The ‘So That’ God
As I was reading Exodus, I was struck by the purposes of God. Often, we think of Exodus as a magnificent story of Israel’s deliverance from slavery, of God’s mighty miracles, and of God’s sacred ten commandments given as the Law. Indeed, the book of Exodus captures all these marvelous events, yet we will be missing a key point if we do not understand the ‘so that’ God. Yes, God redeemed His people, but for what purpose? Not just to rescue them, but to free them so that they can worship Him.
Where do I see this? When Moses went to Pharaoh for the first time:
Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival to me in the wilderness.’” (Exodus 5:1)
And again in Exodus 7:16 –
Then say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to say to you: Let my people go, so that they may worship me in the wilderness. But until now you have not listened.
And then again in Exodus 8:1 –
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me.
Over and over again throughout the book of Exodus, we are told that God’s people are redeemed not just so they can enjoy freedom, or the wealth of the Egyptians which they took with them, or even to enjoy God’s presence with them as they travel in the wilderness. They are redeemed for a greater purpose – to worship and glorify Him. The lesson I am learning from this is that in enjoying the blessings and gifts bestowed to me by my Father, I must also not forget the Giver and His Kingdom’s work. To seek from God only blessings, wealth, health, good fortune is to have a one-dimensional faith that does not fully capture the magnitude of God’s call in our lives. We are blessed so that we can be a blessing. We are redeemed so that we can reflect His glory. We are loved so that we can love others.
Like Moses, we cannot stay at the burning bush. Much as we would like to tarry in God’s presence, there comes a time where we must arise and be on our way, to go into the world and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything Jesus has commanded us.