Run Through the Bible
“The Old Testament”
November 4, 2018
By Ed Young
The Bible is a collection of sixty-six books that all tell one seamless story. Yet, so often, we get caught in the details and miss the overarching meaning behind its message. In this installment, Pastor Ed Young gives us an overview of the Old Testament and shows us how it not only meant something thousands of years ago, it also means something to us today!
Well, I’m very excited about this series, Run Through the Bible. Not walk through the Bible, Run Through the Bible. If this is your first time at Fellowship, welcome. I think today you’re gonna see and understand the brilliance of God’s word, the Bible. Today we begin with the Old Testament, next week, the New Testament. If you’re like me, and I hate to confess this, I grew up as a pastor’s kid, as most of you know. I had the opportunity to be involved in great churches, had some cool Bible study teachers, Sunday School teachers. Then I went off to a Bible college. I majored in Christianity and Communication. I attended the largest evangelical seminary in the world for four years. I received my Master of Divinity. I took several doctrinal classes and I left during the middle of that to help start Fellowship. So, I’ve had some really great theological teaching. Brilliant men and women have taught me God’s word, and I’m thankful for that. However, no one in my ADD mind ever really helped me (I hate to confess this, but we are in church), helped me see the flow and the story and the context of Scripture. In other words, I never really felt like very many people zoomed out and told me, “OK, Ed. Here is the backdrop of what you’re talking about.” Because I took a story over here… wow. That’s a cool story about Adam and Eve. Took a story over there, Jonah, getting swallowed by a fish! Are you kidding me? Or maybe a Scripture verse in the book of Judges, “Everyone did what was right in their own eyes,” the Bible says, and they all messed up. So, I would take bits and pieces and stories, maybe like you, and I found myself missing the flow, the context of stuff. And I think as you look at our culture today I think you would say in all fields of thought that we’re sort of like that. Whether it be in economics, whether it be in government, whether it be in history, so often we just look at one little aspect and miss the flow.
I talked to a friend of mine this past week who has his law degree from one of the top law schools in America and I said, “What law professor told all of you about the flow of law and how law began and how it’s utilized?” Kind of a big picture. He said, “No one.”
And then I talked to someone who attended medical school. OK, surely someone sat you down in one of the classes and went through kind of the zoomed-out approach. No one. So, it’s interesting when it comes to church that we’ve fallen into the same trap. And I understand. I get it. The Bible is a complex book in many different ways, but also the Bible is a story about His story. And it’s my prayer that His story will become your story and my story. As I go through this today I think you’ll see yourself as I talk about some of these things.
Now you might be going, OK, running through the Bible. I don’t see any Scripture verses. I didn’t put Scripture verses on these icons for a reason. Because the Bible, the Old Testament, specifically is not written chronologically. I mean it is, there are some chronological aspects to it but it’s more story. And I thought these icons, because we remember with pictures, could help us get the full context of what we’re talking about. So, make sure that you have one of these. It’s a footprint. Did you get that? A big footprint. So, this is gonna be your message map because whenever you run, you have to use your toes, and someone told me the other day when they were talking about getting ready to run, 10 toes down. You’ve gotta have 10 toes down. So, I’ve put 10 icons from the Old Testament, the old covenant, that you need to understand. You’ll see some blanks in there, and I’ve purposely left some of the blanks blank, so you can fill them in. Because every time we see a blank – I don’t know if you’re like me – but I want to fill it in. So, I’ve given you kind of the rules of what we’re gonna do. It’s gonna be a fun seminar. I think this is something that you can utilize and keep with you for the rest of your life and I’m very, very, very excited about running through the Bible.
