I thought we might take a little time to talk about the Old Testament.
Now that might excite you. Or, I guess, that might scare you.
Some people love the Old Testament. Some people hate it. But honestly, love it or hate it, most people are pretty confused by it.
To a certain extent, you can understand why.
After all, it’s a pretty big book. I mean, it’s really, really long. It’s got about six times as many words as the New Testament, and the New Testament already seems long, for a lot of us.
And, it’s not just long either.
Even the part of the Bible, they call New, actually, the New Testament was written a couple thousand years ago, and, the Old Testament is even older. And, to make it even more difficult, it’s not even just one book, really. It is thirty nine different books, written by many different authors, written in another language, mostly Hebrew, but with a little Aramaic in there as well to people of different cultures, containing all kinds of different writing styles.
There are ancient peoples you have never heard of before and others you don’t know much about: Amalekites, Edomites, Jebusites, Canaanites, Hittites, Philistines and on and on.
There are strange laws and customs that are very unfamiliar to most of us. As you are reading through Leviticus, you will find a whole chapter dedicated to explaining what to do in situations for example, when a man or woman has a disease on the head or the beard, and there are different suggestions based on wither there is yellow hair, or black hair, or white spots, reddish white spots. We have got chapters in other books on the kind of clothes a priest should wear, laws concerning cities of refuge, concerning warfare, what to do with unsolved murders.
This is a big, old, complicated set of books, the Old Testament.
And so obviously, you can understand, someone picking it up, and wondering, what is going on? What is this all about?
That’s a good question actually.
The first step to understanding what the Old Testament is about, is understanding, what the Old Testament is.
If, you picked up a book of quotes and didn’t know what a book of quotes was. Maybe, you think it’s supposed to be this story, and, you pick it up. You are going to be confused, why are there, these random sentences, with names under them? Until, you understand oh, this is a book of quotes, and then, at that point, you can figure out, what’s going on, and even how you are supposed to read it which is true with the Old Testament as well.
Some people think the Old Testament is a rule book. After all, it’s got all these laws. Some people think it is a magical book. Like if they just quote it, without understanding it, it can do something for them. Some people think it is a book of various teachings. Almost like, it were made up of different articles you could read on how to live your best life.
But, really, the Old Testament is much bigger and better than that.
While the Old Testament does have rules, it’s not primarily written to give you a list of things to do. While it does contain teachings, it’s not ultimately written to give you advice on how to live a good life. And while it is not magic, it is powerful.
A much better way to understand what the Old Testament is, fundamentally, is to say, the Old Testament fundamentally, is a story.
A big story.
The most important story.
A true story.
But, a story.
What is happening in the Old Testament is, God is telling a story.
It’s a story with a beginning.
If you go to the very first page of the Old Testament, what does the very first sentence say? It says, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
That’s how you start a story.
It’s a big way to start a story, but it is a way to start a story.
And it’s got an ending as well. The ending of the Old Testament is actually given in the New, the Old Testament ends on a cliffhanger, it’s not completed, but, you do get glimpses of the ending of the story, throughout the Old Testament as well.
If you go to the very last page in the book of Isaiah, as an example.
It says, “For as the new heavens and the new earth that I make shall remain before me, says the Lord.”
In the beginning we had a heavens and an earth, and now we have a new heavens and a new earth, that remain, that last.
And it’s not just this place that lasts either.
God continues,“So shall your offspring and your name remain. From new moon to new moon, and from Sabbath to Sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before me.”
In the end, we have a world that endures, a people that endure, and we have everyone, coming to worship before God.
And we also have judgment.
Isaiah ends, “And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”
Which is quite an ending.
The Old Testament story has a beginning.
It points toward an ending.
It has a plot.
The Old Testament is not just a bunch random details and facts and quotes and ideas, it’s telling us a story, with a plot, as we read the Old Testament, we see how things start, we see where things are supposed to go, and we see, something’s gone wrong and we learn what God’s doing to fix it.
It moves, slowly but surely, the Old Testament from this story about creation, ultimately, to new creation.
