Exploring the Word of God has unfathomable power. It is a weapon and tool to be used in the spiritual war that is being waged all around us. Whether we realize it or not, there are eternal forces making glorious and also devastating moves each and every moment of the day (and night). As if that was not enough, we also have this nature inside us that we are born with. This nature attempts to overpower us. It attempts to blot out Light. But for those who know and have tasted the goodness of the Lord through the saving power of Jesus Christ, nothing, whether temporary or eternal, has power over you!
So this is a call to the tired to come to the waters and finally find their rest in the King by seizing the victory that He secured when He died on the cross and was raised from death for you! This is a call to the burdened to take up their sword!
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. | Hebrews 4:12
GENESIS – Sin comes into this world, and no matter what mankind does, we do not have the power to control or stop it. We need a Savior, and the prophecy of the One who will crush the serpent’s head begins to unravel in this Book of the Bible. Genesis establishes many major characters including Noah, Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph, and it sets the stage for Moses and the Israelites as they exit Egypt.
EXODUS – Exodus is a metaphorical account of sin. The Israelites are in bondage under the Egyptians, and they desperately need a savior, and that savior is Moses. He is a representation of Christ, and he is a servant and messenger of God. God uses Moses to deliver the Israelites out of the hand of the Egyptians, and He uses Moses to deliver the first covenant to the Israelites. The first covenant offers redemption for the Israelites, but it seems as though no man could ever abide by it. It constantly points towards the need for a new and everlasting covenant (Galatians 3:11) Exodus is a beautiful image of bondage under sin and God’s merciful deliverance from that bondage.
LEVITICUS – When reading Leviticus, it seems like it is ripe with drab lists of requirements and outdated judgements, but when you look at the Book as a whole, it is a strong testament to the holiness of God and the importance of offering and worship.
NUMBERS (Part 1, 2, 3, 4) – In Genesis, Exodus, and Leviticus, we saw the formation, salvation, and sanctification of the Israelites, and in Numbers the Israelites begin their journey from Mount Sinai, where they received the law, to the land that was promised to them. In order to make it there and to conquer the land, the Israelites needed two things from God: faithfulness to Him and the law, and strength.
DEUTERONOMY (Part 1, 2, 3) – In Numbers we saw the children of Israel go through a great journey from Mount Sinai to the promised land. Along the way however, we witnessed the unfaithfulness, worry, and complaining of the Israelites that so vividly describes much of our lives even to this day. The biggest moment of unfaithfulness was when they trusted in the bad reports of spies over the promise of God. Because they refused to enter the land that God had promised to give them, the Lord cursed them to wander through the wilderness for 40 years. He vowed that those above a certain age would never enter the promised land. Deuteronomy begins after the 40 years. The Israelites have again arrived at the promised land, and this time it is a new generation that needs to hear and/or remember their history. They need to be reminded of the law that has the power to grant them a relationship with a holy God, and they need to prepare themselves to conquer the land that was promised to God’s own nation.
JOSHUA (Part 1, 2, 3) – Before Moses’ death at the end of Deuteronomy, Joshua is identified as his successor. The book of Joshua simply chronicles the appointed leadership of Joshua over the Israelites. At the beginning of this book, we see Joshua finally take on the mantle of leader and we follow his journey as he leads the Israelites in conquering the land promised to them by the Lord. The long, eventful, and sometimes radical conquest takes place through the book of Joshua. After it’s all said and done, we see the promised land allotted to the tribes of Israel. The book of Joshua celebrates the fulfillment of the Lord’s promises while also portraying the severity of His righteous judgement that comes to pass by His unquestionable power. The Israelites could not have conquered the land without the clear and unwavering strength of the Lord.
JUDGES (Part 1, 2, 3) – As the time of great leaders like Moses and Joshua comes to an end. We see the Israelites established with the Lord as their King and His commandment as their law. Although they have successful inherited the land promised to them, there are still remnants of the people who formerly inhabited the land. Judges explores the life of the Israelites as they contend with the remaining Canaanites. These circumstances again prove the Israelites utter dependence on the Lord by showcasing their constant unfaithfulness and His complete faithfulness and power. Although at the end of Joshua we saw the end of an era of great leaders, the Lord continues to empower leaders in the form of Judges to save and judge the children of Israel.