Well, let’s talk about the Old Testament. Thirty-nine books, written by 28 authors, over 2,000 years. Two thousand years, this story. Then you have the New Testament, which was written over a generation. So, in the New Testament it took them about a generation to write that. The Old Testament, 2,000 years. The Old Testament, one of my professors told me, is the New Testament concealed, and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed. It’s very important to understand the Old Testament. You might be going, why? Well, when Jesus referred to the Scriptures he was talking about the Old Testament. When the apostle Paul was talking about the Scriptures he was talking about the Old Testament. All of the doctrines in the New Testament have their foundation in the Old Testament. What’s so funny is I read a recent survey that in most evangelical churches nine out of 10 messages are from the New Testament. And I get it, that’s great. But, we’re leaving out these 39 books. That’s why so often if you look back at the menu of all of the messages that we’ve done at Fellowship for 28 years there is a pretty balanced menu regarding the text of the New Testament and the text of the Old Testament.
Do you guys like to take pictures? I do. Man, with these phones it’s unbelievable the videos and the pictures that we can take these days. Now I take pictures a lot. I’m kind of a visual person and I have really learned recently how to edit pictures. Usually when I edit I start with the shadows, then I’ll the color, make it more vivid, and I often pat myself on the back. I mean, I know how to edit, and pretty much it’s done for me, I’ve just learned how to utilize and how to navigate my phone to edit. When it comes to the Old Testament it’s sort of like unedited photos. You scroll through your pictures, that’s the Old Testament. Unedited. Sort of raw, kind of shadows, color’s not as vivid. There it is! But not really. The New Testament, oh wow. It is edited. The shadows are taken out. Whoa! The vivid color, we see everything really, really good. We, though, have to understand the Old Testament to get the New Testament. So, let’s start, let’s start our run in the beginning. What do you think? In the beginning.
See this apple? And I’m gonna fly through this, we’re running now. See this apple? That’s the first icon. CREATION. God made man. I don’t know how he did it, no one knows. The Bible says it happened in days. Were those days squillions of years or 24 hours? I have no idea. The Bible just says God made something from nothing. We’re made in God’s image. The first man and the first woman. We have this choice. The Bible says we have a free will. God did not make us like robots, he gave us a choice. Adam and Eve chose, did they not, to do their own thing their own way? They turned, sinned before God. They tried to become rulers of their own lives. I still fight that, and so do you. Yet I want you to notice something right here. Here’s a point of application. God always initiates. He initiated this. He made man. Man had a choice, we fumbled the ball, we failed, we were evicted out of the Garden because of our sin. God is holy. He’s perfect, we’re not.
So, we messed up. What did God do? Well, God could have left us in a lurch. What did God do? He could have said, “Well, too bad. I’m holy, you’re not.” What did God do? Well, God did something. He began to reveal a shadow, think about that picture, of redemption, of atonement. Not to get too detailed, because it’s tempting to get detailed in all of these icons, we have Adam and Eve sinning, and Adam and Eve realizing that they are naked. Not nekkid, that’s how southerners pronounce it, naked. Naked before God. So, God killed an innocent animal, spilled its blood, took the skin off the carcass and clothed Adam and Eve. And men, it’s the first example we have of a woman going shopping. Because Eve said, “I got my carcass from Neiman Marcus.” A covering, a foreshadowing, of something that God is orchestrating. So, man had some problems. You got the flood. You got all sorts of craziness. You have things we’ll talk about later, the Tower of Babel, but let’s move onto THE FRANCHISE PLAYERS.
