Ethics and the Old Testament–God’s Grace

The Lord’s messenger appeared to him in a flame of fire in the middle of a bush. Moses saw that the bush was in flames, but it didn’t burn up. Then Moses said to himself, Let me check out this amazing sight and find out why the bush isn’t burning up. When the Lord saw that he was coming to look, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” Moses said, “I’m here.” Then the Lord said, “Don’t come any closer! Take off your sandals, because you are standing on holy ground.” He continued, “I am the God of your father, Abraham’s God, Isaac’s God, and Jacob’s God.” Moses hid his face because he was afraid to look at God. (Ex 3:2-6)

Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered my covenant. Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the LORD. (Exod. 6:5–8).

God gets the attention of Moses through the burning bush and introduces himself as the God of the patriarchs, Elohim. God didn’t give Moses the law there and send him down to Egypt with a message demanding obedience; if you do this, then I will redeem you, no!

Instead, God hears the cry of the Israelites, remembers their covenant relationship, and sets about redeeming the people.  Amazing grace was present, and God was in action all the time.  In your Bibles, you will see that it was an extensive period before the law was introduced.  Even then, you must wonder whether those ‘ten words’ were given not because God desired control but because the people needed to be kept on track. Throughout this journey from Egypt to the promised land, we see the people’s desire to go back to bondage. If you get into your car and trust your GPS, how much more should we trust God.

About Terry Threadwell

Dr. Terry Threadwell has thirty five years ministry experience. Author, educator and Director of the Institute of Progressive Pentecostal Studies.
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