Monday, July 25, 2011
Yesterday we began exploring a bird's eye overview of the Bible by noting its major themes. We looked at three of them: Creation, Catastrophe and Patriarchs - themes which summarize the first 2200 years or so of biblical history in the book of Genesis. Today we want to continue, noting three other themes that will cover the time from Moses and the Exodus right up to the time before the reign of the Kings in Israel. Observe how often books and sections of the Old Testament can give helpful illustrations of truths pertaining to your Christian walk.
Theme Four: Moses
Moses stands at the gateway of what will become the nation of Israel. Truly God’s calling and molding of Moses into a prophet, a statesman, a leader and as a broken man speaks volumes to what it means to walk with God. Exodus through Deuteronomy, as well a Psalm 90 (and possibly the book of Job) represents the key writings of this remarkable man. Chief of the events in Moses’ life was how God used him to lead 2 million Israelites across the Red Sea. This event is mentioned over 25 times in the Old Testament, certifying God’s use of this man in the life and theology of the Old Testament. The Exodus event, as you will see below, pictures salvation.
Theme Five: Conquest
Following the heels of Moses’ death, Joshua, his faithful aid, becomes the new leader of the mighty nation. Joshua and the people of God are called to take possession of the land promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Utter conquest of 7 Canaanite nations and over 100 cities describe the call of Joshua and the Israelites. Conquest is a vital theme, since in the Book of Joshua we can learn vital truths pertaining to the overcoming Christian life (please compare the theme of "more than conquerors" in Romans 8:32-39). If you were to take the Red Sea Crossing in Exodus and the Conquest of Canaan in Joshua, they both represent two essential truths of the Christian life.
The Exodus pictures for us salvation, conversion, being brought forth from the bondage to sin into the freedom of salvation in Jesus Christ (Paul draws this connection in 1 Corinthians 10 and 2 Corinthians 5:7). Joshua and the Conquest picture for us the Christian's growth in Christ following salvation - i.e sancitfication. It is in this book we learn the vital lesson of fighting the good fight of faith and overcoming the enemy through the word of God, the cross and the Spirit's leading. The writer in Hebrews 3 mentions this connection between Joshua and the Christian life by describing growth in Christ as entering into the "rest of God".
Theme Six: Judges
What happens when there is no order, no God-ward focus among the people of God? Judges helps us to understand the results of such a sad and oft repeat reality. Though the generation under Joshua had for the most part conquered Canaan land, the areas that they refused to conquer came back to bite the next generation. It would not take long before a cycle of sin and bondage would come to dominate Israel. Judges and Ruth both give the shocking picture of what takes place when one generation fails to pass on the truth of God’s glory to the next generation.
These two books also picture for us what occurs when the believer refuses to take "possession of the land of their soul", and allow compromise and self to lead them. This state, called "carnality" (or worldliness, "getting in the flesh") is something of which the scripture commands us to wage war against. Passages such as 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 describes such a battle, faught in the area of our thoughtlife, bringing every thought and attitude under the obedience of Jesus Christ.
Thankfully, despite the people's pattern of "getting stuck in the rut", the God of glory did not give up on them. As is always the case, 2 Timothy 2:13 gives us the reason why God will not let the Christian remain for long in a such a state: "If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself."
Tomorrows Blog will explore more themes as we aim to gain a bird's eye view of the Bible. May the Lord richly bless you this day, dear reader.