God picked a man, Abraham, from Ur of the Chaldees. He picked his son, Isaac, and his son, Jacob, these franchise players. They’re not perfect. They’re fallen and fallible, yet these guys are men of faith. And he told Abraham, “Hey Abraham, you’re gonna father an amazing group of people. I mean, the group of people you’re gonna father, they’ll be as numerous as the sand on the seashore, as the stars in the sky.” Even though Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – Jacob, we learned several weeks ago was the father of the 12 tribes of Israel. Even though they were whack in many ways, even though they were screwed up in many ways, literally God used them. Another point of application. I’m glad that God hits straight licks with crooked sticks. I heard that a long time ago. I’m a crooked stick, so are you. Isn’t that great? That’s God’s grace and mercy. So, to fill in the blank again, the fall of man. That’s the apple. Secondly, the franchise players, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Jacob had a son named Joseph. Joseph was the guy with the Gucci coat, the favored son. He was sold into Egyptian slavery by his own family. You think you come from a dysfunctional family? What? They sold him into Egyptian slavery, told his dad he’d been killed! This is Joseph! We’re talking Joseph! He goes down to Egypt and he becomes the leader, I mean like the man, of this country. And because they had holy foods, and Jacob’s family and their loved ones were in a famine, the family cruised down to big Egypt and they decided hey, we like Egypt. Joseph’s the man, everything’s cool. And they hung out in Egypt and they stayed in Egypt longer and longer. And then Joseph clocked out and then you have them multiplying because the children of Israel went to God’s fertility clinic of faith and reproduction and you have this massive nation in Egypt.
Is this helping you? It helps me a lot. So, they’re in Egyptian bondage for 400 years. They’re most of the gross national product of the Egyptians, the Israelites. Well, bring in Moses and the EXODUS. Starting at power forward, Moses! He had some serious momentum. Oh Lord, I can’t lead. I can’t lead the people out because I… ya-ya-ya-ya… stutter. Because I’m not very eloquent. I just can’t do it. Yet, God picks unlikely people to do amazing things. So, Moses takes them out of Egyptian slavery. Don’t you see the foreshadowing again? Don’t you see Jesus here? You see, we’re in bondage to sin, we’re freed up, so we have Moses being a shadow, a type of Christ.
So, the Israelites are emancipated! They’re free! And God sends them to the place where the old covenant went down. I’m talking about Mount Sinai. I’m talking about the 10 Commandments. God gives Moses the 10 Commandments. He gives Moses, also, the schematic of the tabernacle, very important, which is going to be a portable dwelling place of the presence of God until they close the real estate deal in the Promised Land. Are you with me? Just nod your head. I know it’s a lot but we’re having fun.
So, in Exodus (the blanks) Moses leads Israel to freedom. So now Moses receives the 10 Commandments. He receives how the tabernacle should be built, and you have Israel on this vacation, which is supposed to take – I don’t know – maybe a month or two. It took them 40 years. Why? Because they were not obedient. Here’s another point of application. When we’re obedient, rewards and blessings happen. I know it’s simple but let’s just look at the story. When we’re disobedient we end up in slavery, we end up wandering in the wilderness. Instead of getting from point A to point B in a direct fashion, oh we go around and down and there and yonder. Because the people were disobedient God allowed them to die in the wilderness.
CONQUEST. But a new person takes over when Moses’ ticket is punched, Joshua. And Joshua takes this new Hebrew generation into the Promised Land. Closes this amazing real estate deal. Your blanks will say the ultimate real estate deal. Here’s what God said to him, this is huge. God said, “Hey Joshua, take out, push out, destroy every ungodly object and person from the land I have given you.” Remember, he promised the A-train, Abraham, all of that stuff. Abraham! You’re the man! You’re gonna father a great nation! I’ll give you this great place, this great tract of land, but you’ve got to obey me.” God says, “J-man, tell your people, the 12 tribes, move everybody out.” They almost did. I mean, they almost did. And here’s what I’ve learned about my life, maybe you’ve not learned this, but partial obedience is disobedience. Yeah, I’m partially faithful to my spouse. I’m partially honest in business. I’m partially a stand-up guy on my football team. I mean… what? So, if we don’t deal with the sin and chicanery in our lives it will come back and bite us. And that’s what happened to God’s people. You’re like, come on, God’s people! What are you smoking? What are you thinking? I mean, God’s told you what to do! He’s given you this amazing piece of real estate and you’re not gonna do what he said to do? So, they mess up.
