Need to catch up or just have recap!!
Here is a VERY loose overview.
God created the heavens and the earth, all the animals the fish and the birds, the flora and fauna, and man and woman in seven days. HE spoke them into existence and breathed life into the man and woman. The TRINITY was present from day one. God was pleased.
Adam and Eve had NO sickness, NO working of the land, NO labor pains, NO shame, NO guilt, relationships with all the animals, lush gardens, fresh healthy foods, NO evil, NO death, NOTHING bad. He gave Adam and Eve dominion over every living thing and ONLY one thing NOT to do …. NOT to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. BUt they could eat from ANYTHING else. The crafty serpent came (Eve was not shocked to be speaking to the serpent so it must have been quite normal to talk to all the creatures great and small.) The serpent challenged Eve by saying but would God REALLY NOT want you to eat of this tree…wouldn’t HE want you to have your eyes opened. So they ate and felt ashamed. They covered their naked bodies. God asked them who told them to do this? Eve blamed the serpent. Adam blamed Eve. The serpent blamed God and so began the blame game.
God made his first sacrifice for the atonement of Adam and Eve’s sin. He made them animal skins to cover up with in place of the fig leave. An innocent animal’s blood had to be shed to atone for their sins. God shut off the Garden of Eden and told Adam and Eve they could never enter there again. He placed 2 cherubim holding flaming swords to forever guard Eden. Man would forever have to work to the land for survival and woman would forever know pain in giving birth.
Adam and Eve had Cain and Abel. Cain became jealous and killed Abel. Adam and Even had many children but the next one we hear about is named Seth who replaced Abel. One of Seth’s descendants was Enoch who was the father of Methuselah. Enoch walked with God for 300 years…what a relationship!! And God took him up before the flood so Enoch never died!! Noah was a descendent of Seth. God found Noah to be a righteous man and told him to build an Ark for the coming flood. There was not a cloud in the sky and he was in the middle of the desert, but Noah obeyed. Noah and his family along with two of every kind of animal, fish, and bird loaded onto the Ark where they were spared from the great flood. Everyone else died in the flood because all the earth had become so evil.
Noah had three sons — Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Shem becomes the father of the Israelites, God’s chosen people. Japheth becomes the father of the Gentiles. And Ham finds his father drunk and naked and mocks him in front of Shem and Japheth. Noah finds out what happened and cursed Ham. Ham’s descendants became the Canaanites and other southern peoples as well as Egyptians. Ham’s descendants became known as pagans.
From Shem’s descendants came Abraham. God made a covenant with Abraham and promised to keep it if Abraham would leave ALL he knew and follow God. Abraham, his wife Sarah, and his nephew Lot followed the Lord’s leading. God promised Abraham descendants more numerous than the stars. Abraham and Sarah could not figure out how God would make this happen so Sarah suggested Abraham sleep with her maid, Hagar. BAD decision….because she did not trust God to keep HIS promise. Hagar gave birth to Ishmael who is known as the “father of the Arab nations.” Abraham and Sarah finally had a child at the age of 100 and 90!! Sarah gave birth to Isaac. TODAY we still see the conflict between the people of Ishmael and the people of Isaac.
We read about Job and how satan had to get permission from God to test Job. Job lost everything he had. He questioned God. He had friends who told him he had to have sinned for God to allow all this to happen to him (some compassion right?) A fourth man presents a different angle on things and Job’s friends become silent. Job discovered that God was also listening. Job’s situation was not caused because he sinned…but he sinned by becoming prideful in his lack of sin. God never answered any of Job’s questions but Job became intimately aware of his sin, and how awesome God truly was. God asked Job where was he when HE created the earth. Job repented and turned back to God. And we see Job being blessed with even more than he had before everything was taken from him by satan. God returned the years the locusts had eaten away to Job!!
The Abrahamic covenant passed down to Isaac (not Ishmael.) Isaac married Rebekah and the had twin sons Esau and Jacob. From the time of their birth Jacob was grabbing at Esau’s heels. Jacob stole Esau’s birthright and then with the help of his mother he tricked Isaac into giving him the blessing, the double portion. Esau threatened to kill Jacob. Esau loved to eat stew and became known as Edom and his descendants were the Edomites. Jacob had a dream about Jacob’s ladder. And he also had wrestling match with an angel of The Lord. Jacob refused to let go of the angel of The Lord until HE blessed him. The angel of The Lord blessed Jacob, but also dislocated his hip during the wrestling event possibly to make sure Jacob never forgot his encounter with God. God changed Jacob’s name to Israel. Jacob married Leah but he loved Rachel and had been promised Rachel. Jacob worked for 7 years for Rachel but his father in law deceived him by sneaking Leah in for the wedding celebration. So Jacob worked another seven years for Rachel. Leah was able to have many sons. Rachel was barren but God finally blessed them with Joseph. Leah and Rachel were in a competition it seems because Leah offered her hand maiden to Jacob so they could have more children. Rachel followed suit. Jacob was blessed with 12 sons and one daughter. ONLY two of the sons came from Rachel–Joseph and Benjamin–the other 10 sons and the daughter came from Leah, and the two hand maidens.
