Do you know the story of the Old Testament?
It begins with the creation of the heavens, the earth, and Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden in the book of Genesis. Adam and Eve are tempted by the Serpent (Satan), fall to the temptation, and receive the just punishment for their disobedience to God but not without a promise of hope and a better future. Cain, Abel, and Seth are born, and the earth is described as so wicked the LORD regrets making man, but Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. Described as a preacher of righteousness, he warned the world of the coming judgment and by faith built an ark to rescue in the end only 8 people from the wrath of God manifested in a global flood. In Genesis 12, the reader is introduced to Abraham who has a son, Isaac, (the child of promise and a picture of Christ) who has Jacob (and Esau) who becomes Israel, the father of the 12 (sons) tribes of Israel,—one of which is Joseph who finds himself in Egypt in the position of prime minister. Can you fill in the details? Do you know where Ishmael, Sarai, Hagar, Melchizedek, Lot, Esau, Laban, and Potiphar fit in?
In Exodus, the reader is immediately introduced to Moses who will lead the children of Israel out of Egypt through the Red Sea into the Promised Land but only after fighting with the king of Egypt through a series of plagues and receiving the law on Mt. Sinai in 1446 BC. Do you know the plagues and commandments, and can you describe the tabernacle? Do you know the contribution Aaron, Miriam, Jethro, and Zipporah all make to Exodus? The book of Deuteronomy rehashes the law, and the book of Leviticus provides incredibly detailed instructions about the priesthood. Do you know where Job would fit into the story? At Kadesh-Barnea only 2 spies (Joshua and Caleb) thought God was able while 10 believed the Promised Land could not be conquered. After 40 years of judgment in the wilderness for Israel’s lack of faith, Moses died, and Joshua led Israel across the Jordan into the war for the land God promised Abraham for about 40 years.
After the death of Joshua, a period of approximately 400 years began with a series of judges leading Israel in a decentralized, regional system which was often characterized by every man doing what was right in his own eyes. Leaders like Deborah, Gideon and Samson provided strong leadership; each delivered the people from a period of servitude to foreigners. But Israel desired to be like the surrounding countries who were led by kings. Eventually, Samuel anointed Saul to be the first king; he was succeeded by David in 1010BC who wrote many of our Psalms; he was succeeded by Solomon who wrote the book of Proverbs and built the first temple of God in Jerusalem.
After Solomon’s death in 931 BC, the United Kingdom split into a northern kingdom called Israel and a southern kingdom called Judah. Israel had 10 tribes, and for the most part was characterized as apostate until its destruction in 722BC by the Assyrians. There were a handful of good kings who reigned over Judah. Men like Hezekiah and Josiah brought about renewed periods of revival and reform until Judah was defeated in 586BC by the Babylonians. Was Ahab a good or bad king? Do you know what happened on Mt. Carmel? Prophets from both the united and divided kingdoms like Samuel, Nathan, Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, etc. spoke for God and confronted Israel with their apostasy. Do you know Psalm 51 and how Nathan fits into it? Do you know who the weeping prophet is?
After the destruction of Jerusalem (586BC), Judah was taken captive and lived as exiles (Daniel and Ezekiel) for 70 years under the rule of the Babylonian empire until Cyrus the Great decreed that Jews who desired could return to the Promised Land to rebuild the city, the walls, and temple. Do you know the story found in Daniel? During this time, men like Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah served as the political leaders under a Persian king. And again prophets like Haggai and Malachi spoke for God and confronted Israel with their sin. Malachi closes out the Old Testament with a promise that God would send a Messiah who would fulfill the promises made to Eve in Genesis 3:15, Abraham, King David, and especially the promise of a New Covenant found in Jeremiah 31.
Can you fill in more of the details? Can you take an OT story you know and know where to fit it into these paragraphs?