“OVERVIEW OF THE BIBLE”
Abraham through “the Wanderings”
Review summary words (one-word clues) for books of the Bible:
If I say Genesis, you say “beginnings”.
If I say Exodus, you say “exit”.
If I say Leviticus, you say “Offerings and Feasts”.
If I say Numbers, you say “wanderings”.
If I say Deuteronomy, you say “second law”.
If I say Joshua, you say “conquest”.
If I say Judges, you say “cycles”.
Explain how this helps with the historical setting and context. The one-word clue will remind you what has gone on in that book
Genesis – beginnings
Exodus – exit — need to get to the promised land
Leviticus — offerings and feasts
Numbers – wander about for 40 years
Review from last time
Gen. 1:27 — “God created man in His own image” —
Why did God create mankind in His own image? RELATIONSHIP
God created man for a special relationship, unlike any other part of His creation.
Four key events: Creation, Fall, Flood, Nations
Key themes: Judgment — Grace
When we left off last time we were in Genesis 15
Abraham grew up in UR (see map) and then took his wife Sarai to Haran, where Abraham gets his CALL from God (Gen. 15) and is promised LAND, SEED, and A BLESSING.
–A covenant meant cutting an animal ( or several in half, and holding hands, “walking through the pieces,” which is what COVENANT means (in other words, if I break the covenant, I’m “dead meat”)
–In this case, ONLY GOD WALKS BETWEEN THE PIECES — the covenant is not based on what Abram does — the responsibility is placed on God himself
Gen. 17:1-7 When Abram was ninety-nine years old the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.” Then Abram fell on his face. And God said to him, “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.
God first came to Abraham at age 75, Sarai didn’t believe it, sent Abraham into Haggar — who becomes mother of Ishmael (father of the Arab nations). But Ishmael was not the line of promise.
vs. 19ff God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him.
Then, at age 99, Abraham and Sarah have Isaac, who IS the line of promise.
Gen. 22:1-18 After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.” And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.
When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called the name of that place, “The LORD will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.”
And the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven and said, “By myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”
Abraham is asked to take Isaac to Mount Moriah to sacrifice him — but God provides the sacrifice (a ram in the thicket). God “tested” Abraham.
Note that on the way up the mountain, Abraham said, “God will provide the sacrifice.”
[Cross-reference: Gen. 15:6 — Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness]
Now we’re going to skip forward quite a bit (some great stories in Gen. 20-35, such as Isaac and Rebekah). But basically we’re wanting to focus our start on the life of Abraham, then to Isaac, Jacob (Israel), and Joseph.
Jacob means “cheater” or “deceiver.” Jacob has a “wrestling match” with an angel (or pre-incarnate Jesus) and is re-named Israel (meaning Prince of God).
God changes people’s names — Abram to Abraham
Jacob to Israel
Now we move to the 12 sons of Jacob
The line of promise comes through Judah, but Joseph plays a key role.
Recap story of Joseph’s “coat of many colors,” and how his brothers sell him into slavery because of Jacob’s favoritism for Joseph
JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT
The oldest (Reuben) convinces the other brothers not to kill him. Joseph is taken down into Egypt, which is how the Israelite nation gets down into Egypt and needs to “exit.”
Gen. 39:1-4 Now Joseph had been brought down to Egypt, and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard, an Egyptian, had bought him from the Ishmaelites who had brought him down there. The LORD was with Joseph, and he became a successful man, and he was in the house of his Egyptian master. His master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD caused all that he did to succeed in his hands. So Joseph found favor in his sight and attended him, and he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had.
The hand of the Lord is on Joseph and his life, and he’s sold to Potiphar — the captain of the guard for Pharaoh.
Joseph is made overseer of Potiphar’s house, and Joseph prospers.
Gen. 39:9-23 He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” And as she spoke to Joseph day after day, he would not listen to her, to lie beside her or to be with her.
But one day, when he went into the house to do his work and none of the men of the house was there in the house, she caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me.” But he left his garment in her hand and fled and got out of the house. And as soon as she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and had fled out of the house, she called to the men of her household and said to them, “See, he has brought among us a Hebrew to laugh at us. He came in to me to lie with me, and I cried out with a loud voice. And as soon as he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried out, he left his garment beside me and fled and got out of the house.” Then she laid up his garment by her until his master came home, and she told him the same story, saying, “The Hebrew servant, whom you have brought among us, came in to me to laugh at me. But as soon as I lifted up my voice and cried, he left his garment beside me and fled out of the house.”
As soon as his master heard the words that his wife spoke to him, “This is the way your servant treated me,” his anger was kindled. And Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined, and he was there in prison. But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison. Whatever was done there, he was the one who did it. The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph’s charge, because the LORD was with him. And whatever he did, the LORD made it succeed.
Potiphar’s wife tries to seduce Joseph — he refuses and runs!
He is thrown into prison, but he’s put in charge there as well! (God’s hand is on him)
There he meets the Pharaoh’s cupbearer and baker, whose dreams he interprets (the cupbearer is reinstated and the baker is executed).
The cupbearer forgets Joseph, and Joseph is left in prison for 2 years — life’s not always fair!
But we don’t read about Joseph complaining — he knew God was with him, and he saw the overall picture.
Perspective that can help us get through tough times!
Joseph gets an opportunity to interpret Pharaoh’s dream, and as a result is made “governor” over Egypt. [Note Gen. 41:16 — he knows his power and provision comes from God.]
A seven-year famine hits the rest of the middle east, and Jacob’s sons have to come to Egypt to trade cattle for grain. Joseph gets the rest of his family to move to Egypt, and then confronts them with who he is.
Gen. 50:15-21 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.” So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this command before he died: ‘Say to Joseph, “Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.”’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.
His brothers lied — the Bible is very honest!