Jacob/Israel had 12 sons….hence the 12 tribes of the Israelites. Ten of the sons decided since Joseph was Jacob’s favorite they would kill him…..well maybe just sell him off to a group of people. Jacob thought Joseph was dead from the reports of his ten conspiring sons. Joseph was sold into slavery to the Egyptians. God blessed Joseph so he was in charge of everything for Potiphar. Joseph soon found himself in prison because Potiphar’s wife accused Joseph of raping her. OH what a tangled web we weave when at first we try to deceive!!! Joseph remained in prison until Potiphar needed someone to interpret his dreams (which none of his wise men were able to do.) One of the men in prison finally remembered Joseph as interpreting dreams and recommended that Potiphar speak with him about the dreams he had had. Joseph accurately unfolded the dreams of Potiphar, shared with Potiphar how to “beat” the upcoming famine for his entire nation. Potiphar placed Joseph in charge of all things including building storehouses during the seven years of feast to prepare for the seven years of famine. When the famine became severe, Jacob sent all of his sons except Benjamin to ask for food during the famine. After much drama, Jacob/Israel was reunited with Joseph. Joseph became their redeemer. He had food for all of his family and was so happy to be reunited with them. Jacob and his descendants all lived in the area around Egypt. Potiphar gave them the undesirable land because the Hebrews were undesirable people to the Egyptians. So Potiphar gave them the land near the Nile so they could feed their livestock…after all the Hebrews were shepherds, herders, and nomads. The Egyptians thought of the Hebrews as uneducated, dirty, and wanted NOTHING to do with them. Potiphar gladly gave the land to Joseph’s family for all Joseph did for Egypt but also because the Egyptians wanted to be in the city where the wealth was. The Israelites had fertile land with plenty of water….and they grew!! Joseph was a foreshadow of Jesus Christ….the Redeemer.
The Israelites grew from 70 people in Joseph’s time to 2-3 million people in Moses’ time (about 400 years.) When the 400 years ended the Egyptians and a NEW Potiphar found the Hebrews more disgusting, had no clue who Joseph was, were angry that the Hebrews were on Egypt’s prime real estate with water and fertile soil plus they were continuing to expand…taking more land!! The Egyptians turned the Hebrews into their slaves and were brutal to them. God raised up yet another redeemer in Moses. And Moses lead his people OUT of Egypt into the Promised Land (well as close as he could get!) God gave Moses the 10 Commandments so the people would know how to live for HIM. The Levites became the ONLY tribe where the priests were to come from to serve in the Tabernacle and then the Temple. The Hebrews/Israelites witnessed many miracles from God….manna from heaven, quail that blew in from the sea, shoes and clothing that never wore out, Egyptians who wanted them to leave and gave them their gold and silver to get out, and parting of the Red Sea.
The Israelites, consisting of 12 tribes, went to the edge of the Promised Land (Land that was Promised to them from the Lord) and they sent 12 spies in. One from each tribe to check it out. Now the Lord said you must conquer the land (meaning you need to fight for it) BUT He also PROMISED He would GIVE IT TO THEM (they would succeed). SO the 12 spies go in for 40 days to scope out the situation and 10 of them come back and say “WOW, it is exactly like the Lord said….see, we even took some fruit to prove that it is exactly like the Lord said”.
BUT…. as wonderful as it was….with lush foods to eat…plenty of water…and more than they could ever hope for…. TEN of the 12 spies said: “WE CAN’T GO in there….we will get killed!! The people who live there are GIANTS….we’ll never take them!!!” Ummmmm…. they didn’t TRUST God to keep HIS promise with them!!!
Oh the Lord was mad! He said “for every day you checked out the land I will keep you out of the land a year….thus for 40 years.”
