No, the sermon text this week will not be from the book of Exodus. The book we call by that name is certainly worthy of our attention and study but that portion of Scripture will not be the immediate and primary focus of this week’s sermon. However, one could hardly read more than a few chapters of the Bible before encountering a reference or pattern suggesting the exodus of Israel from Egypt. The sermon text this week clearly fits that pattern.
Jewish scholar, Yair Zakovitch has written that “no other event in the history of Israel is given so much attention by biblical writers as is the Exodus – as many as one hundred and twenty references in a variety of literary genres including narrative, law prophecy and psalm ….” More than a hundred and twenty times! Note well, that Zakovitch is counting only from the Hebrew Bible. Our New Testament is also saturated with allusion and reference to the exodus.
Rather than Exodus, we will continue our short summer series in Samuel – this week looking at 1 Samuel 5-6. Last Sunday we saw how the Ark of the Covenant, a symbol of the presence, power, and provision of God amongst His people, was taken into exile by Israel’s enemy, the Philistines. Our passage describes the aftermath of that event and we will most certainly find an exodus pattern. That raises many questions: What does this mean? How does it relate to our lives today? What difference does it make? Is it simply a literary flourish or oddity?