And that’s important, to understand because the Old Testament has a lot of stuff in it. And honestly it can feel overwhelming at first when you pick it up with all its poetry and laws and proverbs and prophecy, but all its poetry and laws and proverbs and prophecy become more clear when you understand, that, fundamentally, the Old Testament is telling a story.
It’s a huge story.
It isn’t a simple story.
Like, Jack and Jill ran up the hill or something.
The story it tells, goes from the beginning of the universe until the end.
So it’s a long story. And it contains all kinds of different characters, so it is a big story. And there’s a lot we need to know to understand what’s going on in the story, which is actually, why sometimes, as we are reading the Old Testament, it’s almost, like God puts the story on pause.
Have you ever noticed that?
You are reading Genesis, story. The beginning of Exodus, story. Then pause. Leviticus. And what God’s doing is pausing the story in order to give us the information we need, to understand the rest of what, we are reading, which is why, there are also, all these little stories and poems and laws and rituals, you read.
They, are all, somehow coming together, to help us understand this one BIG, HUGE story.
About God. About the universe. About why everything exists. And about where everything is headed.
And that means if you are going to get anything from it, you have to understand what the story is basically about.
It’s a little like going to a movie and, you come home and someone asks you, to tell them about the movie, you saw.
If you say a bunch of details. The main character wore black. He dressed up like an animal. And he had a cousin. And the cousin had these strange tattoos.
What are they going to say when you are done? They are going to say, “That’s not helpful. What was the movie about?”
Or if they ask, and you start quoting random lines from the movie.
Like. “My son, it is your time.” Or. “Guns, so primitive.”They’ll have no idea what you mean.
Because, those lines, no matter how many you quote, or how loudly you quote them, aren’t going to help them, by themselves, just like the details, don’t help them, by themselves, because, to understand the lines or details.
You have to know, what first?
One of the best illustrations I’ve heard is of a photo mosaic.
You know what a photo-mosaic is?
It’s a collection of various individual pictures. And you can do this online, if you don’t know what I am talking about. So you have all these individual pictures, grouped together, and if you look at the individual pictures, you are like what is this, there is a picture of you at a picnic, a picture of a dog, I mean, you can imagine all kinds of individual pictures, and yet all those individual pictures are brought together, so that, when you step back.
You can see a bigger picture, which is how the Old Testament works as well.
God’s bringing all these individual pictures together, to show us one big picture of what He’s doing in this world.
Which means we need to be able to answer, what is this story, about?
Now obviously there are different ways we might do that.
One way we could summarize the Old Testament is just to say, it is about God.
It’s fitting, I think, that, it opens, in the beginning God, not in the beginning man, because the Old Testament is ultimately about the greatness of God.
There are some who even describe it as the biography of God, though it probably would be better, since He is ultimately, the author, to call it the autobiography of God.
And one reason God wrote this book about Himself is so that we could see how beautiful He is, which is important, because we can be pretty selfish and so in general the person we tend to most be interested in, most of the time, is ourselves.
It’s actually kind of funny, I think, in a sad way, because, you know, we live in a big universe with lots of amazing things, and yet, with how big this universe is, and all the things that are in it, and all the stuff that is happening, in the universe, while there’s lots to think about, the person most of us are interested in hearing about and talking about os ourselves and that, is going to seriously mess up our reading of the Old Testament. If we read it, as if it were first and foremost about us because, while it has stuff to say to us, the Old Testament is first and foremost about God.
You might say that’s its purpose, it’s about the glory of God.
The story the Old Testament is about glorifying God.
That’s the reason for the Old Testament.
Though I suppose, if you wanted to get more specific, another way you could summarize the Old Testament is, to say, that, it is, especially, designed by God, to get us ready for Jesus.
What God’s doing through Jesus is so important that he takes thousands of years and all kinds of pages in our Bibles to get us, ready, to understand it. It’s kind of like if I want to teach you algebra. That’s an advanced subject. I have to teach you all these fundamentals of math, to get you ready, for it. In the Old Testament story, God’s laying the groundwork, so we can appreciate, what He’s doing through Jesus.
In Luke 24, Luke, actually, tells us that.
