Monthly Archives: July, 2016

HIS Story in Old Testament History

I penned this last weekend as a way for me to review God’s presence and activity as recorded in the Old Testament.  It contains several words and phrases to jog the memory of my students as they prepared to take their final exam.  You may find it helpful as well.

The eternal, triune God made the universe and all that it contains ex nihilo, out of nothing!
Then He made man and woman, bearers of the imago Dei, the image of Himself.
And then He promised the bruiser of Satan’s head, Jesus the Christ.
Again and again, He proved Himself to be Sovereign—sovereign over Creation, Fall & Flood!

He spared one family while destroying the rest and gave a multi-colored promise that He would never cry for forty days and forty nights again.
And then He called Abram out of Ur.
And as He passed through the pieces He proclaimed that Abram would have descendants as numerous as sand granules and star-filled skies.
And He opened Sarah’s womb.

He proved repeatedly to be God Almighty to the patriarchs, key individuals,  Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph.
And He created a nation from the seed of Jacob.
And He provided for His people through Joseph.
And then He protected a baby floating within the reeds.
And I AM appeared to Moses.

He demonstrated that He alone was God, destroying the so-called gods of Egypt as He both hardened and softened the heart of Pharaoh.
And He graciously spared the first born sons in Goshen.
And then He divided the Red Sea.
And He hurled horse and rider into the waves.
And He led His people to the thundering mountain.

And then He met with Moses like He had never met with a man before.
And He gave His people a code to help them love Him and hate sin as they prepared to enter the promised land.
And He punished those who loved the world more than God and themselves more than their neighbors.
And He purified the remnant and prepared the Army.
And although Moses’ reflected glory began to fade, the glory and holiness of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob continued to brightly burn.

And then He parted the Jordan and was with Joshua even as He was with Moses.
And He proclaimed Himself Commander of the Army of the Lord.
And He battled with and for His people.
And He raised up judges to deliver an adulterous nation.
After silence, sin and supplication God sent salvation time after time after time.
While the people continued to do what was right in their own eyes, Jehovah remained faithful to the faithful remnant.

And He provided the nation with a king—a king they deserved, having reserved a man after His own heart in the quiet fields outside Bethlehem.
And He was with David through David’s highs and through David’s lows.
And then He promised the unthinkable—that David would have a son on the throne…for eternity.

And as the nation split and as wicked kings to the north and to the south turned their back on the One True King, the Lord sent prophet after prophet to warn His people, calling them to repent and return in order that times of refreshing might follow.
But the people continued to walk in the footsteps of Gomer.
And the patience of God had reached its conclusion.

And God became angry; very angry.

And He sent the Assyrians.  722 B.C.
And He sent the Babylonians.  586 B.C.
The rods of God.

And, in dramatic fashion, the glory of God departed the temple.

Eventually the people would trickle back into the land.
The milk did not flow as it once had.
The honey wasn’t as sweet.
The rebuilding process was difficult.

But Messiah had been promised.
The forerunner had been mentioned by the final prophet.

And then God went silent.

For 400 years.

No recorded words.
No recorded appearances.
No recorded miracles.

Just silence.

Until an angel appeared to Zachariah in the temple.
“Good news of great joy” was about to be announced!

But that is NT History.

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Coming up for air

When I don’t communicate, something is up.  Maybe that is better worded:  “Something is down.”  I’m probably down.  I’m either down physically or I am buried with work.  Praise God, my health has been OK.  But I have indeed been buried with work!  For the past month, I have taught three nights a week, and two of those courses were brand spankin’ new ones for me!  Twelve hours of teaching plus at least ten hours of grading and prep while working no less than forty hours at my full-time job has fully occupied my attention!

This three-day weekend could not have arrived at a better time!

I am very much looking forward to three lazy mornings and some well-deserved rest.

Though physically worn out, I find myself rather spiritually encouraged.  Surely the content of my courses has something to do with that.  I’ve been teaching Doctrine and Practical Implications (Tuesday evenings) and Old Testament History (Monday and Thursday evenings).  Without a doubt, I have spent considerable time in God’s Word.  That is always helpful to the soul.  A second reason for my encouragement has been the response of my students, particularly my Thursday night Old Testament class.  I have a group of eight ladies and all appear to have a genuine hunger for God and/or knowledge of His Word.  Last night, I included the following question on their quiz:  Why are you interested in the content of tonight’s class?  My power point slide reminded them of our agenda for the evening:  Quiz, Review, Presentations, The Writings (Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon), Review for the Final.  Several students mentioned that they loved God’s Word and that they looked forward to learning more about the upcoming books.  Others commented that they were excited to see how they can apply what they learn in their lives.  You can image how that served as a much-needed shot in the arm for me after a long day!

After the quiz, the students shared their presentations on the Latter Prophets (the Major and Minor Prophets of the Old Testament).  One group was assigned “The Presence, Prophecies and Pictures of Christ in the Latter Prophets” and the other had the task of presenting “Godly Living in an Ungodly World from the Latter Prophets.”  Both groups did very well.  What I especially found meaningful was their admission that they were quite emotional as they prepared.  God had captivated their hearts as they studied!  Two women, in particular, said they were wrecked emotionally in the process!  One discussed the sufferings of Christ as presented by the book of Isaiah.  The other spent considerable time in Hosea and spoke about God’s intense love for Israel (then) and the Church (now).

Good stuff!

At one point, a different student mentioned something I stated in the first class.  I stressed that I wanted our time in God’s Word to be far more than an intellectual exercise.  College classes across our nation study the Old and New Testaments, but do so from a detached, objective perspective, as if the Bible was merely sacred literature from the Ancient Near East like the Epic of Gilgamesh. Belhaven University and Tim Wehse take an entirely different approach!  Doctrine has “Practical Implication”!  The Old Testament is meant to lead us to a life of worship.  Or, as we saw last night, we are to fear God and keep His commandments (Eccl. 12:13).  The Psalms we considered reminded us of the character of our God and motivated us to “Praise the Lord!”

So tonight I find myself exhausted, but grateful.  I am thankful for God’s assistance over the past month and I am thankful that I have been able to lead some pretty awesome students in a study of God’s Word and the truth contained therein.  Once again, I have been challenged by the contents of the Bible and I have been blessed by the response of many of the students willing to walk with me in the journey!

And those were fast ten years as a college professor and one long month!