At the start of 2013 I was living in Essen, Germany, and as is common in lots of European cities there is a central train station, a hauptbahnhof in Germany, a gare centrale if you’re in France, you get the idea…
All main trains coming from other cities do so to the main station, so in Essen we could take an intercity train and go to Düsseldorf, Dortmund, Köln, or even further afield to Brussels or Paris. As well as the main lines, there were also smaller lines, city trains, running to different parts of the city, and there was also the U-Bahn which ran underground and stopped every few hundred meters all over town. Basically, everything ran through this main hauptbahnhof, as it was central to everything else, everything else came and went via the main station.
In Amos today we read of the centrality of the Exodus to God’s people in the time before Christ;
1 Hear this word that the LORD has spoken against you, O people of Israel, against the whole family that I brought up out of the land of Egypt:
2 “You only have I known of all the families of the earth;
therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.
3 “Do two walk together, unless they have agreed to meet?
4 Does a lion roar in the forest, when he has no prey?
Does a young lion cry out from his den, if he has taken nothing?
5 Does a bird fall in a snare on the earth, when there is no trap for it?
Does a snare spring up from the ground, when it has taken nothing?
6 Is a trumpet blown in a city, and the people are not afraid?
Does disaster come to a city, unless the LORD has done it?
We see how central the Exodus is right from the start, against the whole family that I brought up out of the land of Egypt. God is speaking through Amos and says look, all that has happened to you has been my doing, and you have seen me working in ways that no other people have, You only have I known of all the families of the earth. The amazing things that happened to Israel could only have been God working so powerfully and evidently, vv.3-6 are six obviously true statements that lead to the inevitable conclusion that nothing happens unless the LORD has done it.
So, in a nutshell, the Exodus was so central because it was when God’s people saw God deliver them from slavery, bondage, and oppression into the life He had prepared for them.
For us, we are so fortunate now to live in a post-cross time. We can look back to the cross as being central to all we do. As Amos is pointing Israel back to the Exodus, we should continually be looking back to the cross, and it should be central to all we do.
Whether we are doing major train line-style things, whether we are moving between the parts of our day, or whether we are doing the thousands of little, unnoted, unnoticed, and seemingly unimportant things that we do each day, as a hauptbahnhof is central the life of a European city, so should the cross of Christ be central to the life of a believer.