Pastor Jeff's Office Hours:
The Story Summary Chapters 6-13
This is a summary of The Story from November and December covering chapters 6- 13. We saw a repeated pattern in these chapters of The Story. It was a pattern of Sin, Judgment, repentance and redemption. The people of Israel, for whom God had done so much, quickly lost their trust in God and started worshipping other Gods. We saw that even at Mt. Sinai, with the making of the Golden Calf and their fearful refusal to go in and take the Promised Land because ‘giants’ lived there.
We saw that the next generation of Israelites was faithful to God and after Moses and Aaron had died, they followed their new leader, Joshua, into the land. We saw how God fought for them just as He had in Egypt and gave them victory with mighty miracles like stopping the flow of the river Jordan, the destruction of the walls of Jericho and even stopping the sun in the sky to give them extra daylight to fight! They took the whole land.
We learned about the period of the judges and saw sadly that somehow the faith of that great generation under Joshua did not get passed on to the next generation and so the next generation sinned and worshipped other gods. We saw a pattern emerge throughout the book of Judges. The Israelites would sin/turn away from God. God would bring consequences in the form of allowing the other nations to oppress them. They would repent and cry out to God for help. God would raise up a Judge and rescue them. We realized that this pattern of Sin, Repentance and Redemption is also seen today and in our own lives, where Jesus continually forgives the sins of the repentant Christian. We also saw that God continued to use Israel to reveal Himself, to show His holy and merciful character to the world.
Like an oasis in all of this, we saw a beautiful story about a young woman who was faithful even though she was a foreigner in Israel. We saw how she was filled with God’s kind of unfailing, sacrificial love. Ruth gave up much and risked even more when she followed her mother-in-law back to Israel from Moab. But God rewarded her kindness with some of His own and she met a rich man who was also godly, kind and good. They were married and God blessed all of them. We compared this kind of love to the love of Jesus Christ, who showed us such great favor on the cross and we realized that God is calling every believer to be filled with that same kind of love.
We read about Samuel the prophet and how God raised him up in the midst of a priesthood that had turned to evil. We saw how the priests and the people of Israel were distorting the image that God had given them to project to the world. They were supposed to be God’s witnesses to the nations around them, but they were falling short everywhere. They worshiped other gods and asked Samuel for a king so they could be like all the other nations. God gave them a king—and this changed the whole course of the nation. For the rest of the life and history of Israel, the heart of the king, whether good or bad, would greatly influence the blessing of God on the nation, or the lack thereof! And we read about King Saul, who started out great, but eventually allowed being king to go to his head.
Next we read about David, the man God appointed to be king after Saul. We saw his faith, his bravery and his goodness and we saw that above all other things, he had a heart for God. He was, “A man after God’s own heart.” We saw how much he loved the Lord in the way he lived his life—in his willingness to wait on God’s timing, even for 14 years, and in his reluctance to harm Saul, “the Lord’s Anointed”. Indeed, the Bible says that David upheld God’s law all his life in everything he did…except in the case of Uriah the Hittite. We said that every Christian should strive to have a heart like David’s, to please God in all we do and to bring joy to our Creator by the way we live before Him.
We saw how even David was less than perfect though. He was a sinner like all men and women. We read about what he did with Bathsheba and with her husband Uriah the Hittite. But we also saw what he did when confronted with his sin. He repented. And God forgave him. And though there were consequences of David’s sin, he bore them with dignity with God’s help.
And finally we learned about the story of King Solomon, David’s son with Bathsheba. We saw how David’s faithfulness had caused God to bless him and the kingdom greatly and that Solomon started out on the same path. We learned of how Solomon asked God for wisdom to rule Israel well and how God blessed Solomon with wisdom and also with riches, power and fame. But we saw that Solomon had one fatal flaw that in the end brought down not only his reign but led to the splitting of the nation of Israel in two. Solomon lacked the heart for God that David his father had. As Solomon grew older, his many foreign wives led him to worship the gods of their nations and to build temples for those other gods right in Israel. He did not love God with his whole heart all his life. This sin destroyed what had been an amazing witness for God to the nations! We committed ourselves to strive to be like David and not like Solomon, that we might please God and be good witnesses for Jesus Christ our Savior!
May God continue to bless us as we study His Word together!
In Christ, Pastor Jeff