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,
Day Thirty: Vistas of Wisdom
I am very near the end of this little writing experiment called “31 Proverbs.” While I’m unsure how helpful it has been to how ever many have read it, I know that the process of sitting down six days each week to read, ponder, and then ponder some more by plunking on a keyboard has helped me grow in my understanding of wisdom.
Day Thirty-Two: A Mother's Wisdom (part two)
Yesterday, we heard from what was likely King Solomon’s mother imparting worthy words of wisdom in the area of leadership. For the sayings of wisdom we find here are those “which his mother taught him” (Proverbs 31:1). And she now turns her attention to the search for a woman of virtue and noble character, suitable to be a wife and mother.
Day Twenty-Nine: Please—Quietly Hold Your Tongue
Anger. noun. “a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility.” (New Oxford American Dictionary) As I entered day twenty-nine of Proverbs this morning, and came to 29:11, it struck me that this book has quite a bit to say about anger, strife, wrath, quarreling, fights, and rage. It is a theme that Solomon keeps coming back to, probably because he knows that it is a theme woven through humanity and history. Sometimes the best way to see a theme is to pull on that string so all the wisdom he has offered comes together for our observation. The accumulation helps us feel the weight of it.
Day Twenty-Six: A Morning Conversation With King Solomon
A conversation that happened this morning as I came upon a visitor in our fireplace room….
Day Nineteen: God Chose Her, Not You
The doctrine of God’s rule and reign in and over all things comes crashing into the human conception of the self-made man. We are tempted to think we have so much to do with our happinesses. But the wisdom found from James speaks a wakefulness into the pondering of our circumstances—the good gifts we have come not from our own hands, but by the grace and providence of our heavenly Father. And the wisdom of Solomon makes clear—one of man’s greatest gifts is something only God can give, an understanding wife.
Day Seventeen: The Great Gain Of Godly Contentment
We live in a world where the temptation is constant to believe the amount of our wealth and possessions directly translates to our joy and happiness. The Bible, once again, confronts our culture and holds out another possibility. Namely, “better” does not imply “more,” “bigger,” or “expensive.” It suggests that the reason you still haven’t found what you are looking for is because you’ve been searching in all the wrong places. Wisdom opens our eyes and hearts to deeper wells of contentment.
Day Fifteen: I Always Feel Like Somebody’s Watching Me
I always feel like somebody's watching me. And I have no privacy. Woh, I always feel like somebody's watching me. Tell me is it just a dream? So sang Rockwell in the dawning of my high school years back in 1984. All the cool kids were singing it at the time, and its the tune that sprang to mind when I read this similar sentiment this morning: Yahweh is watching everywhere, keeping his eye on both the evil and the good. (Proverbs 15:3, New Living Translation)
Day Fourteen: Death By Living
For those of us desirous to live a good life, we’ve known since the very beginning of this book that it begins with a healthy awe, reverence, and trembling before the God of the universe whose name is Yahweh (Proverbs 1:7). And here we are again reminded that this humble posture before the Holy One is a fountain overflowing with life.