The Story So Far

A Summary of The Story So Far

God created the world good – goodness meaning being well-ordered and functioning as it’s supposed to.  Sin – disobedience, lack of trust, failure to follow – came into the world, though, through Adam and Eve.  Very quickly, the world descended into violence and chaos.  God, in His grace, decided to live with a certain level of lack-of-goodness in the world, as we learn in the Noah story.

God called a couple, Abraham and Sarah, to be the beginnings of a nation that would demonstrate goodness (living as humans were designed to live).  Things got off to a slow start, with a son Isaac, and then two grandsons, Jacob and Esau.  Then Jacob had 12 sons and a daughter, who went to Egypt to live, because of a famine in the Promised Land.  The names of each of the 12 sons became associated with one of 12 tribes of Israel.

They were in Egypt for many generations, and eventually the Egyptians grew afraid at the size of the population of this emerging nation.  The Egyptians enslaved the Hebrews.  God chose Moses to guide them out of slavery and back into the Promised Land.  The people were disobedient and afraid to seize the Promised Land, and so God delayed their invasion of the land promised to them by 40 years.

Joshua led the nation during the time the invaded the Promised Land.  They fought many battles, and God guided them to victory.  As the Hebrews transitioned from a nomadic existence to a settled agricultural existence, they were warned not to have anything to do with the previous inhabitants of the land.  The previous inhabitants worshipped idols centered around fertility and prosperity.  Those fertility gods, because of their emphasis on sun, rain and fecundity, were much more tempting to the Hebrews in their new settled, agricultural lifestyle.

For 400 years after taking the Promised Land, the Hebrews repeated a pattern.  They would follow these idols, God would allow a foreign power to conquer them, the people would cry out and God would raise up a judge to free them.  The judges didn’t have anything to do with the legal system.  Rather, they were leaders (usually military) that were called by God to direct the loosely associated tribes for a time.

Eventually, the people asked for a king as a kind of insurance for their protection.  Saul was the first king.  He did not follow God as he should have, so God removed him from the kingship.  David was the second king, and, though flawed, followed God with his whole heart.  David was a wildly successful military leader, and built up the kingdom and insulated it from its enemies.  David’s son Solomon built the first temple.  Solomon, though known for his wisdom, proved unwise.  Unfortunately, Solomon was influenced by his many foreign wives toward idol worship.  God promised that, because of his unfaithfulness, the nation would be divided.  David’s and Solomon’s descendants would govern only the nation of Judah.  Ten of the tribes would form their own nation.

The Story will resume in the Fall