Session 4 Recap: Dr. Stephen Wellum, “Moses”
Editor’s Note: Mike McDonald is the Lead Pastor at Faith Church, Rio Rancho,
NM. He is a member of the Albuquerque Chapter of The Gospel Coalition. This
post is a summary of Dr. Stephen Wellum's message from Saturday afternoon at Clarus,
March 17, “Moses."
Stephen began by connecting the covenant promises made with Abram in Genesis 12 with the covenant God makes with Israel in Exodus 19, continuing the theme of the single story of Christ through the Scriptures.
Promises are words that unite a person with their character. In Scripture, God’s promises are always tied to covenants. The covenants reveal that God is a promise-keeping God; these covenants lead us to Christ.
Moses’s covenant with God begins in Exodus, but it builds upon the promises and covenants of Genesis. It is important for us to see the tension that exists with the preceding covenants. It is through the offspring of Adam that God will provide, yet salvation has not yet come. It is in this that the covenant with Moses comes now to the nation of Israel which echoes back to the promise made to Abraham.
Israel’s covenant with God is built from the Abrahamic covenant. Tied to that, this covenant is built from God’s grace. Further, at this point Israel is a nation, which is a part of the promise made to Abraham. Then we see in this covenant that Israel is to be a kingdom of priests. They are to carry up what began in Adam as a people who would live and dwell in the presence of God.
This responsibility of priesthood carried two specific aspects for Israel. The first was that through this nation the Messiah would come. The second aspect of priesthood was for Israel to be a model nation to the world. They were to be distinct and separate from the nations of the world. Wellum said, “They were to show to the world what it is to be rightly related to God, to one another, and to be an image-bearer of God.”
He argued that this covenant has a strong emphasis centered around obedience. This is seen in both the blessings and curses seen in the covenant. Israel will fail in obedience, and like Adam, will be booted from the land. But one will come from Israel that will be completely obedient, who will fulfill the obligations of the Law, and that one is Christ.
He showed that there are patterns and structures seen in this covenant. These structures in the covenant help us to see forward to Jesus and His work.
God delivers the people – The dramatic story of the Exodus details the deliverance of the people. But it points us to the reality that everyone needs to be delivered from sin.
Passover – The final plague fell on both Egypt and Israel. It points us forward to see that we need more than a Levite or a ram, but the Son of God to take our sin.
Moses – He was a great deliver. He was priestly. He is uniquely a great prophet. Yet even he fails to keep the covenant.
Old Covenant – The covenant looks back to Abraham and Adam but also forward to the fact that God will raise up a king. In Deuteronomy 17 God promises a king that will come.
Conclusion: It is in this that we see the role of the Old Covenant. Moses never gets into the Promised Land. There is no human covenant partner that has obeyed fully. Moses points to a better Moses. Israel points to better priest. Through Israel God’s promises will be realized. What this screams is our need for God to act, and we need Him to provide a perfect covenant keeper, which only happens with the arrival of Jesus.