As the Bible is an ancient text, it makes sense that much of it is a recording of history. But to respond by merely reading it as a textbook would be a mistake, for this is history written with a very particular purpose. Namely, it is a theological history — its authors, under the inspiration of God, make theological arguments by the way they tell the stories, and what they include in them.
The books of the Kings are a prime example of this. A small group of historians sat down, with the Israelite exilic community of around 500 B.C. in mind, and aimed to explain how it is that the nation found itself in the place it was in. They had compiled what happened before, written it down, recording it for the generations that follow, in the hopes of helping Israel understand why they are where they are, and who they are where they are.
The lessons they draw are helpful for us in very similar ways. Their efforts are an attempt at grabbing us by the collar to get us to slow down for a moment, and to look behind us — in our case, around 2,500 years behind us — to see where we’ve come from, in the hopes of positively influencing where we are going, and who we will be when we get there.
These historians use three powerful types of characters to tell the story and unfold their theology. And it becomes clear that there is a sobering warning here, and great hope. A warning of a very clear and present danger in this world, and a message of hope for the one and only way it can be overcome.
If you’d like to explore this book of the Kings further, to see how that unfolds, I suggest you continue by means of the following helpful resources:
- Watch last week’s sermon on Kings.
- This video, The Story of The Bible, is a superb 5 minute summary of this kind of theological history.
- And this 6 minute video on sin, from the Bible Project’s “Bad Word Series,” helps us understand this very clear and present danger in the world.
- Click here to find a whole page of videos, milestones, study resources, and recommendations for further reading and study on the 400-year history of the Kings.
Finally, be sure to dive into the book of Isaiah in preparation for this coming Sunday. Plan ahead in your reading, as this one is 66 chapters long! As always, please feel free to email me with questions about, or ideas for, The Whole Story.
A fellow follower of the King,
Samuel Johnson was born on September 18, 1709, and was an English writer who made lasting contributions to English literature as a poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer.
How Can We Pursue A Long Repentance In The Same Direction?
This last Sunday, in Calvary’s morning gathering, we studied the book of Haggai together as part of God’s Whole Story. Together we heard God speak through his prophet to his people after the exile, challenging them to remain faithful and to rebuild the temple.
The book of Haggai is the second shortest book in the Old Testament. It has 4 oracles (think: sermons), 2 chapters, and about 1,100 words.
In the book of Jeremiah we read of God’s intention for Daniel and all of those with him who have been exiled from the land of promise.
We are in a sermon series called The Whole Story, so named because we started off with the assumption, and belief really, that the whole Bible is a unified story that leads to Jesus. Each and every book is a bit like a chapter that contributes to the overall story that God is telling.
We Are Calvary
To say that we live in times of rapid change may be the very height of understatement. Our culture, and its norms, is changing at an unprecedented rate, making it increasingly challenging for the church to remain relevant—and faithful—in proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God, in a way that will bring about the expansion of that kingdom.
This past Sunday we (finally) made it out of the weighty, dark, somber, and serious writings of the Prophets of the Exile, and stepped into the Return from Exile of the people of God. Our first look into this aspect of the redemptive drama comes via three courageous servants of Yahweh—Zerrubabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah. There story is found in the book of Ezra-Nehemiah (although our English Bibles separate them, through the centuries the Jewish people have always treated them as one book; so we will too.)
Especially When You Don't Feel Like It
Sunday is just about my favorite day of the week (“just about”…because my day off each week, our family’s Sabbath Saturday, is a tie or really close second). I love getting up that morning, making my smoothie, sitting in my favorite chair in our fireplace room, and pulling my Bible onto my lap. I relish the time spent listening to my Father speak, and I delight in those moments spent talking with him about the morning’s ministry, the people in our gathering that I hope he will transform, as well as the eleven other pastors (and their congregations) on whom I pray his blessing every Sunday.