Pastor Jeff's Office Hours:
Back in 2012 when we did The Story for the first time, I took the opportunity to use my space in the Beacon to write up summaries each month of what we had covered so far in the sermon series and Bible study. At least a few people said they found this helpful as they continued forward in the reading, and some who joined in part way through were glad to have the summaries to get them up to speed. With that in mind, I’m going to do the same thing again this time around! I’ll be looking back at what I wrote then and adapting it for our current study of The Story. So, here it is…our summary of Chapters 1-6…the Story so far!
We learned that God created the universe and the earth and all that is in it. He made mankind in His Image and wanted to be with His new creation in a close relationship. We learned that Adam and Eve disobeyed God and sin entered the world. Sin has damaged us in a number of ways. Most importantly, it has separated us and our world from God, bringing all kinds of trouble and heartache into God’s perfect creation. We also learned that God loves us so much that He wanted to save us, so He put a rescue plan into action—a plan to redeem us out of sin, a plan to restore to us all the blessings of the Garden of Eden that we lost in the fall—most importantly to bring us back to a close relationship with Him.
We learned that God chose a man named Abraham and his wife Sarah to start a new nation which would be the first step in this plan to redeem a people out of sin and its consequences. They were barren and old, but nothing is too hard for God. We learned that God was going to reveal Himself to Israel and to the world through them, and that He would eventually use them to bring forth a savior for all people.
We learned how Israel ended up in Egypt—and that there is both an upper story and a lower story to The Story. In the lower story our lives can sometimes seem bleak and filled with trouble, but Joseph found out that in the upper story, God is moving His plan forward. He is able to use all things, even serious troubles, both for our good and to bring His plan to fruition!
In Egypt God blessed Israel and they grew to a mighty nation. But a new Pharaoh became fearful of them and made them slaves. God chose Moses to be His prophet and brought Israel out of Egypt with 10 mighty plagues and many miracles. He revealed His Name to Moses and His might to Egypt and the entire world.
In the wilderness, at Mt. Sinai, God made a covenant with Israel. He agreed to be their God and to dwell among them. All they had to do was obey His commands. But because of sin, the Israelites were not able to keep God’s law, and neither are we. So we saw that the ultimate purpose of God’s law was to show us how much we need a savior! Then in the fullness of time, a savior came!
We saw how the people of Israel whom God had brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand, who had seen all His wonders and miracles, to whom God had given His holy law, quickly lost their trust in God and went back to worshipping other gods. They made the golden calf at Sinai. When the time came to go in and take the land they did not trust God enough but in fear refused to go in. We saw how God sent them back into the wilderness for 40 years and then tried again with their children, the next generation of Israelites.
May the Lord bless our congregation and each of us as we seek to understand His Word and through it to know and celebrate the mighty acts of righteousness, love and grace that He has done for us! Please keep me in your prayers as I seek to open up the Word to us all, by the power of God’s Spirit!
P.S. The Story was arranged by, and its materials, commentaries and sermon helps written by, Max Lucado and Randy Frazee.