So, when they mess up God sends JUDGES. Samson was a judge. Samuel was a judge. Gideon was a judge. Cats like that. So, judges, we have the spin cycle of rebellion. So, as you take a glance, as you look at this, you’re gonna be like, OK. You’ll see the spin-sin cycle in the Old Testament. Forgetting God, falling, failure, forgiveness. Forgetting God, falling, failure, forgiveness. <sound effects> Sometimes people ask me, “Do you rehearse your sound effects?” No, it sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? <sound effects> The spin cycle of sin and rebellion. Don’t you know these judges were frustrated? Trying to bring them back, trying to open up a can, trying to get up in their grill. Well here’s what the people did.
KINGS. OK, how many parents do we have? Parents, OK, parents, parents. Kids love to say this, don’t they? They love to look at someone else and go, “I want what they have! They have this…” and it starts when they’re tiny and it continues when they’re teenagers. It’s unbelievable. I’m that way. “Well, he has this. I need that.” As adults, “I want that, too.”
So, God’s people saw the neighboring nations, these ungodly nations that had kings. “God, we want a king, too! We want a king, too!” #Wewantakingtoo was floating around everywhere. It was really popular. Well, you know what God did? And this is interesting God did this. And God moves in mysterious ways. There’s no doubt. God said, “Well, you want a king? You really want a king? OK.” And God is that way.
Have you ever thought about this? Again, it’s part of the freedom of choice we have. When we get to the end of our life God is not gonna slam-dunk anybody to Hell. We make that choice. God is simply gonna give us a greater measure of what we desired on planet Earth. And it was almost like his people were saying, “We want a king! We want a king so bad! We want a king!”
Well, who did God give them? Saul. Wow. Oh, he’s handsome. He had like 4.3 million followers on Insta. I mean this guy was GQ. Shredded, he didn’t have a six-pack, he had an eight-pack! He had the right tats on. He was just like the man! But he was so eaten up with envy, jealousy. He spent most of his life trying to kill David. And finally, he said, “Buh-duh-buh-duh-that’s all folks!” If you’re over 40 you got it! But if you’re a millennial, you’re like what’s he talking about? I don’t get all of my humor from millennials. Sorry. Some of it is gonna be – like earlier the reference about the iPhone pictures, millennials are like, “Oh yeah, I’m with you.” And some of the older folks are like, what are you talking about? That humor was for those of us 40 and over. “Buh-duh-buh-duh-that’s all folks!” That’s Saul. You get it? Help me up here, remember? Help me!
Then you’ve got David. Well David was awesome, but he messed up because he went to bed, bath, and beyond. Now that was a joke for everyone. So, David messed up. Then, Mr. Trustafarian, you know what that means? If you don’t know what it means lift your hand. Trustafarian. OK, a trustafarian will be a trust funder. If you grow up, grew up in a very wealthy family, your family would have these trust funds for you. There are a lot of trust fund people in our world today. They don’t really do that much, they just kind of live off of what their family made. So, you know, Rastafarian, Bob Marley, trustafarian. That’s good! I’ve gotta explain my humor now! See, I’m funnier than you think. So, the next time you see somebody who’s you know, 20 years old, driving a $400,000 Rolls Royce through Dallas or Miami or Norman, go, “hey! That’s a trustafarian! You guys are more energetic because of the time change. I promise you, you are.
So, Saul messed up and you can just see the kings didn’t get God’s people where they wanted to go. And because Saul messed up, David, because of the stall of Saul, all of that, the kings and there were other kings, didn’t work out.
So, you have the DIVISION, the division of the 12 tribes, very important, Israel in the north, Judah in the south. Where are the prophets, Ed? People like, you know, these mouthpieces of God, prophets. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Nahum, and Habakkuk, and people like that, and Micah and Malachi. Well, the prophets are going to be in this zone. They’re gonna be here in the split. They’re gonna be here during the eviction, and they’re also gonna be here during the return. The prophets. Does that help everybody? So, it’s not like, oh Malachi! I guess he was over here when the children of Israel… No. Malachi is way over in this zone, OK? So that helps me as a preacher, as a communicator. So, you have this division.