RUTH – This book of the Bible is a gem shining from the mess of unfaithfulness and darkness that tainted the time of the Judges. It is a wonderful example of faithfulness, humility, and eternal redemption compacted into a short story of only 4 chapters! As the book begins, the stage is set in the midst of the time of Judges, in which the children of Israel had no king and “everyone did what was right in his own eyes”. Despite the circumstances , we see the light of God’s glory shine so bright that darkness could not comprehend it; we read of the great woman of God, Ruth.
1 SAMUEL (Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) – The first book of Samuel details the life of major biblical characters such as Hannah, Samuel, Saul, Jonathan, and David. At the end of Ruth we learned that Ruth and Boaz had a boy named Obed, who was the father of Jesse, and Jesse was the father of David whose line would eventually lead to Jesus Christ. 1 Samuel describes an important shift from the time of the Judges over Israel to the time of Kings, and although that shift was an indication of the wayward heart of the Israelites, we still see God’s perfect will played out in a wonderful way through many characters and events. But of all the things that happened throughout the book, it was the life of David that is of particular importance.
2 SAMUEL (Part 1, 2, 3, 4) – The second book of Samuel chronicles the majority of David’s life as King of Israel. From the death of Saul to David’s old age, we get a compact snapshot of all that David faced and did for the Lord. Among his countless victories and empowered rule as King, we also see clear failings (sin). Those failings had frightening consequences, but the Lord was faithful to see through them and to hold fast to the promise to establish David’s kingdom forever! The book introduces many characters including Nathan, the prophet, Ish-bosheth, Saul’s son, Joab, David’s general, Bathsheba, Uriah’s wife, Absalom, Solomon, and many more! All of these men and women play an important role in defining the heart of man towards God and the propensity of the same to sin, and we also see the terrible consequences of allowing the fruit of sin to come forth. But above all, we are constantly reminded of the Lord’s faithfulness and power to redeem all no matter the circumstance.
1 KINGS (Part 1, 2, 3, 4) At the beginning of this book, we see an old King David in the final days of his life. As David’s time as King comes to an end, there is immediately turmoil in the kingdom as Adonijah, David’s son with Haggish, attempts to seize the throne. However, Bathsheba gains the blessing of David to make Solomon King. Solomon goes on to be blessed by the Lord with unmatched wisdom. He serves the Lord in many ways, in particular he establishes the first permanent temple of the Lord. Unfortunately, Solomon turns from the Lord and is swayed by the gods of his many wives. Because of his unfaithfulness, Israel is stripped from the house of David, but for the sake of the faithful David, the Lord allows the lineage of David to rule over Judah. Jeroboam the son of Nebat is appointed the new ruler of Israel, and we see a division of the rulers of the 10 tribes of Israel and those of Judah that is plagued with much unfaithfulness, selfishness, division, idolatry, and many evil things. Eventually Elijah and Elisha, the prophets, are brought into the equation as advocates for the Lord, but we continue to see many rulers turn from the Lord. Most notable of them all was Ahab and his wife Jezebel who incited him to do evil in the site of the Lord. Ahab did eventually repent, but the Lord punished him to death and his successor nonetheless. Every king of the 10 tribes of Israel through Jeroboam did evil before the Lord, but the kings of Judah wavered serving the Lord whole heartedly at times.
2 KINGS (Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) Following the aftermath of the evil king Ahab and his evil wife Jezebel, 2 Kings begins with the final days of Elijah. Elijah is eventually taken up to heaven, and Elisha takes his place as prophesied in 1 Kings. We then see much of what Elijah prophesied come to pass. As prophesied Elisha serves the Lord mightily after Elijah. As prophesied, Ahab and his line are completely destroyed. As prophesied Jezebel is killed and eaten by dogs. As prophesied Hazael takes the mantel of Syrian king. As prophesied Jehu is appointed over Israel. We see so much come to fruition and despite all the evil that persists among the people, we still see hope through many good rulers and deeds through people such as Elisha, King Hezekiah, King Jotham, King Josiah, and even people outside of the Kingdom of Israel like Naaman, the Syrian general. As a whole, the reign of the Kings of Israel and Judah are continued in this book, but we see the steady downfall of both kingdoms. Eventually the divided nation comes to a tipping point, and we see the complete fall of both. We see Israel fall to the Assyrian empire, and shortly after, we see Judah fall to the Babylonian empire. Through it all though, we continue to see the faithfulness, mercy, and judgement of the Lord.
