The God Discussion (Old Testement) – Why do I believe (Part 3)

Posted: 03/06/2011 in God
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My understanding of theology is so very basic and is being learned each day. In the following two posts I will try to summarise what the bible teaches about the Christian faith. I have done my best to be scripturally accurate but if there is anything you believe to be incorrect, please let me know. For those of you who know nothing of God or the bible; this is not to convince you that God is real, I could write for the rest of my life and not makes a dent in what you already do or do not believe. This is simply to give you an understanding of what I believe. Keep in mind what I have discussed in earlier posts, that bible interpretation can be significantly flawed if not done correctly and thoroughly, often resulting in theologies coming out of theologies. The fundamentals however, cannot be argued when correct exegesis and hermeneutics are undertaken and the fundamentals are what I am trying to present. So…

 

God is the only God (Deut 32:39). He always has been He always will be (Gen 1:2, Rev 1:8, 22:13). He has always existed in a trinity; God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit (Gen 1:2, John 1:1-2). The trinity is hard to explain but the best way I have come to understand it is like ice/water/steam. They are all one in the same but different as well. God is all knowing, present everywhere and all powerful (Ps 139:7-12). He is infinite (1 Kings 8:27), eternal and self-existent (Gen 3:15, Jer 10:10a). Heaven is God’s home (Deut 26:15a, Rev 4) and it’s not a place we can put on a map. There are many descriptions of the Character of God throughout the bible, beautiful songs, poems and prayers from the lips of Godly men and women (Ex 15:2, 34:6-7, Deut 32:1- 43, 1 Sam 2:1-10, Luke 1:46-55 & 67-79, 1 Peter 1:16). Words used to describe Him are faithful, just, loving, good, righteous, merciful, sovereign, compassionate, mighty, King of kings, Lord of lords, Alpha, Omega, kind, Prince of peace, ruler, glorious, Holy, pure, majestic, creator, saviour, a refuge, deliverer, rock, shield, strength, beautiful, slow to anger, trustworthy, steadfast, wise, tender, a fortress, shelter and so many more. These words can be found throughout the bible and it would be far more than a page long if I were to write all the verses down! He calls Himself “I Am” (Ex 3:14) and I believe that completely sums Him up. Finally God is love (1 John 4:8).

 

The Old Testament, which is the part of the bible written before the coming of Christ, is made up of 4 parts. The five books (known as the Torah to people of Jewish faith – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) contain a narrative of the creation of life, the fall of man and the law of God. The law was for both the Jewish people and for priests involved in spiritual leadership. God created everything that is seen and unseen (Gen 1:1, Col 1:16). It can be assumed that angels, spiritual beings, were created first as they were there when God created the world (Job 38:4-7). One angel rebelled by trying to be greater than God and was thrown out of heaven (Luke 10:18). His name is Lucifer and, among other names, Satan or Beelzebub. God then created everything else (Gen 1-2: 2), light, sky, land, vegetation, the sun, moon, stars and planets. Fish, birds and every kind of animal. And finally He created man and woman (Adam & Eve) in His own image; whether or not that means physical or Spiritual image I’m not sure. Adam & Eve were set to work in the garden taking care of everything there. They had free access to eat from any tree except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God made it clear that if they were to eat of this tree they would die (Gen 2:16-17). They disobeyed God and ate the fruit of this tree and indeed gained wisdom but their sin resulted in spiritual death – this is known as separation from God. Because of Adam & Eve’s sin all people from that moment on would be born as sin into a world of sin and separated from God. God cannot bear sin but He loves people with a love we cannot comprehend (Ps 100:5 & 103:17, Joel 2:13, Eph 3:17-19, 1 John 3:1). So then how does sinful man come into a relationship with a Holy, sinless God? Through Jesus, prophesied about in the Old Testament and testified to in the New Testament. Of Him I’ll talk about in my next post.

 

The historical books (Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther) contain records of events surrounding the Israelite tribes; their people’s, leaders, enemies, battles and victories. Amazing examples of the power of God are seen repeatedly in these books. It was the Ancient Hebrews who later became the Israelites that were God’s chosen people, the nation He wanted to proclaim to other nations Jesus Christ as salvation for mankind and it was through Abraham that the promise of this nation was birthed (Gen 12:1-3). Following Adam & Eve’s expulsion from the garden the earth’s population grew and so did mankind’s sin (Gen 1:5-6). God could not tolerate the sin, “…his heart was filled with pain” (Gen 1:6). Our minds can’t comprehend the Holiness of God even when we consider the utter abhorrence he has to sin. It’s because of this that His wrath is so great. My pastor made an interesting comment on Sunday; that we can’t understand the grace of God until we understand the wrath of God. As a result of their great evil, God chose to wipe people from the face of the earth with a flood; all except a man called Noah – who was blameless and upright – His wife, 3 children and their wives. Following the flood the earth was once again populated and mankind, forgetting so quickly, grew in arrogance and wickedness. Humanity united was a threat to itself. (An interesting observation to make is that today as the world becomes more united through media, internet, transport and so on we become a greater threat to ourselves. With all our great knowledge and seemingly endless resources we are killing ourselves and killing our planet!) To frustrate their efforts God scattered them across the face of the earth and created different languages (Gen 11:1-9).

 

So there became nations, one of which was the Israelites. These were a people persecuted. During a time of famine the Israelites were forced to settle in Egypt where they were oppressed into slavery. Moses was called by God to lead the Israelites to freedom and they fled Egypt heading to the land promised by God to Abraham, which today is known as Israel. It was during their journey that God spoke and wrote His law to Moses in the form of Ten Commandments written on stone tablets. From Abraham’s grandson Jacob, came the 12 tribes of Israel and from the tribe of Judah comes Jesus’ lineage (Matt 1:2-16). Prophets and judges initially led this nation until the Israelites begged for a King (1 Sam 8:5) and Saul became the first King of the Israelite nation. God’s hand, His protection and guidance were on the Israelites despite their consistent rebellion, complaining, idolatry and disobedience. War after war came against them at the hands of the Assyrian, Persian and Babylonian empires and other nations such as the Philistines and Amalekites. Even the Israelite tribes were not unified. And yet God persisted with them, they were His chosen people. The prophetic books (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi) are an account of the guidance, blessing, reproach or punishment God spoke to the Israelites through His prophets. They also contain foretelling of the coming of Christ, saviour to the world. Finally the poetic works contain prayers, songs, words of wisdom and poems written by various authors.

 

This is so very abbreviated and does not begin to cover the richness of what the Old Testament contains. But in summary it describes God, His character and his workings in the lives of the Israelites. It describes how people have come to live in a world full of sin and depravity, separated from Him. It then illustrates His plan to save mankind through Jesus because of His great and consuming love. In the next post I will attempt to summarise the New Testament.

 

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  1. […] The God Discussion (Old Testement) – Why do I believe (Part 3) (melsmind.wordpress.com) […]

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