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God's Solution Ministries and God's Solution Sanctuary
Monday, November 29, 2021

Old Testament Summary

 
 

Summary

The subtitle of the book: “A Journey Through the Old Testament: The story of How God Developed His People in The Old Testament” traced the unique stories of ‘History Makers’ – individuals who were influential and are still influential based on how they lived their lives because the spiritual level of a society is greatly influenced by the quality of its leadership, noting that we are very much like the people who lived before Christ. Similarly, they had their own problems, disappointments and aspirations. The author analyzed the spiritual principles applied by the history makers as applicable to twentieth century life. In the opening chapter, the author established that only God is eternal, even though He created the heavens, earth and angels, if any created item was eternal, then it will be equal to God. God created many messengers (angels) to serve Him, however, the chief of the angels – Lucifer, was not satisfied with serving God, he rebelled against God by pridefully thinking he was qualified to and could take God’s throne and position, without any negative repercussions (due to God’s kind nature), showing he did not entirely know God. He planned to first ascend into heaven by having his own permanent place in God’s throne room, secondly exalting his ‘throne’ – extent of power and influence above all the angels – even those under Michael and Gabriel’s control; thirdly govern heaven by assuming central control by sitting upon the mount ‘in the sides of the north – where God sits (Psalm 75:6-7; 48:2); ascending above heights – going above the level of the glory of God and lastly being like the Most High, essentially being God and exercising all the creative and ruler-ship abilities of God. Lucifer’s rebellion will end when he ends up in hell.

Chapter Two opens with the creation of Adam, the first man, like God, to be an expression of God on earth. Adam is referred to as the son of God, similar to how Jesus, the son of God the second Adam is usually referred to. The first Adam lived in heaven on earth, the second Adam lives in heaven and dwells in man on earth. Adam lived for 930 years, but is majorly remembered for a single day when he sinned by obeying the devil and disobeying God. The author traced the results, implications and transference of the sin nature to the descendants of Adam. This nature of sin was clearly evident in the life of his son Cain. Cain who was initially thought to be the promised deliverer, turned out to be a very wicked man who killed his brother following a self –governing approach  (the way of Cain) instead of being governed by God (the way of the Lord).

The author further traced the implications of Cain’s sin to future generations noting that Lamech, the seventh from Cain followed in ‘the Way of Cain” – a path which makes men offer anything to God, whether it is acceptable to God or not, being annoyed at God for personal sin, being unhappy, disregarding God, hating and killing, not accepting personal responsibility for own sin, blaming God for being unjust and removing self from fellowship with God. In comparison, Enoch, the seventh from Adam, through Seth’s line followed the way of the Lord – giving God the best, genuine repentance from sin, joy and gladness in the Lord, obedience to God, love of God and others, even our adversaries, acceptance of personal responsibility for sins, acceptance of God’s unbiased judgement, confession of sins, working towards pleasing God through faith and growing in fellowship with God

The nature of sin passed onto the generations until God had to severely bring a devastating flood upon all the living things on earth. The antediluvians were irredeemably sinful that God had to destroy them, they did not listen to and repent from Noah’s preaching of righteousness. Only the eight people and the animals in the ark were saved. Noah was credited as a man of faith for believing in what he had never seen: rain and judgement. The fact that Noah experienced a lapse of faith when he took to drinking that characterized the antediluvian age showed that the Noah who became drunk was not the same Noah who was perfect in his generations.

The first and second call of Abraham was explained as typical of how God deals with man, especially when the called is hesitant to obey the call, similar to how Jonah ran away from his calling. It took the death of Terah his father to spur him to obey the call and move from Haran, a place of halting in obedience to God, to Canaan, the land of promise where he had a ‘tent and altar’ demonstrating his separation from the world and separation to God. However, after arriving in Canaan, the land of promise, his faith was confronted with a challenge – a famine which led to his adopting a ‘plan B’, by moving his family to Egypt. In the process he abandoned his ‘tent and altar’ with a consequential lapse in faith, expressed by when the man of faith became a liar and trusting in his self and wisdom to protect his family. He corrected his action though when he returned to the place of fellowship ‘where his tent had been at the beginning’.

