I was talking with a member of our church family after the service Sunday morning. He shared with me how, when his children lived at home with them, he used to teach them about the Bible. Namely, he didn’t call what we find contained within it merely stories, though they are that. Rather, he went out of his way to describe them as histories.
I really liked that idea, because in our culture, when we hear the word story, we would probably think in our minds of fiction, nine times out of ten. In the words of my friend, the word history makes us think of something that did, truly, occur. It is an account of reality. We probably wouldn’t even question it.
Which is why we started there in the sermon on Sunday, describing Joshua and a number of books that will now follow in our ongoing study of the Bible, the histories. For these things actually did happen, and it’s important to understand the facts of the past, as recorded and told in the Bible. And we must then move beyond what merely happened, to ask the question “why,” and what the significance of these histories may be both in the past, and our present.
If your curiosity and interest has been piqued (and I hope it has), I suggest you continue exploring the history found in the book of Joshua. The resources below will help you proceed:
- Review last week’s sermon on Joshua.
- After eight weeks in our series now, your probably used to this second suggestion, and have already bookmarked in your browser the book summaries from the Bible Project. Namely, Click here to find a whole page of videos, milestones, study resources, and recommendations for further reading and study on this remarkable history, Joshua.
- Watch the theme video and check out resources on The Day of the Lord, which helps us think through the violence within the histories found in the Bible.
As always, please feel free to email me with questions or ideas for The Whole Story. I look forward to seeing you on Sunday, when we will begin the next chapter of the drama by studying the story found in Joshua. Be sure to read it before you come!
Grateful to Serve the God of all History with You,
If you’ve been reading along in this little series—congratulations! You’ve made it to the end of the first week. As a reward to both of us, you the reader, and myself as the writer, I’ve decided to make Sundays a “Grace Day.”
Day Five: Be Attentive To Wisdom
While it is hard to nail down a precise figure (I looked at a number of studies), one large study pulling together a number of other studies reports: “To conclude, a close analysis of [the] Infidelity rate and its growth pattern clearly indicates that nearly one half of all married men and women are involved in extramarital affairs.”
Day Four: Orienteering
Many who know me are quite aware that I am indoorsy. It’s not that I don’t enjoy going for a run, a bike ride, or even a hike through the woods or in the mountains. It’s just that I don’t want to sleep out there. I believe God inspired us to create hotels and houses for a very good reason: to return to, enjoy, and sleep in. It’s a very important part of what separates us from the animals.
Day Three: A Heart of Wisdom
When we baptize someone at our church, we always remind our people that baptism is an outward sign of an inward reality. This picture of being lowered fully into the water and rising up again that happens on the outside for all to see, is a window into the soul of the baptized, revealing a heart cleansed, purified, and surrendered to Jesus, and thus saved, transformed, and made a part of the family.
Day Two: Our God Will Supply
It’s important we pause for a moment and look at the simple structure of Solomon’s book of Proverbs. The first nine chapters are extended descriptions of wisdom, largely in story form with instructions from a parent to a child, using at times images of “Lady Wisdom” and “Woman Folly.” They are there to explain two pathways, one that leads to a wise and good life, and one that leads to destruction. And these first nine chapters are there to help us see why we should care about chapters ten through thirty-one, which contain all the individual sayings of wisdom for which the book is famous.
Day One: The Fear of Yahweh
The fear of Yahweh is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7, English Standard Version) I argued in yesterday’s post how God has hardwired wisdom into all of creation, and that wisdom is an applied skill in working with the grain of his design, and not against it, so that we may have a good life. An immediate question arises: if this is true, wouldn’t that mean a good life is available to all who recognize and pursue this, whether or not they believe in God?
Yesterday I preached the twenty-sixth sermon in The Whole Story sermon series, on the book of Proverbs. One of the main points of the sermon—because it is one of the main points of the book of Proverbs—is how wisdom is this thing that helps you see the way the world truly is, the way it works, so that you can live well inside of it. This is because wisdom is expertise and competence, it is applied skill, seen in the ways the Bible uses the word for craftsmen (Exodus 35:31), goldsmiths (Jeremiah 10:9), and sailors (Psalm 107:27).
This last Sunday, we made our way back into our Whole Story sermon series after a powerful four weeks taking a look at how we can help people ‘move to the right’, out of and away from the kingdom of darkness, and into the kingdom of the beloved Son. The sermon also served the purpose of kicking off our entry into the Wisdom literature of the Old Testament, with the story of Job as our first step in that journey.