- Daily Bible notes entitled "End of Old Testament Record"
Our nine-and-a-half-month study of the Old Testament (OT) has concluded. The OT covers the span of at least 4,000 years, from the account of the creation to the lives of Nehemiah and Ezra after captivity. As we reflect upon all that we've learned from our Old Testament devotionals, let's recap the major events.
GOD has revealed Himself bit-by-bit over the centuries, allowing us increased insight into His character as well as our purpose. We know that GOD is all-powerful, holy, loving, just, all-knowing, and present everywhere at the same time. Humans were created for the purpose of sharing life with GOD. Adam was given dominion (that is, rule or control) over the earth and all its creatures. Eve was created to be Adam's helper and companion, because GOD saw that it wasn't good for Adam to be by himself. Satan, for whatever reason, has been allowed to roam about on the earth and tempt humans into sinning against GOD. From the Fall of Adam and Eve in the garden until today, the majority of the world remains under the sway of evil. No one in the OT times was able to resist Satan's temptations over the course of their entire life—all sinned.
GOD chose a man named Abram, called him to follow GOD on a journey that would change his life as well as his children after him. GOD gave Abram a new name, Abraham, and he became the father of faith and the friend of GOD. As a result of Abraham's faith, GOD promised him three things:
- He would make his descendants into a great nation.
- He would give Abraham's descendants their own land, the land of Canaan, as an inheritance.
- Through Abraham's descendants all nations of the earth would be blessed.
After 400 years in slavery in the land of Egypt, Moses led the children of Abraham, now called the Israelites, to Canaan's border. GOD offered them the covenant at Mount Sinai, which they accepted, where GOD would be their God and they would be His people. The terms of this agreement were that the Israelites would follow the commandments of GOD as given through Moses. The people agreed, but repeatedly broke their covenant with GOD.
At Sinai, GOD's first promise to Abraham was fulfilled as the Israelites had become a great nation. The second promise to Abraham—the land promise—was fulfilled after 40 years of wandering in the wilderness because of their sin. Israel, under Joshua's leadership, entered Canaan and conquered it. However, sadly, because of their failure to completely destroy the Canaanites in the land, they eventually fell to the temptations of intermarrying and idol worship, which led to their downfall centuries later.
After the death of Joshua, the Israelites fell into idolatry and GOD repeatedly punished them, followed by their repentance, at which time GOD would raise up a judge to lead the people out of their oppression. Samuel was the last judge, and in his days, the people requested a king in order to be like the nations around them. Three kings ruled the nation of Israel, after which, because of Solomon's idolatry which was brought on by his foreign wives, GOD split the nation in two—Israel and Judah.
Despite a handful of righteous kings, the morality and spirituality of GOD's people continued to decline over the centuries following the split. GOD raised up prophet after prophet in an effort to save His children from punishment, but they continued to walk the path of wickedness, refusing to listen to the prophets and often killing them. GOD eventually used the Assyrians to destroy the northern nation of Israel and, around 600 B.C., He used Babylon to carry off the people of Judah to captivity. 70 years later, a remnant of Israelites from Judah, now referred to as Jews, returned to Jerusalem and rebuilt the city and its walls, including the temple.
Spiritual dedication, however, was temporary in the face of the suffering they endured during the days of rebuilding. As the Jews awaited the coming of the Messiah, whom most expected to bring physical prosperity in restoring Israel to prominence, their relationship with GOD deteriorated again. From about 425 to 5 B.C., GOD would be silent. There would be no new revelation from GOD.