Even though the man of faith obeyed God’s second call, his obedience was not complete as he did not leave his father’s house completely, by taking his nephew (Lot) with him. Subsequently, God had to separate Abram and Lot through a contentious situation over the land that could not contain them because their many possessions. Abram had to appeal to his nephew to ‘Let’s not act like animals’. It was after the painful separation from a loved one with whom Abram had strong family ties, that God expanded the promise and blessings of Abram. He was now able to walk through the land representative of the customs in the area of laying a legal claim on the property. Living a life of faith sometimes requires tough choices and separation from the enemy of God, the world and things that would hinder the fulfillment of God’s plan.

The man of faith is also a fighter. The author points out that faith involves struggles, while faith may be thought of as passive, there are times when believers need to ‘war’. We do not fight against flesh and blood (2 Cor. 10:3-5), ‘therefore put on every piece of God’s armor, so that you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm’ (Ephesians 6:13). To experience consistent victory in conflicts require consistent fellowship with God before confronting both the brazen and subtle attacks of the enemy.

God gave Abram an unconditional promise of faith which endures till today.

After waiting for a long time for God’s promise to be fulfilled, Sarah initiated a plan to have a child through her Egyptian maidservant, Abraham agreed and Ishmael was born. The marriage of Abram and Hagar represents the marriage of a believer to an unbeliever. However, there was no peace and joy in the results as both Hagar and Ishmael had to be sent away for peace to reign in Abram’s household. Ishmael here represents the fruit of the flesh. The resultant negative effects of that fruit is still being experienced today.

When Abraham was interceding for Sodom and Gomorrah and stopped, if he had continued, God may have spared the city because of one righteous person.

Lot’s life demonstrates the high cost of drifting away from the perfect will of God for one’s life and the destructive impact of evil associations, actions and staying in a location not directed by God. Even though he was a righteous man (2 Peter 2:8), he was unable to communicate his convictions to his close relations and society. Even as his wife was leaving Sodom, Sodom had not left her, as she was being delivered by heavenly emissaries, she looked back at Sodom with a look full of longing, wishing and hoping she was still in Sodom, and so perished with Sodom (Luke 9:62).

Ishmael represents the fruit of the flesh which must be cast out. The old man (old nature) always struggles with the new man, requiring Christians to constantly put off the old man and put on the new man. Regeneration does not imply that the old man is replaced or changed, but that we add the new man. One of these nature will control the person of faith, as chosen by the individual. We are promised that ‘sin shall not have dominion over you’ (Rom. 6:14). Sin or the old man is not in charge.

After passing the three initial tests of faith from God (moving from his country, separation from his father’s house/relations and casting out his son Ishmael whom he had loved and cared for in the previous thirteen years); instead of getting a reprieve, he was tested in a way that would shake the foundations of the faith of anyone – to kill his beloved son, the promised seed in whom was wrapped Abraham’s hopes, aspirations and indeed life. Abraham had opportunities to disobey or reconsider his stance during his three day journey to Mount Moriah, but he continued in faith, because he ‘saw him who was invisible’, ‘accounting that God was able to raise up Isaac from the ashes of the burnt offering’. Isaac did not contest being sacrificed but willingly laid down his life as a type of Christ (Phil. 2:5-8).

It took the death of Sarah for Abraham to begin to possess the promised real estate in Canaan, impressing the need to fulfil responsibilities to the dead, notwithstanding the believer’s long range view of resurrection.

Rebekah the wife of Isaac was portrayed as a type of the bride of Christ who had to leave all to share in all the wealth and riches of Isaac. Isaac and Rebekah’s marriage ‘is a picture of our relationship to Christ as his bride’.

The story of Jacob the deceiver who was deceived shows that running away from problems temporarily does not provide a permanent solution. He ran away from his brother Esau ‘for a few days’ (a total of twenty years). He had an encounter with God at Bethel, ‘a salvation experience’ where ‘the Lord God became the Lord my God’. He was away from the place of fellowship with God (Bethel) when he had and raised his family. He returned back to Bethel for a renewed encounter with God, fellowship, protection and successfully faced the problems he ran away from.

