Monday, February 28, 2011

The First Song of Moses, Exodus 15 : 1 - 18

Moses' song in honor of God's divine salvation of Israel tells the story of the parting of the Red Sea.  It reminds me of hearing someone tell of a come-from-behind victory in a sporting event. The enemy throws out a little trash talking  in verse 9, but  in a remarkable turn of events, ends up "sunk like lead" by the majestic warrior Lord.  Moses just can't find enough adjectives to explain how he feels about this triumph of the weak over the mighty. Everyone loves a good underdog story. Do you believe in miracles? YES, YES!

This metaphor of salvation as a recue operation is very appealing to me. There are so many unsatisfactory explanations. For example, from the very first time I heard the substitutionary atonement theory I was bewildered. If God was so mad at us that he couldn't forgive us unless someone innocent was tortured, then what kind of God was He anyway? The ransom theory isn't much better. If Christ died so that His blood could be a payment, to whom was the ransom paid? Was God holding someone hostage or was Satan? If it was God, then we're back to the earlier question. If it was Satan, well, isn't God stronger than Satan? Does God condone negotiations with terrorists? I realize that there is no earthly metaphor that can perfectly explain the grace of God, but a "rescue" at least makes sense. Frederica Mathewes-Green compares it to the way a fireman suffers burns and wounds to save a child from a burning house. She says, "He may dedicate this courageous act as an offering to the Fire Chief he loves and admires. He may do it to redeem the child from the malice of the arsonist who started the fire. But his suffering isn't paid to anyone in the sense of making a bargain. Likewise, God redeemed His people from the hand of Pharaoh when He rescued them in the Red Sea. But He didn't pay Pharaoh anything. He Himself was not paid anything. It was a rescue action, not a business transaction, and our redemption by Christ is the same." Well said.

1 comment:

  1. We have had this conversation before, and this explanation of a rescue really exemplifies just how much He really loves us