That entire generation died wandering in the desert wilderness for 40 years leaving only the 2 spies who trusted the Lord’s promise to enter the land. YOU KNOW who the TWO were….. ummmmmm…. Joshua and Caleb!!! YOU GOT IT!!! And do you recall that in their wilderness walk, as mad as God was with them He made SURE they were provided for….water, food, manna from heaven, and their clothing and shoes NEVER wore out!!!
Before they went in a second time, Moses passed away (never entering the Promised Land) and Joshua took on Moses responsibilities. Joshua was an excellent warrior and lead them into the Promised land and conquered ALMOST all the land.
Almost?? I can see your eyeballs rolling right through your computer screen….almost ONLY counts in hand grenades and horseshoes!! But aren’t we like the Israelites WE ALMOST conquer what we know pleases the Lord… when we leave room for some sin to rob us, deceive us, get us off track and out of focus!!??? Isn’t that what John 10:10 is about — “he came to kill, steal, and destroy, but I came that you may have the abundant life to the full till it overflows.” (my paraphrase)
So they made it INto the Promised Land and then Joshua passed away. There was no leader for the Israelites…..but WAIT….isn’t The Lord SUPPOSED to be the leader. I mean….. the Levite tribe had been set up as the priests…..able to have a direct relationship with God. Moses had taught the people all the details on the 10 Commandments. They had a place to worship where the Lord dwelt among HIS people!!! No human leader….but laws, guidelines…and God in their midst. But that just wasn’t enough for the Israelites. So a few things happen here like…..the people let the few pagan nations that were not conquered to grow! God had COMMANDED HIS people to CONQUER ALL the nations in the Promised Land. He was VERY specific that ALL of them were to be DESTROYED…..no people surviving who could pull the Israelites into worshiping other gods and into idolatry. The Israelites were not ONLY to completely destroy them for their OWN protection, but they were NOT even to touch their “booty.” ALL the pagan nations were to be completely destroyed and that included their possessions. God did NOT want to leave HIS people with ANYthing that would possibly pull them away from HIM!! OH….but the Israelites were sucked in!! They LIKED the pagan way of life….. sex, drugs, and rock and roll…if it felt good they wanted to do it….if it looked good they wanted to possess it. The Israelites mimicked pagan life and worship….and like it!!!
Now we come to the time of the Judges! The Israelites continually fell deep into filthy living doing all that the pagans did. However, God would raise up men and women to save HIS CHOSEN people!! The Israelites finally woke up and smelled the coffee and realized “OH WOW….OUR way is NOT working!!” After the judge dies they return back to their selfish, rebellious, “me me me me me” attitudes and INSIST on a king…. a king just like the pagan nations around them had!!! Ummmm….sure…..that will work to get you close to God!!! Yea sure!!! We can figure this all out…..WE WANT A KING and WE WANT ONE NOW!!! (Kind of reminds me of the Christmas song that is actually quite selfish….”We wish you Merry Christmas…We all want some Figgie pudding, we all want some Figgie pudding…..so bring it RIGHT NOW …. we WON’T go until we get some…we WON’t go until we get some….” WHAT a selfish song that is….these singers are coming to someone’s home and DEMANDING FOOD!!!! Sounds a lot like what the Israelites were demanding of God….maybe???? And, maybe it sounds like us sometimes when we demand things from God that will destroy us!!!
The Lord chose a man named SAUL! Saul started out strong and godly…but a little man named David was a great great warrior and even though Saul conquered thousands, David conquered TENS of thousands. Saul became jealous and spent almost 40 years hunting David down. David was appointed and anointed PRIVATELY to be the next King of Israel……fresh out of Jesse’s field as a shepherd! David was NOT the likely candidate from a human perspective….but in God’s eyes…he was exactly who was needed to UNITE the nation of Israel!!
After Saul died, the Lord appointed David as the King publicly first in Judah and then in all of Israel. Yeah for David! David loved the Lord but was human….human desires…that got him in big trouble!!!! He saw Bathsheba taking a bath on her roof top. David should have been off to war with his men…..so as he was hanging out at the castle…most likely bored….he goes on top of his roof and sees Bathsheba on her roof….naked…in the moonlight…in a tub of water. OK…. first glance was most likely innocent….he could have come off the roof and STOPPED looking. BUT….NOOOOOOO…..he not only watched but he commanded someone to bring her to him. Her husband was one of David’s men…..what was she to do….she could have been killed for refusing the KING!! Their affair resulted in a child. David TRIED to get Bathsheba’s husband to sleep with his wife the next night so he would believe the bambino was his. However, her husband was way too loyal to David and refused to leave his men in battle to go be with his wife. NOW David makes arrangements to have him taken to the front lines of the battle and left there. YEP.. David committed premeditated murder. And then there was the baby who came after David married Bathsheba….the baby died. So…. David had some issues…..we can ALL relate to…like when you KNOW you have just stepped into sin that is sucking you in……RUN…FAST….CONFESS your sin…..but get as far away from it as you can!! DON’T allow it to destroy you. Do NOT be deceived…..the enemy is cunning and WANTs to kill, steal, and destroy us!! David repented and cried out to the Lord. He wanted to build the Lord a Temple but God said…Ummm you have made some big mistakes, and you have a LOT of blood on your hands bringing UNITY to Israel so let’s let your son Solomon build it. David obeyed, and began working on the plans to build the Temple, detailed the workmen needed, gathered the materials, and stored up gold and silver. David was known as being a man after God’s own heart. He also wrote a great many of the Psalms.