Apparently, after his resurrection Jesus was walking with a couple of his disciples, who were unable to recognize him.
And so, he took them back to the Old Testament. And, “beginning with Moses and all the Prophets” Luke says, “Jesus interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”
I told you a couple weeks ago it’s funny how much of the New Testament is the Old Testament.
Something like 10 percent of the New Testament is either a quote or a direct allusion to the Old Testament, and that’s, because one of the primary things the New Testaments writers were doing, was trying to help people see Jesus, there.
So if you want to summarize the Old Testament, you might say it is about God, or it’s about Jesus, but there’s at least, one more way, you might, summarize it and it’s the way Jesus Himself, most often, did.
Which is significant, since he’s the author.
The main author of the Bible is God. And so, I wonder, if you ever thought, how helpful it would be, if God who wrote the Bible, explained it? Like, what if he came into the world and went around and summarized the main message of the Old Testament for us? That would be huge.
And that’s exactly what Jesus did.
Jesus is God, and He went around preaching, and when Jesus went around preaching, He went around preaching primarily, about one thing.
And do you know what, that one thing is?
What was Jesus’ main message?
Like, if you were a Jew, living in Jesus’ day, and, you got to go hear Jesus preach.
You get there and it’s crowded, so you aren’t able to get very close. But, you can listen in. And as you listen. What do you hear?
What do you think? What is Jesus talking about?
Because we actually kind of now the answer to that question because, the gospel writers tell us over and over.
Jesus went around preaching, the kingdom of God.
Like in Luke.
In my Bible, Luke is 41 pages long, and Jesus talks about the kingdom of God, 40 times.
That’s basically once every page.
And in the gospel of Matthew, he records Jesus talking about it even more. I think it’s 1 and a half times every page.
According to Jesus, the Old Testament is about the kingdom of God.
That’s its’ theme.
The reason is the glory of God. The purpose is to get you ready for Jesus. And the theme is the kingdom of God.
Which is helpful, I think.
But for that to be really helpful, obviously, you have to know what the kingdom of God, actually is.
If Jesus went about preaching the kingdom of God.
What is the kingdom of God?
How do we figure that out?
One way you might answer that question is by looking, the word, up in a Greek dictionary, that’s what we usually do, when we don’t know what something means, we look it up in a dictionary, and since the New Testament was written in Greek, we might look it up in a Greek dictionary.
And when you do you see kingdom primarily refers to ruling, or reigning, or exercising authority.
In other words, there’s a big emphasis on the King part of kingdom.
In the Bible, Psalm 103:19 is a verse that helps us get the idea. It says, “The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.”
So what does his kingdom do?
Which sounds funny to us. I think. But king is an unusual word, actually.
There are a lot of words like say, runner. If you are a runner, what do you do, you run. If, you are a teacher, what do you do, you teach. If you are a preacher, what do you do, you preach.
But if you are king, though.
God is a king.
So if you are a king, what do you do?
Now we don’t say it like that, obviously. He rules. He reigns, which is what the heart of the word kingdom.
It’s the rule or reign of God.
But, we can’t just leave it at that, because if someone asks, what is the Old Testament about.
And you say, it’s about God ruling.
While that’s true. You are right. The question is, how does God rule?
It’s a story about God glorifying Himself through exercising His rule, the Old Testament, yes, but it’s a little more specific than that.
Like iIn Luke 17.
When the Pharisees ask, in, verse 20, when the kingdom of God would come, when the rule of God would come, they are not wondering, when is God, going to start being in charge.
Because, they totally believed that. They believed God was in charge, and yet they are still, asking when is the kingdom going to come, because clearly, they are talking about something a little more specific, than God just, ruling over the world as a King, from heaven and to understand what they specifically are talking about, I think we have go from looking at the definition of the word kingdom, back to the Old Testament story.
The Old Testament story defines the kingdom of God.
And if you want to know how the Old Testament story defines kingdom, you know where you have to start?
I don’t know, maybe, if you are ever in a Bible Trivia contest and someone asks you, where the first place in the Bible, the kingdom is described.
