Show me Your glory, I pray.
I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that ourancestors were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink…These things happened to them to serve as an example, and they were written down to instruct us, on whom the ends of the ages have come.
1 Corinthians 10:1-4a,11
Do you ever wonder what the Christian life looks like? How would you describe to someone the twists and turns of the faith journey? How would you know if you are making progress on the way? How can you walk alongside others to help in their journeys?
It was during a dark night of the soul when I happened upon today’s scripture text that sheds light on the faith journey. Here the apostle Paul compares the Christian life to the Biblical story of the Exodus. He writes about the Israelites “baptized” in the waters of the Red Sea as Moses leads them from the bondage of Egypt, through the Wilderness towards the Promised Land. Paul reminds us how in that journey God provided manna to eat and water from a rock. Then Paul concludes that the things that happened to God’s people in that journey “…happened to them to serve as an example, and they were written down to instruct us…”.
Significantly, the Greek word translated “example” is tupos, from which we derive our word “type”. Paul wants us to understand that the people making the Exodus journey are “types” of you and me making our Exodus journeys. Theologians Dave Bland and David Fleer write about the Exodus as a type or model of our journey of faith:
“The Exodus is a fundamental paradigmatic narrative; so it declares and so it is treated throughout all of Scripture… What God does in the Exodus is the archetype for how God acts throughout history and how God works today.” (Dave Bland, David Fleer, Reclaiming the Imagination: The Exodus as Paradigmatic Narrative for Preaching)
Add to that the words of theologian Walter Brueggemann and you see the importance of understanding the Exodus story for understanding our lives. “This is the most important story we have come to know, and we have come to believe it is a story decisively about us.” (Walter Brueggemann, The Bible Makes Sense) In the pages that follow we will see how the Exodus is more than a story that once happened, but the story of how God always acts now on behalf of His people.
- What are your thoughts, your feelings, about the Christian life being an Exodus journey?
- How do you see an ancient Israelite as a “type” of you making your journey?
- Take a moment to ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you in the coming days through the Exodus story.