Joseph, the beloved son of Jacob was given a coat of many colors by his father (Gen 37:3). The coat signified that he was the heir – the first born, even though at the time he was the last born. His siblings hated him because of the preferential treatment he received in usurping the right of the actual first born and older siblings, being exempted from  field work and his dreams that seem to suggest his older brothers and parents would bow down to Joseph. The brothers initially planned to kill Joseph, but later sold him into slavery. He went from being a slave to a trusted servant and from there to prison and from the prison to the palace, all the while maintaining his relationship with God. 

Job, a rich, successful landowner was a righteous man before God; he was ‘blameless and upright’. God allowed Satan to test Job with multiple types of suffering to provoke Job to lose faith in God and deny God. However, despite his troubles, Job kept the faith, even when he complained (cursed the day he was born, asked if God and himself could stand before a judge, so he could state his case etc.); God did not hold his statements against him. Job’s four friends came by to comfort Job, but could not. They ended up accusing Job of wrongdoing. God restored double to Job for everything he had lost after Job prayed for his friends.

Moses, by God’s hands brought Israel out of bondage in Egypt. He had been trained in the courts of Pharaoh, killed an Egyptian while trying to fulfill his call by his own strength, submitted to the plan of God for him, as a shepherd of his people. After fleeing Egypt as a wanted murderer, he came back with the power of God to confront and disgrace all the gods of Egypt. The Egyptians let Israel leave after their firstborn was killed in the final plague.

Israel’s deliverance from the bondage of Egypt was by the blood and water, similar to how the salvation of a Christian begins under blood of Jesus and the water of the Holy Spirit, “by the washing of the water of the word’ (Eph. 5:26) and rivers of living water (John 7:37). As the children of Israel were baptized into Moses in the cloud and the sea (1 Cor. 10:2), even so believers should identify with Christ by water baptism and the Holy Spirit baptism. In the wilderness journey, God gave Israel bread and water to sustain them, similar to how Jesus has been given to us as the bread and water of life.

In the journey to the promised land of rest, God gave Israel his commandments which whoever does them shall live (Lev. 18:5). However, many Israelites did not obey God during their journey and did not make it to the Promised Land.

Joshua whose name meant ‘Savior’ was taught to lead by God through Moses, he learnt the discipline of  taking and following instructions; that winning in spiritual conflict – through relationship with God and prayer – was more important, than physical battle readiness. More importantly, he was filled with the Holy Spirit (Deut. 34:9) and was able to conquer the Promised Land through the central, northern and southern war campaigns after which the land was divided among the tribes. He conquered the Promised Land and encouraged his followers to choose and serve the Lord forever.

The era of the Judges reflect a season of departure from ‘God governance’ to patriarchal and self-governance with marked departure from God. God periodically raised several political, societal and sometimes spiritual leaders to lead his people out of oppression and bondage and guide them back to the worship of the true God. Some of the Judges include Othniel, Ehud, Deborah, Gideon, Jephthah, Tola, Ibzan, Elon, Samson, Eli and Samuel. Their stories highlight negative consequences and oppression hold sway for departures from God; freedom, peace and progress for commitment and worship of God.

Ruth highlights the story of a committed Moabite lady who married into a Jewish family. It is a story of redemption from the worship of false gods to the worship of the true God. She was rewarded for leaving her Moabite (cursed) roots and crossing over to the Israelite (blessed) family.

Saul’s story shows that Israel ran ahead of God to demand for and receive a king, even though it was in God’s plan to give Israel a king, although at a later time. He was from the wrong tribe – Benjamin, instead of Judah, he was liked for the wrong reasons – physical appearance, instead of spiritual relationship with God. Saul was to go through four disciplines of life to be successful; however he appears to have missed their meanings. Zelzah, a place of death – death to self and pride; Tabor, the place of purity or practical holiness; Bethel, a place of relationship with God, where the Holy Spirit would come on Saul; and Gilgal, a place of judgement or self-evaluation, taking heed to one-self, a place of committed fellowship with God. Saul was rejected as king because of rebellion (witchcraft) and stubbornness (idolatry and iniquity) (1 Sam 15:23).