1 CHRONICLES (Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) – After reading of the history of Israel and Judah from Genesis through 1st and 2nd Kings, we come to 1 Chronicles. At the end of 2 Kings, we were left with the 10 tribes of Israel under the captivity of Assyria, and the tribes of Judah (Judah, Benjamin, and the Levites) under Babylonian captivity. The Book of 1 Chronicles rehashes the genealogies established from Genesis to 2 Kings. It seems as though the book is written as a refresher or reminder of the history of the captive nation with particular focus on the lineage of David within the nation of Judah. In 1 Chronicles we learn of the line of David and the descendants of all 12 tribes traced all the way back to Adam, but there is particular emphasis on David no doubt because the Lord had established his kingdom forever! After the genealogies, the history lesson begins with death of Saul and anointing of David as King over Israel. The reminder continues in great detail throughout this chapter till the point of David’s death and Solomon’s anointing as King in his place.
2 CHRONICLES (Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)– After the death of David, 2 Chronicles begins with the powerful reign of his son, Solomon. 2 Chronicles essentially follows the history of 1 Kings and 2 Kings with a focus on the nation of Judah, which split from Israel after Solomon’s reign. This focus was no doubt because of King David who’s throne was to be established forever in Christ, the Lion of Judah. For all his wisdom, Solomon clearly experienced all the vanity of the world and was eventually swayed by other gods during his lifetime. Because of his unfaithfulness, Israel was stripped from the house of David and given to Jeroboam, but the Lord allowed David’s line to rule separately over the tribe of Judah because of His promise to David and because of David’s faithfulness. Unfortunately, as we know, the tribe of Judah, much like the rest of Israel, had many ups and downs and slowly declined to the point of falling into captivity under the Babylonian empire, rounding out the book.
EZRA (Part 1, 2)– In Ezra we fast forward through 70 years of Babylonian captivity, and we come to the proclamation of Cyrus, king of Persia and conqueror of Babylon, who, stirred up by the Lord himself, released the people of Judah so they might rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. So the line of David returned to Jerusalem under decree of Cyrus, and they immediately rejoiced. Within the first year, they rebuilt the altar, and the next year, they started rebuilding the temple of the Lord. As time passed and the building continued, the surrounding nations took offense and tattled forcing the Israelites to stop construction, but guided by the Lord, they soon continued despite opposition. After this, Ezra the scribe/priest returned to Jerusalem with a second wave of Israelites who were documented in great detail and number as the first. Ezra proceeded to guide the nation in the way of the Law finding particular issue in unequally yoked marriages.
NEHEMIAH (Part 1, 2) – The cupbearer to the Persian King Artaxerxes was called by the Lord to go back to Jerusalem and restore a seemingly wayward and discouraged nation of captives who had returned under the time of Zerubbabel and Ezra. Most notably, the city and freshly rebuilt temple was open to enemies since the surrounding walls had not been rebuilt. So he worked hard to organize the Israelites to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem in record time (only about 52 days!), and as governor, he worked in conjunction with the priest, Ezra, to renew the nations understanding and passion for the book of the law of Moses.
ESTHER – Esther is a powerful book of trials, favor, courage, irony, and ultimately God’s sovereignty. The key players in the Book include the Persian King Ahasuerus, Esther, Mordecai—Esther’s guardian and 1st cousin, and Haman—King Ahasuerus’ right-hand man. These characters are all part of an archetypal story of none other than Jesus Christ and the cross. Esther is shown favor and is blessed with great position, and Mordecai, in his faithfulness to the Lord, consistently acts nobly despite expected consequences. This sets up all things to work together for good towards both Esther and Mordecai when Haman sets his heart against them. Although the name of the Lord is not mentioned once in the book—it is wonderful to know that He is clearly present and that his people are clearly loved.
*This post will be updated every time a new Book is outlined and a new post goes up!