I have the privilege of leading our women’s bible study at our church. It has been a joy to be able to meet each month to open up the Word of God together. For our first study, I decided we would go through the story of Scripture. I landed on this topic because I wanted us to be able to grasp the storyline of Scripture before we began to dive into a deeper study of individuals books. However, I was not expecting the great impact this would have on all of our lives.
Before we explore the story of Scripture, let me offer you a word of encouragement. Too often we skim past the “tough” books of the Bible, especially the ones in the Old Testament. I think we easily give in to the lie that those books are solely reserved for the “trained” and “professionals.” Friends, I am here to plead with you not to believe that lie. When we believe this lie, I believe that we neglect our abilities as Spirit-indwelled believers. Paul, when writing to the church of Corinth, said,
“But, as it is written, ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.’ These things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.”-1 Cor. 2:9-10
Paul adds, “Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God (1 Cor. 2:12).” If you are a believer in Christ, you have the ability to read scripture, dive into the Word, and learn. Don’t limit your biblical education for Sunday, and don’t limit your abilities to open up the Word of God each and every day! Read scripture and find the beauty that can be found throughout its pages.
Again, before we look at the story of scripture, let me say that this is not the story in its totality. For time’s sake, I will only look at a portion of the story. With that said, let’s begin.
When you open up to the beginning of the Bible, we are greeted with the story of Creation. What a perfect way to begin a story focusing on God and His goodness. We see the beautiful artistry of God in creation. We see Him speaking into existence that which did not exist. From that, we then learn about the fall and how sin entered into the world. Even in this darkest moment, God still, in Genesis 3:15 gives Adam, Eve, and us, a promise of a coming Savior. It is incredibly reassuring to know that even after Adam and Eve sinned God was promising a second Adam to come and redeem us.
In each book of the Bible we are introduced to different people that God uses for His glory. A key person we find in Genesis is Abraham. God promises a son to Sarah (Abraham’s barren wife) and to Abraham (even in his old age!), and God fulfills that promise. Now, a son was not the only thing promised in the Abrahamic covenant. Here we see what the Israelites, God’s people, are going to face and endure, but we also see what God is going to do and how He is going to provide for them. We also see again, the promise of a Savior. While unclear of how things will happen, Abraham trusted God.
Now, Covenants were made between two parties. Covenants contained a suzerain-vassal relationship. Stay with me. Michael Horton states, “A suzerain was a great king, like an emperor, while a vassal was what we would today call a ‘client state (Introducing Covenant Theology, 24).’” Let me explain. Let’s say that a group of villages gathered together to form a confederacy. Although they are gathered together, and although they may have some resources, they are unable to provide a sufficient army to protect them against a more well-equipped military. Therefore, the leader of this confederacy appeals to a greater king. He may enter into a covenant with this king. They would be his vassal, and he would be their suzerain. The greater king would provide support for them as long as they kept their end of the bargain. The greater king would impose sanctions on the smaller villages to uphold. There would be a public ceremony that sealed the covenant. This ceremony might entail both parties to walk between slaughtered animals, as if to say, “May the same fate come upon me if I fail to keep my end of the bargain.”
The beauty of God’s covenant with Abraham was that it was only God who walked through the slaughtered animal (Gen. 15:12-16) and made the promise to His people. God was demonstrating to Abraham that He alone would be responsible for upholding the oath. In this moment God promised to Abraham that he will be faithful to His people. We see over and over again God being faithful to this covenant throughout Scripture.
In Exodus, we see the Israelites as slaves in Egypt. In a time where Pharaoh wished to kill all Jewish males, God raised up a deliverer among the Jews to save his people. Moses, even in his weak speech, was used by God to save his people. When people believed there was no way they would be free, God reminded them of His covenant. He provided a way out in the most unique way that no one but God could get the glory and recognition. When the Israelites wondered in the wilderness it was God who provided them food each and every day. It was God who provided them protection against their enemies, and it was through God that they defeated every enemy they needed to defeat, in order to reach the promise land.
God used Joshua to lead his people into the promise land. God used Rahab, a prostitute in an evil city, to protect the spies coming into Jericho. God used a Moabite lady and a Jewish man to foreshadow the coming of a kinsmen redeemer for all of us. These were not perfect people, or even the most righteous. Even so, through this lineage, the Messiah came. Even when the second generation of Israelites failed to teach their children about God, God still showed his faithfulness to His people by sending Judges to remind the Israelites of God’s covenant and the God that they had rejected.
These are just a few examples that we see in the early chapters of the Old Testament of God’s faithfulness. While I just ended here in the book of Judges, the exciting thing is it continues in each and every book. Each book we see that while the Israelites choose their own desires over God’s, and sinned constantly, God is always faithful to them. While sitting and reading these stories, it is easy to get frustrated with the Israelites. However, I encourage you to sit back and ask yourself: “as a child of God, how often do I act the same as the Israelites?”
While King David desired to build a temple for God to dwell in, God had a bigger and a better idea of Himself dwelling in each of us. Because of Christ’s death on the cross, we now have been blessed with the perfect kinsman redeemer and the gift of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. I am so thankful for the Lord’s perfect sovereign plan. No matter how uncertain we are on what is going on, we see that God’s hand is always at work, in the good and bad. May we be able to echo the words of the Apostle Paul, when he said, “If we are faithless, he remains faithful-for he cannot deny himself.” May the promises of God consistently anchor us in our assurance of salvation. I pray that I never get over the story of Scripture, the covenant faithfulness of God, and the beauty found in the Gospel of Jesus.
Soli Deo Gloria
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