David was anointed king to replace Saul. He had a habit of worshipping God in private, which led to his open recommendation and acceptance in the palace to play music to the possessed king Saul. David’s brothers were jealous when he wanted to fight Goliath. David defeated Goliath, married Saul’s younger daughter Michal, and won several wars against the philistines and Israel’s enemies. Saul wanted to kill David, but David always escaped ‘And Saul sought him every day, but God delivered him not into his hand’ (1 Sam 23:14). David had some opportunities to kill Saul but would not ‘lift up his hand against the Lord’s anointed’. Saul and his sons were killed in battle and David began to reign as king, first over Judah only for seven years and then over all Israel for thirty-three years. David was from the tribe of Judah through whom the messiah would come and Jesus is commonly referred to as ‘the son of David’ (Luke 18:38). David served God faithfully except in the matter of his adultery with Bathsheba, Uriah’s wife and killing Uriah to cover his sin (1 Kings 15:5).

Part of the consequences of David’s sin was that his older son Amnon raped his daughter Tamar, Absalom killed Amnon, and later deposed David his father from the throne, though temporarily. Absalom also died in a battle with David’s army.

Solomon, David’s son was charged with the responsibility of building the temple, because ‘David was a man of war and had shed much blood’. God loved Solomon and he was the wisest man that ever lived. He was also very wealthy. However, he departed from the ways of the Lord in his final days. Under the influence of his foreign ungodly wives, he began worshipping idols and building places of worship for them. This brought God’s anger on Solomon and led to the division of Israel into the northern (ten tribes) and southern tribe (Judah).

All the northern Israelite kings were wicked kings and did not serve the Lord. The first king Jeroboam built idols in Dan and Bethel, for Israel to worship, for political and economic reasons.  The south had some good kings including Hezekiah and Josiah who brought spiritual revival to their nation, the effects of which was felt in the northern kingdom of Israel.

God raised his prophets to warn his people to return to him but the people did not listen until they were taken captive to Babylon. Judah also turned to idols and was taken into exile too and the temple was destroyed, all the valuable things therein were taken to Babylon. Among the prophets were Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Haggai, Joel and Zachariah. Last but not the least of prophets in the Old Testament is Malachi.

We learn from the life of Elijah who declared there would be no rain or dew except by his word, called down fire three times and brought rain again; that we can demonstrate the same power as we yield ourselves to God in prayer. He performed seven notable miracles including raised a dead child back to life. He was a man with ‘like passions’ as us. (Jam. 5:17).

Elijah had twice the power of Elijah and performed twice as many miracles. Though different from Elijah in approach, social and relational life, God used him mightily, proving we should not confuse ministry strategies or expressions of personality with degree of spiritual impact in ministry.

Isaiah prophesied of the coming messiah (Isa.7:14, 9:6)

Ezekiel who started ministry at age 30, saw heavens opened and several revelations which agree with what John the beloved Apostle documented in the New Testament book of Revelation.

Daniel, a political counsellor influenced the greatest leaders of his time as well as God. He did not lower the standard of his faith despite the hostile foreign culture of his day, much like the hostile religious environments many Christians find themselves in today. 

Esther reminds us that God is always there for us and can be found by those who seek him even when he hides his face.

Nehemiah reminds us that God can use us to rebuild broken walls, these could be spiritual, psychological, financial, emotional walls and we can obtain favor by seeking the face of the Most High God.

Lastly, Malachi reminds his people of God’s love, denounced unfaithfulness and gave hope of a messenger who is coming to prepare the ways of the Lord. He was speaking about John the Baptist, the forerunner of the Lord Jesus Christ (Mal. 3:1 – 4:6). God does not leave His people without hope.

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Interpretation

These history makers were able to successfully face their challenges and overcome them, hence the impetus to study their approaches, dealings with God with the hope or possibility of applying the same winning principles to win in the challenges we face. They had the same God we have, we have something even better than the ‘Christophanic’ experiences – appearances of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament – Jesus lives in us, in the life of every true believer who has accepted Jesus as Lord.