Do you know the first place?
The first place we find the kingdom?
It’s on the very first page.
The Old Testament opens with this beautiful picture of the kingdom of God.
It’s a story about the kingdom of God, and on the first couple of pages, it gives us a picture of what that means.
In Genesis 1, verse 1. It says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
It’s boom. Here it is.
And a lot of the rest of the Old Testament is going about Israel, but the Old Testament doesn’t start with Israel, it starts with God creating the world, which is going to tell us, that what God’s doing with Israel, is bigger than Israel, it’s about what He’s doing in the world.
And as you read the rest of this chapter, you see God taking this world that He created, “that was without form and void.” Which means, at the very least, that it didn’t have order and it was empty. He created it, but it wasn’t a place that you could inhabit, and enjoy, and so like an artist, He sets about, giving it order, and filling it as he’s crafting it into exactly what He wants it to be.
Which is good. Which is perfect. Which is beautiful. Which is exactly how we would dream the world should be.
And God said, Moses writes. And it was so. And God saw that it was good.
That’s, day 1, day 2, day 3, day 4, and day, 5. Over and over and over. We are seeing the power of God on full display.Like a King He speaks, and the universe obeys.And yet, at the same time, over and over, as we see this King work, we are also seeing His artistry, as He’s making this incredibly, beautiful place.
But the question we are asking, when you open your Bible and see God at work as He’s crafting a world and making it good is why? For what purpose?
It’s like if we were reading this story for the first time, we would be anticipating, what is God going to do?
And on the sixth day.
We find out what He’s up to, as he creates man, and says, exactly what He was, creating him for.
In Genesis 1:26-28.
And these next verses are really important for understanding what the story of the Bible is about.
As God says, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God, he created him, male and female he created them.”
And you know the kind of language that, God is using there, as he’s describing, man’s role?
This is huge.
He’s using KINGLY language.
And, for us, that’s probably most obvious in the word dominion. Because, dominion means rule. Let man rule, God says. But that kingly language is also, embedded in the idea of being made in the image of God, as well. Because, what does it mean to be made in the image of God?
It has to do with man’s role on this planet.
As someone has said, “Image carries the idea of representation.”
The word literally means statue. A statue represents someone. And we were made in such a way that we do represent God, and we were put on the planet to represent God.
That’s who we are and what we are supposed to do.
It’s actually the same word, image, that’s used in the rest of the Old Testament for idol.
When someone saw an image or idol, in the Old Testament, that idol, pointed the person back to the supposed god, it represented, and that’s part of why we are here, we were created in God’s image, designed in such a way, to serve as representatives of the one true King, pointing all of nature, and the universe, back to Him.
And do that.
Specifically, as we rule over this world, on his behalf. Like He did, I suppose originally.
You remember how. The earth was without form and void, and so God set about, bringing order, and making it beautiful, and now.
God’s tasked man with that responsibility, which is huge.
Because obviously, God could have chosen to create a world, and then rule over that world Himself, directly, but He didn’t, He chose instead, to rule over this world, through humans. It’s almost like the King placed us here, as his governors, he wants to rule this planet through us, and that becomes, even more clear in verse 28.
Where it says, “And God blessed them.”
Which is a big word for Genesis 1, and the book of Genesis actually.
Listen. God’s plan was blessing, blessing, blessing.
And how did God bless them?
“And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heaven and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
In other words, God’s good plan was to establish a kingdom here on earth, which He would rule through human representatives.
It’s like, in the very first chapter of the Bible, we’re getting a big picture, of how God originally designed the world to be, and as we look at that picture, what do we see?
We see God the King, the artist. We see a good world. We see blessing. And we see man, functioning as God’s representative ruler, and you know what else we see?
At the end. We see rest.
God’s made a perfect world.
God’s set man apart.
God’s declared the world very good.
I love that in Genesis 1:31.
“And God saw everything that He made, and behold, it was very good.”
And then God rests.
I guess technically, this is the beginning of chapter 2. But at the end of creating this kingdom, God rests.
It says, “And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day” and you know why he rested, it’s not because he was tired, obviously, that’s not what the word rest means here, so much.
