First comes the redemptive work of God on behalf of the people. This serves to ground their precarious existence in the deliverance from both historical and cosmic enemies that God accomplishes on their behalf. The elect people is now a redeemed people. Only then is the law given at Sinai. The law is a gift to an already redeemed community. The law is not the means by which the relationship with God is established; God redeems quite apart from human obedience. But then the concern for the law suddenly fills the scene, not only in Exodus, but in the remainder of the Pentateuch. Central to the law is the issue of faithfulness to God alone, particularly as manifested in proper worship. Such faithfulness and other forms of obedience are certainly in Israel’s own interests for the best life possible (see Deut. 4:4). But Israel is called beyond itself to a vocational covenant within the Abrahamic covenant (see at 19:1; 24:1). Israel’s obedience is ultimately for the sake of being a kingdom of priests among the other peoples of the world (19:4-6)…Obedience remains central for the sake of witness and mission to the world. And God’s tabernacling presence undergirds Israel on that journey (p. 22).
Exodus (Interpretation; WJK, 1991), 22
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