The author chronologically traced the creation of the world to angels and Lucifer’s rebellion pointing out that angels also had free will to be submissive to God and serve Him to fulfil their purpose as messengers and rebellion will be judged by God.

As the first Adam lived in ‘heaven on earth’ and the second Adam lives in heaven and in man on earth, the author points out the plan of God to always have man live in an heavenly environment.

Adams life of 930 years was marred by an event of disobedience to God which marred his record and overshadowed the good things he had done.

The comparison between the Way of Cain and the Way of the Lord helps to clearly delineate paths being walked on and the ability to evaluate our responses to God.

The destruction of the sinful people on earth during Noah’s flood was highlighted by the author to remind us that God is a God of Judgement. The author’s highlight of a drunken Noah is to indicate that even for the righteous, the rebellious nature in man was inherited from Adam when he and Eve disobeyed God by eating the forbidden fruit. This fallen nature therefore is bound to fail God, even as God instituted a third covenant, the Noahic covenant, after man failed to fulfil the terms of the first two covenants.

The death of Terah is likened to the death of the flesh and worldly inclination, the familiar, in the life of a believer. This enabled Abraham to depart from his kindred in Haran (the place where his faith halted – stopped progressing) until God had to renew his call. Clearly, a believer has to be dead to and leave the things of the world behind to follow God in complete faithful obedience.

The book points out that it is possible for even the giants of faith like the Father of Faith, Abram to wander from the place of fellowship and consistency in faith with God. It is also possible and rewarding to return to faith and consistency in the place ‘where his tent had been at the beginning’.

Abram’s separation from lot was portrayed as being a necessary but painful event for Abram, due to the normally strong family ties in the Far East, which made Abram willing to go to war to defend Lot, his captured nephew with whom he had previously disagreed. Separation from partial disobedience to complete obedience was identified as the bedrock that enabled God to reveal ‘His greater faithfulness to Abram’.

The man of faith was portrayed as winning a decisive victory over four kings after his fellowship with God at Hebron and winning a subtle battle of compromise when he encountered the king of Sodom after his fellowship with Melchizedec, God’s high priest and spokesman as a reminder that faithful committed, consistent fellowship delivers winning strength to the believer in the apparently big and not so apparently big battles of faith and life.

Believers in faith are part of the unconditional covenant God made with Abram.

Lot lost his ‘huge possessions’ that he took to Sodom, his wife was destroyed with Sodom as a reminder that we should not disobey God – the fleeing family was warned not to look back. A natural default of man is to procrastinate or feel there is an easier way out than to follow the guidance of God. It is ‘a warning to those who delay and quibble with God, thereby jeopardizing themselves as they turn back to a life of sin’. Neither should one associate with, nor stay where God has not commanded. He lost not only his wife and possessions, but also fathered the children of his daughters when drunk.

A believer is commanded not to enter into marriage relationships with unbelievers as light has no fellowship with darkness (2 Cor. 6:14). The marriage of Abraham to Hagar and the resulting fruit of the flesh did not solve the existing problem as envisaged, but rather introduced new problems into Abram’s (the believer’s) household.

The battle with the old and new man is a constant battle that the Christian will fight till the end of one’s life.

Part of the keys to experiencing continuous victory over the flesh in addition to the fourth point raised by the author on the word of God, would be submission to the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:14-16, Galatians 5:16, 24).

 

The author stated that Abraham was offering conditional prayers when interceding for Sodom and stopped when he could have continued as a reminder that we should be bold in the place of prayer and keep on praying till we get our desired answers.

When God told Abraham that he and Sarah would have a son (Gen. 17:17), Abraham laughed. While the author documents that it was a laughter of joy and gladness, the reviewer believes it was a laughter of unbelief, similar to how someone would laugh if told something very ridiculous. This was also similar to how Sarah laughed (Gen. 18:12), based on an understanding of the facts of Abraham’s body being dead, Sarah’s womb being dead and menopause had set in. However, both schools of thought lead to the same conclusion of the couple reverting back to the place of faith as Abraham was strong in faith (Rom. 4.20) and Sarah received strength (Heb. 11:11) to produce a child. 