It’s more like, God stopped and enjoyed. Like, he relaxes.
And it’s a picture, I think of how the world was designed to be. And pretty much every day from that point on, would have been a day of rest and of enjoyment.
That’s a big picture view of the kingdom.
Genesis 1 and in chapter 2, God goes on, to give us another more precise picture of exactly how it was all to work.
It’s kind of like he zooms in.
And, we see God creating man, and planting a garden, and taking man, and placing him in the garden, which we call the Garden of Eden. Eden means delight. The Garden of delight.
“And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed.”
Now one thing I’ve sometimes gotten wrong, actually, and I think it’s important, and kind of obvious, is, that, at that point, the whole world wasn’t the Garden of Eden.
The Garden in Eden was a place in the world.
Later on in the Bible it’s described as a mountain. In Ezekiel 28. The holy mountain of God. Which is, a very special place.
A little like a temple actually. Or maybe you should say, later temples, were like a like Eden. A place where man could serve God, and enjoy the presence of God.
In Genesis 3 we see it talks about God walking in the garden.
“And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day.”
And that’s a way of describing, God being somewhere in a special way.
For example, in Leviticus 26, God will tell His people. “And I will make my dwelling among you…And I will walk among you and will be your God.”
And in 2 Samuel 7, David tells God he wants to make him a temple and God tells David, all these years, he’s been walking about in his tabernacle.
Which may be why in Ezekiel, the Garden of Eden is called the Garden of God.
Obviously, we know God is everywhere, but, He doesn’t reveal Himself everywhere in the same way, there are certain places, where He is near to His people, in a special way.
Which is how He was present in the Garden of Eden.
And that’s exciting because, the Garden of Eden is a small picture of what God intended the whole world to become. It’s like a prototype of the world planned by God.
Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden to extend the borders of the Garden, you remember, they were to multiply and fill the earth, and have dominion over it, until the whole world became a kind of Garden of Eden basically.
But first, it’s like God puts man in this Garden, and gives him a trial run.
To practice serving as His representative.
And here clearly, we God delegates kingly responsibilities to Adam, as he brings the animals to him, and Adam, must name them and, naming something, in the Old Testament world, was an authoritative kind of act, it’s what kings did and yet, along with this responsibility, God also gave Adam a test.
“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, ‘You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat, for in the day you eat of it, you shall surely die.”
As a king, obviously Adam and Eve would have to make decisions. That’s part of what’s required to bring things into submission.
This is good. And this is not good. This is what we should do.This is what we shouldn’t do.
And God wanted Adam and Eve to trust Him and submit themselves to what He said was good, because God knows good.
You remember the first chapter? And it was good, and it was good, and it was good.
And so God gave them a test designed, to see, whether they would rule under God’s authority, trusting God, obeying God, or would they try to take the authority of deciding what was good and evil for himself?
And this is the first two chapters of the Bible.
If we were wondering, what the Old Testament is about we only need open up to the first couple of pages.
It’s about God, glorifying Himself, and it’s about Jesus, and it’s about this kingdom, and if we want to know what kingdom means, it’s almost like God pulls a picture out of his pocket here to give us a glimpse of God as the ultimate king making a perfect place filled with blessing for His perfect people to live where they could enjoy a perfect relationship with Him and with each other as they serve as His representatives, pointing the world back to Him, by exercising authority, on His behalf and enjoying His goodness. Forever. And ever. And ever. And ever.
That’s pretty much the kingdom of God.
And, that’s pretty much God’s plan as laid out in Genesis 1 and 2, and yet, of course, we know, that’s not the way the world is right now at all.
That’s the problem.
If we get a picture of God’s plan in Genesis 1 and 2, Genesis 3, begins to explain, the problem.
And it’s huge, as well.
Right at the beginning of God’s kingdom plan, man and woman rebel.
All this perfection doesn’t last long, it’s only like two pages, because at the start men and women, essentially declare, that, they will not submit to God’s authority, and trust that He knows what’s good, and so instead of listening to God’s counsel, they choose to go out on their own, and allow evil being, we call Satan, to define good and evil for them.