Well, whenever we look to man for answers… Oh, I’m gonna search for my king away from God! We always end up living a divided life. Isn’t that true? So, you have EXILE (this is scary, here). Assyria, because God will allow us to choose our choices. Another point of application! But not our consequences. Let me say that again. God will allow us to (students) choose our choices. It’s a free country! Yeah. But we can’t choose our consequences.
But when we look to man, “Oh we want a king, too!” away from God, division. So, Assyria comes in and they take 10 of the northern tribes from Israel out. We never hear from them again. Who knows what happened. Gone. The two tribes, Judah, were taken captive from the Babylonians and then to fast forward because of time. Persia comes in and conquers everybody and they allow some of the Jews to RETURN to J-town (Jerusalem), rebuild the walls (Nehemiah), worship (Ezra), and then you have it all moving toward Malachi, who says, “You’re still not living for the Lord. You have moments in the spin cycle of sin… <sound effect> but you’re still (read the book of Malachi, last book in the Old Testament) under a curse.”
So, wait a minute. Genesis they’re under a curse. So, they started there, with a curse, and now all the way here, a curse? The Old Testament is more of a sideways movement of history. Isn’t that interesting? Sideways. Yeah, I mean obviously God was revealing himself more and more. Obviously, we see God’s redemptive plan in the garden. We see it mirrored with bondage and being freed up. We see, of course, God judging and warning and then we see repentance, coming back to J-town. But wow. Malachi ends with a curse, then you have 400 years of their phones being on silent. Four hundred years of SILENCE. And you just thought it was a page that separated the Old Testament and a New Testament in your Bible. Oh, there’s a blank page! No, 400 years. You have the Pharisees and Sadducees and Greeks and Romans and all this crazy chaos that we’ll learn more about when we leave for Israel next week.
I sure wish you were going. But guess what? We’re doing another trip next Thanksgiving. If you miss this one we’re doing another trip next Thanksgiving. I’m serious. This is gonna be awesome.
T.S. So whew! That’s the Old Testament! That is the context and some of the concepts of the Old Testament, but I want you to get the content. I talked about the context and the concepts but what’s the content? The content is Jesus. The Old Testament is a Him-book. It’s all about Him. It’s all about Jesus, because wherever you look you see Jesus. I mean, wherever you look, and if you don’t you’re not reading right. It’s about Him.
In Genesis he’s our Creator.
In Exodus he’s our Passover Lamb.
In Leviticus he’s our High Priest.
In Numbers he’s our Cloud by day and a Fire by night.
In Deuteronomy he’s our promise-keeping and promise-making God.
In Joshua he’s the Captain of our salvation.
In Judges he’s our Law-giver.
In Ruth he’s our kinsman Redeemer.
In 1 and 2 Samuel he’s our Prophet.
In Kings and Chronicles he’s our reigning King.
In Ezra he’s our Worship.
In Nehemiah he’s our Wall-builder.
In Esther he’s our Mordecai.
In Job he’s our Healer.
In Psalms he’s our Good Shepherd.
In Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, he’s our Wisdom.
In Song of Solomon he’s the Initiator of Marital Love.
In Isaiah he’s our Prince of Peace.
In Jeremiah he’s our Potter and we are the clay.
In Lamentations he’s our weeping Prophet.
In Ezekiel he’s the Wheel within the wheel.
In Daniel he’s the fourth Man in the fiery furnace.
In Hosea he’s our faithful Husband.
In Joel he’s the One who pours out his spirit on all people.
In Amos he’s our burden Bearer.
In Obadiah he’s Mighty to save.
In Jonah he’s our foreign Missionary.
In Micah he’s our Hope of restoration.
In Nahum he’s our Avenger of God’s elect.
In Habakkuk he’s God’s Evangelist.
In Zephaniah he’s our Savior.
In Haggai he’s our Restorer.
In Zachariah he’s our Fountain.
In Malachi he’s our Tithe.
I’m talking about the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Author of our Salvation, Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!