Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Brief Overview of Biblical History 1 of 7

The panoramic view of biblical history helps us understand the progressive nature of how God has mediated his presence with individuals and groups over the ages to form an all-inclusive community of loving persons. In turn, a brief overview of biblical history helps us grasp how the divine drama took concrete forms in each age as people encountered God. These forms are determined by social context, the idiosyncrasies of individual characters, the specific purpose of diving action, and the limits of human response.

The People of God in Individual Communion. In the beginning God creates the world and places the first humans in the Garden of Eden to work and care for it. Here we see Adam and Eve in partnership encountering God face-to-face. “Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man” (Genesis 2:22, NIV). But Adam and Eve disobey God’s instructions, are banished from the garden (Genesis 3:6-7), and suffer social and physical consequences: domination, alienation, travail, suffering, and mortality. For generations God’s Spirit continues to strive with human beings during a downward spiral into immorality and political chaos. Finally, God destroys everyone except Noah and his family (Genesis 6:1-7:23).

The People of God Become a Family. With God’s appearance to Abram (Genesis 12:7), God promises to work through a nomadic, ethnic, patriarchal family to bring blessing to all peoples on earth. But Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob all struggle with the promise: Abraham tries to force its fulfillment, Isaac lies about the identity of his wife, and Jacob tricks his brother out of his birthright. Joseph completes the next step in God’s plan as he brings his family from Canaan to the land of Goshen, in the nation of Egypt, where they multiply and develop into tribes.

The People of God in Exodus. But eventually a new king who “did not know Joseph” comes to power in Egypt and enslaves the Israelites, whose “cry for help rose up to God” (Exodus 1:8, 2:23). God hears their groans and responds by sending a reluctant, tongue-tied Moses to lead Abraham’s descendants into the Promised Land. During their journey, God gives the people the Mosaic law, the tabernacle, and the ark of the covenant to remind them of his presence.

(From The Life With God Bible)

Related Post with Diagram: A Panoramic View of God's Purpose in History

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