Solomon built the Temple and retired the Tabernacle. This gave them a PERMANENT place of worship! (Jerusalem) God asked Solomon what one thing he wanted and Solomon asked for wisdom. He was recognized by everyone, near and far, for being the wisest man ever!! He wrote the Proverbs, a few of the Psalms, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs/Solomon.
Under Solomon there were still 12 unified tribes, but the fighting between tribes began to return. The family ties began to breakdown. Solomon’s relationships with his 1000 wives and concubines from pagan nations did not help the tribal relationships. Solomon’s lusts and his marriages to pagan women became his major downfall. He built idols for the gods his wives worshiped and then he began to worship the idols and other gods as well. God was not pleased with Solomon but out of his love for David, he allowed the kingdom to remain unified. However, Solomon’s son would see and contribute to the division, after Solomon’s death.
One of Solomon’s sons was named Rehoboam. The people say to him… “The Temple is built (and your huge palace), can you lift/ease the tax on us??” He said “let me ask my very wise advisors!” and they said “Yes…. lift the tax on them and they will remain loyal to you forever”. Rehoboam did not like that answer…so he asked the “friends” he grew up ….they were kewl….they were hip….they would know the right thing to do!! Ummmmm….DUH!!! They said “Dude, are you crazy make the tax steeper!! We will have more money to do whatever we desire…..leave those people in the dust and make them pay!!”
And WHOSE advice did Rehoboam follow…..you got it….his young friends. Well, Solomon’s top servants named Jeroboam (Jeroboam…J=Jerk) rebelled against the Rehoboam and said: “Wellllllllll, alrighty then, we will become our own nation against you!” and 10 of the 12 tribes sided with this J. The 10 tribes become the Nation of Israel, the Northern Kingdom. ALL of the Kings of Israel “do evil in the eyes of The Lord!”
The 2 tribes that stayed with the reigning king Rehoboam were Judah and Benjamin. They become the Kingdom of Judah, The Southern Kingdom.
We begin reading about the Kings from both sides of the divided Kingdom….once one Kingdom of Israel….NOW two kingdoms Israel and Judah. The Kings of Israel are worse than those of Judah which leads to Israel’s exile and captivity by Assyria before Judah’s.
Remember God said to David…Through your Line (JUDAH) I will bless the nations. So Jesus will come through the Covenant with David. Israel and Judah both continue with their idol worship and worshiping other gods…even sacrificing their own children to these other gods!!! It is one big hot mess!!! Judah does have some good kings who lead the people back to God along the way (which is why Judah’s delay in being taken captive and in exile took longer to happen.) We witness the effects of CHOICEs and CONSEQUENCES!!
God begins to send HIS prophets to the land to WARN Israel and Judah to REPENT and TURN BACK TO HIM!!! However, we KNOW what happens to the messengers….people do NOT like them for the most part!!!
We are still reading in 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles and have seen prophets like Elijah, Elisha, Jonah, Micah, Obadiah, and Isaiah calling out to God’s people TURN BACK. We witness the Kings of Israel and Judah continually make the wrong choices and the people they lead follow them!! We will read about a few AWESOME Kings in Judah and more prophets.
So there you have it…..a fast as fast can be game of catch up!!! I hope this helps anyone who has gotten behind. BELIEVE ME… I understand (If you have been reading the blog along with me….you know there have been some days I have gotten behind myself.) So….the message is….God loves US….you and me. HE WANTS us to know HIS Word. So together we can remain faithful to see it through.
If you have any questions….don’t hesitate to ask on the blog or send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and be SURE to use the SUBJECT field of BLOG so I don’t accidentally trash your email.
Sharing HIS love,