And I’m sure you know the story.
But in Genesis 3:1, Moses says, “Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that God had made.”
And it’s funny, serpent. That’s a snake.
I wonder, if you ever thought why Satan came in the form of an animal, like a serpent, because we know it’s Satan, later in the Bible, it tells us that very clearly, so why use an animal?
Why not just show up as an angel of light?
There’s a reason.
It’s because God’s plan was to rule over the animals and the rest of the world through humans, but what does this animal do, he rejects that plan, and he gives commands to man.
In other words, he seeks to rule over man.
Which means this is not just a temptation. This an attack on God’s kingdom plan.
And as God’s king in the Garden, what should Adam have done? He should have crushed the snake under his foot, because, kings protect the kingdom, and yet, he doesn’t, and instead, the man and woman listen, to the animal, that man himself named.
And as a result, they are both cast out of God’s presence and instead of experiencing God’s blessing, sent into exile, you might say, where they experience God’s curse and an angel is put at the edge of the garden to do what Adam was supposed to do, to guard it. And, at first, it looks a little like, that whole kingdom plan, we were seeing, got turned upside down.
If we just walk through the consequences, of man’s rebellion.
Though we were created to experience a perfect relationship with God, NOW, we are born sinners, and as a result, God’s enemy. Later in the Bible we’ll see Paul say, “Sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.”
So, there are problems in our relationship with God.
And though we were created to experience a perfect relationship with this world, it was good, it was good, it was good, the world itself is now cursed. God tells man in Genesis 3:17 “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree, of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it’ cursed is the ground because of you.’
So there are problems in our relationship with the world.
And though we were created to rule over the animals, and the picture in the perfect world, is of a peaceful, happy relationship with animals, lion with the lamb, kind of thing, after the fall, we see, animals have become afraid of man, and we’re told, we are allowed to eat them, and so, even that relationship, is broken.
There are problems in our relationship with animals.
And yet, worse.
Though we were created to experience a perfect relationship with one another, and yet, now, we are constantly at one another’s throats. I mean, it’s only one chapter after the fall, that, we find brother murdering brother.
There are problems in our relationships with each other.
And then finally.
Though we were created with access to the tree of life, meaning, we were created, with the potential for living forever, after the fall, God cut us, off from that tree of life, which meant, we would all, most certainly die.
And now, even our own bodies are broken by the fall.
In fact, if you keep reading in the Genesis story, you will come to Genesis 5.
Which is a long genealogy.
But it’s a sad one.
Because as Moses lists the names of all these various men, he concludes over and over and over.
“And he died.”
“And he died.”
“And he died.”
As we look back at Genesis 1 and 2 and see this picture of God’s great kingdom plan, it’s beautiful.
The kingdom of God.
It’s absolutely, everything is the way, we want it to be.
And yet, that’s not at all how the world is, right now, it’s like Adam and Eve, as our representatives, absolutely smashed that picture.
They took it and they broke it into a thousand little pieces.
And so we might ask, of course, now.
Can God fix this?
Does God want to fix this?
After man turned his back on God, did God turn His back on this great plan? Man sins, and he is sent into exile, but does God have a plan, for restoration? For bringing man out of exile? For getting man back into the garden?
And the answer the rest of the Old Testament (and New), gives, is most definitely.
God hasn’t given up on the plan started in the Garden of Eden.
While the first chapter of the Bible gives us a picture of God’s kingdom at creation, if we fast forward, to the the closing chapters of the biblical story, we get another, picture of this beautiful kingdom.
The beginning of the story and the end i f you go to Revelation 21 and 22 look similar.
Only the final picture is so much better, that we might call it new creation.
And, that’s the timeline, really of most of the events in story of, the Bible, you might say, the story of the Bible goes from creation to new creation, and a big part of the purpose of the Old Testament is to help us know how as God slowly but surely reveals through His promise, exactly how He is going to fix, what man has broken.
You have the plan.
God glorifying Himself by sovereignly ruling over creation through human representatives.
You have the problem.
