The Gospel in Exodus Four and in the City

The hearts of city dwellers cry out for redemption. On the surface it is often a cry for a Moses-like redeemer who can deliver them from their existential despair often magnified in urban living. Sometimes religion becomes the futile redeemer in its attempts to address this despair. Others seek to remedy their condition in the pursuit of licit and illicit pleasure. Yet, equally futile are the more satisfying, yet deceptively self-affirming, activities of philanthropy, pursuing justice, and working against poverty. Existential despair is too deep for superficial antidotes and too complex for self-diagnosis.


Only Jesus hears the cry of the soul for redemption. All other redeemers are deaf. And if other redeemers could hear the cry of the soul, their response would be either a lie or a placebo. As Augustine said: “Thou hast made us for thyself; and our souls will never be at rest until they rest in Thee.”    more 

3 Responses to “The Gospel in Exodus Four and in the City”

  1. Steve,
    Might I (hopefully kindly and graciously) respond here and ask for a clarification because I think this highlights some concerns that I have and I wonder how you would answer them (knowing this is not originally yours).
    You say, A redeemer like Moses is welcome but his own failures and his incomplete deliverance leave the people longing for One who can perfectly and finally deliver them.
    In the text of Exodus 4, I see nothing about a city (though there may be some specific application there … I don't know … It's certainly not the meaning of the passage … but that's a side point).
    Here's the major point of concern: In the text of Exodus 4 and the rest of Exodus, I see nothing about the people longing for a perfect and final deliverance/deliverer. In fact, the major response of Israel to Moses is not "Give us a better redeemer" but "We should have stayed in Egypt."
    On what textual basis do we say that the people were longing for a perfect and final redeemer?

  2. When Moses intervened in the argument and slew the Egyptian “he supposed that his brothers would understand that God was giving them salvation by his hand” (Acts 7:24).  Did he suppose this because there was an expectation of deliverance? Later when he returned to Egypt (chp. 4) the people believed when they heard the Lord had visited them. Certainly in their slavery they were not unaware of the promise of a redeemer or at less hopeful of redemption since God had promised to visit them after 400 years.  How much they knew from oral traditions passed down we don’t know. I think what John is doing is more analogous with the enslaved human condition and the groaning of the weight of sin that can be lifted only by the Redeemer. The complaint of the Israelites that they should’ve stayed in Egypt was after their physical deliverance and in a state of unbelief or lack of faith.  John can chime in here since he wrote this.


  3. I could have said that better and have revised it to:
    "A redeemer like Moses is welcome but his own failures and his incomplete
    deliverance should have left them longing for the One who would perfectly and
    finally deliver them."
    Also, I recognize that I am often making applications to urban ministry that are only implicit in the text, but since I am in a city, I assume that God's Word applies to urban believers within their context, but obviously, not only their context.
    Thanks for helping me state things more clearly.

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