A while back I stumbled upon an article called The Trouble with Exodus by Glenn Packiam. While it is initially written as a response to Ridley Scott’s movie Exodus, it goes further to describe the biblical story of Exodus within the context of the Old Testament. Glenn notes that a weakness of telling the Exodus story on its own is that the story is incomplete.
On its own, the Exodus story seems to describe a vengeful, killing deity that condones genocide. But Glenn argues—and I agree—that Exodus needs to be seen within the context of the Old Testament storyline. Specifically, Exodus needs to be seen as the first act of a 3-act play that is the Old Testament. Here’s Packaim’s breakdown of the 3 acts:
1. God comes to save his people and judge their enemies. This is the exodus.
2. The people who need saving also deserve judging. This can be seen throughout the Old Testament, but especially in the books of Kings and Chronicles.
3. The people who deserve judging also need saving. This is seen in some of the prophetic books, especially Jonah.
Glenn summarizes the end of the Old Testament like this:
It is at this point in the Old Testament that we find that things are more complicated then they seem. There aren’t simply ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’; God’s people and pagans. The people who need saving also deserve judging, and the people who deserve judgment also need saving. But how?
If the story ended with these three acts, it would seem incomplete. But the good news is that the story contains a fourth act. Found in the New Testament, this fourth act is:
4. Jesus saves and judges by taking the judgment upon himself.
In Jesus, God changes the story of the Old Testament—from one of pain and suffering, hoping for God’s deliverance to a story that hope actually comes. In Jesus, God answers the question the Old Testament writers asked: Who will save us?Tweet