Say therefore to the Israelites, ?I am the LORD, and I will free you from the burdens of the Egyptians and deliver you from slavery to them. I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. 7 I will take you as my people, and I will be your God. You shall know that I am the LORD your God, who has freed you from the burdens of the Egyptians. 8 I will bring you into the land that I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; I will give it to you for a possession. I am the LORD.??
God “responded to all the dimensions of Israel’s need” (271).
Why did God do this?
1. His knowledge of the oppressed (Exod 2:24-25; 3:7).
2. God’s covenant memory: “God remembered his covenant with Abraham.”
Same God, same mission! The Exodus becomes the paradigmatic act of redemption in the Bible, and it was used both for the “exodus” and for the “exile” where the problem — read Isa 40-55 — became Israel’s sin and the solution Israel’s forgiveness and Israel’s return.