I'm so excited about our new study looking at the history of Israel. Over the next few weeks we are going to fly thru some of the richest books of the Bible. My goal in this home study is to fit the pieces of the puzzle together. If you've spent a lot of time in the Old Testament or if you have grown up hearing about the stories in the Old Testament, you might be familiar with some of the pieces. But being familiar with the pieces and being able to fit them together are two totally different things. I realized about 5 years ago that I was familiar with the stories, but I did not know how to fit them together. I knew that Abraham had many sons, but I couldn't tell you without a lot of thought whether Noah and his ark came first or whether Abraham came first. I knew about Moses and the Ten Commandments, but I didn't know where they fit in the story of Israel. I had heard of captivity, but I honestly didn't know who was captive or why. My prayer is that as we read God's Word and study together, that we will not only be able to put a timeline together of events, but that we will also be able to see how relatable the men and women of the Old Testament are. Isn't it great that when we read the stories of the heros of our faith, we begin to understand that these men and women were just like us, they did great things and they made grave mistakes, but in the end GOD used each of their stories to point to the Savior? I love the Old Testament because in it we find generation after generation looking forward to the promised Messiah. If you were with us last Monday, you may have discovered where the Messiah is first mentioned in the Bible. Curious to find out? Then join us in Week 1 of the Old Testament Home Study. We're going to have a great time digging in and running thru the pages of Scripture together. I pray you enjoy your time as much as I enjoy preparing.
How to use this study: Each week you will find suggested reading, reflection questions, and certain events to add to your timeline. In addition, you will find a little bit of commentary from me on the chapters that we have read. This is by no means an all-inclusive study. We could spend year on this history, but we are going to hit a few highlights for eight weeks and soak in what God has for us throughout that time.
It might be helpful to have one notebook that you reserve just for this study. Each week you will be adding events to your timeline and be memorizing the entire timeline. This will be easier than you think because as you read the stories you will see how the characters are connected. And connecting the dots will help you retain the information longer. Because we all learn differently, I encourage you to make this study your own. If you are a visual learner, you may want to draw pictures for each event and memorize them thru art. If you are an auditory learner you may want to come up with clever key words to say that represent each event. Someone might prefer a simple timeline and someone else might want to write a song. I suggest praying for creativity to help you memorize these events and the people involved in the events. One of the reasons I am so passionate about learning these events, in the order they happened, is because it opens the door for deeper understanding of the Old Testament. When you go to church and the sermon is from Exodus, you will have a background of the events that happen in that book, maybe you'll even remember a person or two that God used in that book…or when you are watching “The Ten Commandments” on AMC, you'll know how the Israelites ended up in Egypt in the first place and why they ended up as slaves. My prayer as God uses me to direct you through this study is that each of us will realize that this is not just another novel on the “Best Seller” list, but these are real people who walked the earth. This is our heritage as a human race! I pray that as we study the Word we will have a greater understanding of who God is and what He has done. We will find Him faithful from beginning to end. I can't wait to meet you on the pages of Scripture! Let's begin with prayer, and I'll meet you “In the beginning.”