(Following is a short summary of the first part of the story I tell the pastors in each conference. I usually take one or two hours to develop what I’ve summarized below.)
The story I tell the pastors starts with God, who always existed. At some point in time several thousand years ago He chose to create the world in 6, 24 hour days. He spoke and it came into being. The high point of His creation was Adam and Eve, the first people. He created man in His image, which means we had a free will so we could voluntarily choose to follow God and not be forced to like robots. That was very important to God. Unfortunately that also gave mankind the option to reject God and thus be condemned to separation from Him forever. To pay for man’s sin, so we wouldn’t be separated from Him, the Second Person of the Trinity volunteered to enter time as a human being and take on the payment for all of our sins. This was first revealed to man in Genesis 3:15, a key passage in the Bible. Satan will wound Jesus but Jesus will destroy Satan. The battle between God and Satan, which started in heaven with Satan’s expulsion, now is fought on earth.
Adam and Eve, Cain and Able and on it goes to the days of Noah and the flood when things became so bad God brought judgment on those who followed Satan. After starting to repopulate the earth with Noah’s family, judgment again came on the tower of Babel and those who followed Satan’s rebellion against God.
God then chose one man to make a nation in order to reveal His truth and His Son to the world. Abraham followed God, despite times of unbelief. He was even willing to sacrifice his only son to God but didn’t have to because God provided a sacrifice. Through this even God is teaching more about His Son, the ultimate sacrifice for all, who will die near the very location Abraham almost sacrificed Isaac.
Following Abraham the story continues with Isaac, Jacob and Joseph who was sold into slavery in Egypt and provided safety for his whole family to move there. Four hundred years later God used Moses to lead the people out of Egypt and prepare them to enter the promised land. God continued reveling His plan of redemption by having the people sacrifice a young male lamb and apply its blood to the house where they lived. In safety from the angel of death, the found nourishment in the body of the lamb. John the Baptizer called Jesus the “Lamb of God,” showing this as a picture of what Jesus would sacrifice to protect and nourish those who believe in Him.
Joshua, a picture of Jesus, led the people into the Promised land. They had to follow and fight but God provided the victory. After settling the land a series of Judges ruled the land, people like Samuel, Gideon, Deborah and Samson. Ruth lived during this terrible time. Boaz became her kinsman-redeemer, another picture of the coming work of Jesus who, as our near relative (being human), was willing and able to pay the necessary price to redeem Ruth and Naomi from their bondage and poverty and restore them to a privileged place of honor.
Things got so bad during the time of the judges that they insisted on having a king, like the other nations. Saul, the first king, had no heart for God. David, the second, had a whole heart for God but Solomon, the third, only had a half heart for God. At the end of his reign the nation split into two. The northern 10 tribes, Israel, continued to rebel against God and were taken into captivity by Assyria. Shortly thereafter the southern kingdom, Judah, composed of 2 tribes, also went into captivity, this time to Babylon. God had sent many prophets to warn the people to turn back to him but the majority failed to do so and experienced His judgment instead. They also gave many prophecies of the coming Messiah and His future Kingdom.
After 70 years in captivity God allowed some Jews to return from Babylon to Palestine, fulfilling promises He made to establish His Kingdom through David’s family forever! The Old Testament ends there in darkness and misery, awaiting God to come rescue them as He promised. (January 23, 2016)
Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
Psalm 11:9 He provided redemption for his people; he ordained his covenant forever— holy and awesome is his name.
Think about this greatest of all stories today. Keep bringing your thoughts back to this part of it. Meditate on it. Thank God for it over and over and over. Think where your life would be without it!
(A future blog will continue this short summary of that wonderful story.)