You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good [cross-reference Romans 8:28]. Note the overall perspective and the theme of God’s sovereignty.
That covers the book of Genesis. Key verses? (review them…)
Gen. 1:27 — So God made man in His own image…
Gen. 15:6 — Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness
Gen. 50:20 — You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good
Ex. 1:1-8 These are the names of the sons of Israel who came to Egypt with Jacob, each with his household: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin, Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher. All the descendants of Jacob were seventy persons; Joseph was already in Egypt. Then Joseph died, and all his brothers and all that generation. But the people of Israel were fruitful and increased greatly; they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong, so that the land was filled with them.
Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.
There arose a king over Egypt who knew not Joseph…..
SEVENTY people come from Canaan to Egypt. 430 YEARS LATER, Egypt has 2 to 3 million Hebrews. The Pharaoh feels he has a problem on his hands, because the Jewish people are starting to outnumber the Egyptians.
Ex. 1:22 Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, “Every son that is born to the Hebrews you shall cast into the Nile, but you shall let every daughter live.”
Pharaoh commands all the male Hebrew babies to be killed.
Ex. 2:1-10 Now a man from the house of Levi went and took as his wife a Levite woman. The woman conceived and bore a son, and when she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him three months. When she could hide him no longer, she took for him a basket made of bulrushes and daubed it with bitumen and pitch. She put the child in it and placed it among the reeds by the river bank. And his sister stood at a distance to know what would be done to him. Now the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her young women walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her servant woman, and she took it. When she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby was crying. She took pity on him and said, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.” Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and call you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?” And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother. And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed him. When the child grew older, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. She named him Moses, “Because,” she said, “I drew him out of the water.”
Moses is born, spared by the midwives and watched by his sister Miriam, found by Pharaoh’s daughter. Then, after being raised in Pharaoh’s court, one day Moses sides with a Hebrew slave and kills his Egyptian taskmaster. He flees to Midian, where he lives as a shepherd, until the day he receives God’s call from the burning bush…..
Ex. 3:13-14 Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”
I AM who I AM…..I AM has sent me to you…..
Why doesn’t God say “I’m Jehovah” or “I’m the one that promised Abraham” or something? He’s saying I AM the ever-present, all-sufficient one. Egypt served many god’s, but God is saying I am God. ( cross-reference with Jesus’ I AM statements…)
God sends Moses to Pharoah
Moses says “Let my people go” and Pharaoh says “NO,” so God sends 10 plagues.
The last plague is the killing of the first born sons of Egypt (through the Angel of Death), at Passover.
Ex. 12:12-13, and also 21-24 — The significance of the blood, and the obedience required at Passover. God is very consistent — just as with Cain & Abel, and with Abraham, God requires a blood sacrifice. “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins” (forgiveness, or a “covering” of their sins).
Pharaoh lets them go — the get as far as the Red Sea, then Pharaoh changes his mind (they had taken the riches of Egypt with them — which the Egyptians had willingly given them). The Hebrews walk through a WALL (just like in the MGM movie) of water on each side — enough to drown the Egyptian army and their horses/chariots.
They go down to the Sinai peninsula (famous location, which we could visit today!)
From Exodus 19 to Numbers 10, the location is Mount Sinai — that’s why Leviticus is a “wayside stop” instead of a part of the chronological path of Bible history.
Here in the desert, they are a nation. They are a people who have particular problems and who need rules and regulations (ie. if my ox gores your ox, or if you accidently hurt someone, etc.). So God gives them rules and regulations — and that’s where these “offerings and feasts” come from. God also gives them a “travelling temple” called a tabernacle — where a priest will offer their sacrifices in the Holy of Holies, on the Mercy Seat. [cross-reference the book of Hebrews.]
Here God gives the 10 Commandments (see Ex. 20:1-17), which are summarized by “You shall love the Lord Your God will all your heart, soul and strength, and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
In Leviticus we see how particular God is about the details of what needs to be done. We can’t approach God on our own terms. We approach Him on HIS terms.)
That sums up Leviticus! (Genesis — “beginnings” / Exodus — “exit” / Leviticus — “feasts and offerings” / and now Numbers…..
Now it’s time to move off of Sinai, and go to the land God has promised (Canaan). So God moves them up in the desert, providing manna (“What is it?”) and quail on the way.
But they’re in the desert, and what is there in the desert but problems?
Numbers 13:17-19 Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan and said to them, “Go up into the Negeb and go up into the hill country, and see what the land is, and whether the people who dwell in it are strong or weak, whether they are few or many, and whether the land that they dwell in is good or bad, and whether the cities that they dwell in are camps or strongholds,
— A spy is sent out from each of the 12 tribes…
They come to a place called Kadesh-Barnea, and from there they are to spy out the land. They were supposed to spy out three things (the land, the people, and the cities).
vs. 30; vs. 31 But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.” Then the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are.”
Caleb and Joshua came back with a report of faith, while the 10 other spies came back afraid.
(Why did they have to kill and fight? — God uses the Israelites to judge the even-more-wicked inhabitants of the land. They do not believe God at all. God is a God of mercy and grace, but He is also a God of awesome judgment — See Gen. 15:13-16 — Also, cross-reference with several Psalms where this problem is expressed…..)
Illus: cancerous tumor; must do radical surgery to protect the rest of the body
Because of the spies’ and people’s disobedience and lack of faith, the entire generation is sent back to the wilderness for 40 years (one year for each day) — God is a God of judgment!
Except for Joshua and Caleb. God had said the land was theirs — just go take it! Still, there is a thread of mercy and redemption…..
Numbers 21:8-9 And the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.
— the bronze serpent lifted up in the wilderness — sign of GRACE!
[cross-reference with John 3:14-17 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
— the same theme is there — God saying “Just trust Me!”]