Can’t rule over the kingdom, because he’s been kicked out. There’s this evil force, whose opposing God and his kingdom. There’s death, suffering, sin, all this stuff, that’s not able to exist in the presence of a holy God.
As you are looking at all these problems, and wondering if that plan’s over.
The third thing.
The Old Testament gives you.
Is this promise.
And that’s actually most of the Old Testament.
In fact, I like how one author summarized the message of the Old Testament.
That’s the Old Testament.
And that’s what we are going to spend most of our time looking at in our next post.
I can’t leave you without mentioning.
The first big promise.
It comes right as God is explaining the consequences of man’s rebellion. It’s amazing. Because, even as, God is describing the way man’s sin has impacted everything, he’s also promising, to do something to fix it.
Which is a hint, to keep in mind, as you read this story.
You should know every time, man does something, that you think will make the establishment of God’s kingdom impossible, God comes in and He judges, but if you look carefully, in the middle of that judgment, you will also see that He makes some promise, that actually advances His kingdom plan forever.
Like in Genesis 3:15, Moses tells us. “The Lord said to the serpent,” God’s explaining the consequences of man’s sin.And here’s he talking to the actual serpent. To the snake, itself. Which may seem weird because, obviously the snake itself is an animal, and doesn’t talk, so, it’s not the snake itself that decided to tempt Adam and Eve. The snake was being manipulated and used by a supernatural being called Satan, but he’s still experiencing some consequences.
Sort of like I guess in war.
An army might use an animal, like strapping a bomb to a dog, and that dog, will take the bomb into the enemy camp.And if the enemy sees the dog coming with the bomb, they are going to do something, the dog is going to experience consequences for being the used the way it was, and the snake experienced consequences as well, for the role it played.
‘Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field, on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life.’
Because man listened to the snake, he returns to the dust, you know, we die, and maybe, it’s like God saying, don’t think the snake won, Satan, won, I am still in charge, and I’ll show you how in charge, I am going to make the snake eat dust.
And then, m. ore importantly, I think, God moves from speaking to the snake, to speaking to the supernatural being, using the snake, in verse 15.
And He says, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
And, He’s talking now to Satan. Not the snake. And this is huge, because Satan’s goal was somehow to overthrow God’s plan by deceiving the woman, and so, God is going to use the woman, and specifically the offspring of the woman to defeat Satan.
It’s like God telling Satan, you will not win.
And, as we read the rest of Genesis and Exodus and the Bible, we’ll see there are going to be people who align themselves with Satan, followers of Satan, offspring of Satan, and who war against God and against God’s plan, I think of Cain, I think of Pharaoh, I think of the King of Moab, I think of Herod, that’s basically human history, but in the end, God says, there will be one descendant of the woman, who will go to war against Satan.
“I will put put enmity…between your offspring and her offspring.”
We moved from plural to singular.
“He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
What God’s promising, is to preserve one line from Eve, and from that line, will come, an ultimate champion, who will go to war with the leader of the opposing line.
And take him out, forever.
Man’s problems began by listening to this evil supernatural being, God promises, through man, He will one day defeat Satan. Though Satan seemed to believe he could manipulate man to overthrow God’s kingdom plan, God promises, Satan, God will one day use man, to crush Satan.
That, starts to give us hope, that God’s plan isn’t over, and yet, still even, as you read that promise, I wonder if you notice, what’s missing?
You are missing in that promise.
The first promise God makes is about how God’s going to defeat Satan through one of Eve’s descendants.
God knows how to tell a story.
And He doesn’t tell it all at once.
While this promise makes us want to keep reading, at this point in the story, there still are a lot of problems to be dealt with, beside Satan.
Like the problems we have with one another.
The problem in our relationship with God.
The problem with the world itself.
If God’s going to really establish His kingdom, Satan needs to be taken out of course, but there’s a lot more that needs to happen which of course is why we keep reading. We keep reading to discover how God’s going to glorify Himself by saving sinners, judging sin, and accomplishing exactly what He intended to accomplish, all the way back in the beginning.
In other words, we keep reading, to discover the story, of how God wins.