In the Old Testament the Lord uses the beauty of the narrative story to display His great mercy toward sinful man in accounts of redemption and rescue. Indeed, the gospel is foreshadowed in many ways and all the aspects of the gospel of our Lord Jesus are illustrated in the prophecies and the narrative stories of the Old Testament. (Hebrews 1:1) One of the aspects of the gospel that is displayed in narrative story is the theme of God’s impending judgment against sin and the rescue of a chosen few who enter a place of refuge. To be specific, in Genesis 6-7 in the account of the Flood and in Genesis 19 in the account of the destruction of Sodom, there is a discernable pattern to these narratives:
- The LORD has determined to judge a people because of their sin;
- The LORD warns His chosen ones of the coming judgment (He warns directly in the case of Noah and He warns through His messengers in the case of Lot in Sodom);
- His chosen ones flee from the place of wickedness destined for judgment and enter the place of refuge where they are safe from the judgment;
- The LORD’s judgment destroys all those who do not enter the place of refuge.
I believe that if you will read carefully and thoughtfully through these two accounts in Genesis, then you will see this pattern manifested. Not only will you see this pattern in both stories, but you will also see many details that are embedded in these narratives that further illustrate and foreshadow the gospel of Christ.
Is this pattern an accident or is it coincidental that these stories follow this framework? Of course it is not accidental or coincidental! These stories are God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16) and are part of the word of God. In fact, these narratives are given to the reader to serve as a warning of the reality which confronts us. You see, there is a third “narrative” that follows this same pattern. “What narrative is that?” you ask. It turns out that the gospel declares to us that we are in a world that the Lord has determined to destroy because of our sin and rebellion, and we now await His judgment. But the Lord is gracious and compassionate, and He has sent His people out into the world to warn as many people as they can of the coming judgment and destruction. (Acts 1:8; 16:31; John 3:16, 36) The Lord has sent His people out into the world as His ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20) and His messengers to warn people of the coming judgment and to urge people to enter the only place of refuge from God’s wrath and judgment, and that is in the Lord Jesus Christ. Those who flee to Christ for refuge will be saved from the coming wrath of God, but all those who do not enter the place of refuge will perish. And this includes you and me.
I am going to spend a couple of blogs going over the narrative account in Genesis 19 and show how the Bible presents this pattern of coming judgment and divine rescue and try to highlight the details which are written into this account that so clearly and strongly pictures the gospel of our Lord Jesus in His Incarnation. I hope you enjoy it.
SDG rmb 2/7/2018