The author enunciates the required sacrifice of Isaac to remind believers that when God asks for something, it should be given to Him in an act of surrender of our will, even if God does not need it. Even though God was testing Abraham’s faith, to prove and increase Abraham’s trust in God, it would have been challenging for Abraham. At the end of it Abraham came out well, which implies every believer can come out well in tests of faith.

Undesired events can lead to accomplishing the promises of God as we saw in the legal possession of the land of Canaan by Abraham, when he bought a burying place for his wife. 

As Rebekah made certain sacrifices to be married to Isaac, leaving the familiar for the unfamiliar, as the bride of Christ, we must be ready to make sacrifices too.

 The story of Jacob fleeing to live with an Uncle who worshipped idols warns believers to try to settle issues before they escalate. He never saw his mother again. After an initial commitment to God at Bethel, his return to the place of fellowship helped deliver him and his family from the problems that had kept him on the run for twenty years.

The pains and triumphs in Joseph’s life demonstrate that “all things work together for the good of those who love God”. Joseph went through many ‘uncalled for’ and ‘unwarranted’ suffering at the hands of close relatives and outsiders, but refused to be bitter or angry at God. While the scriptures did not identify that Joseph sinned against God or people, it did not also state he was sinless; he was a type of Christ in this regard of faithful commitment to God, who through pains and suffering became a savior of those who would otherwise have perished.

Job’s story reveals that the subject of human suffering can be complex. We should be careful not to jump to conclusions when trying to determine the root cause of why a believer is suffering, so we do not become ‘miserable comforters’.

God gives us commandments on our way to heaven, the place of rest, which helps us to stay on the path to heaven. 

Joshua was an effective leader who learnt first to follow a leader and take instructions before issuing instructions. He was filled with the Spirit of God to walk with God. Archeological findings of an altar he built also lends credence to the accomplishments of this leader.

Ruth, a Moabite with incestualized roots, would later become an ancestor of David and Jesus. It does not matter where we started from, our roots, we can obtain the fullness of God when we come to Him in full commitment. 

The four disciplines that Saul failed at were clearly identified to enable believers avoid King Saul’s pitfalls

David’s story highlights that it is possible to get to the pinnacle of success and be destroyed by one sin which leads to another. His being in covenant with God did not save him from the evil consequences of adultery and murder.

Solomon loved God initially (1 Kings 3:3), but later loved his wives (1 Kings 11:1), despite his wisdom, disobedience to God led him astray, the man who built a magnificent temple for God also started building temples for idols and worshipped false gods.

The departure of Israel from the worship of God, warnings from God through his prophets and consequences which follow serve as a reminder to not despise the warnings of the Lord.

 

Conclusion

Lucifer’s rebellion reminds Christians to stay in humble submission in service to God to fulfill their purpose. Whenever we are using the gifts and blessings of God as a springboard to ‘be God’ – the ultimate, without government or control, that would be toeing Lucifer’s approach. As rebellious Lucifer will end up in hell, his rebellious followers will have the same fate.

As the first Adam lived in heaven on earth, the second Adam lives in heaven and dwells in man on earth. God has prepared a home for us in heaven where Christians will evermore be with Jesus (John 14:1-3, 1 Thessalonians 4:17).

Adam’s sin in one day out of the 930 year he lived serves as a warning to Christians not to fall into the trap of the devil as one sin can destroy much good.

The author used striking words to draw out the scenario where Cain walked away from God, never to be heard about anymore. This was after God’s final appeal to Cain and Cain’s rebuttal. The Author states: “If God ever cries, tears must have come to His eyes that day as He watched Cain finally walk away”. God cares deeply about all His children and does not want us to walk away from Him or from fellowship with Him.  The Way of the Lord should be the proper way to respond to God, especially when confronted with our sins, this includes:  giving God the best, genuine repentance from sin, joy and gladness in the Lord, obedience to God, love of God and others, even our adversaries, acceptance of personal responsibility for sins, acceptance of God’s unbiased judgement, confession of sins, working towards pleasing God through faith and growing in fellowship with God.  Enoch was given to us as an example of someone who had power with God and walked with God in sound fellowship.

 

 

The destruction during Noah’s flood reminds us that God’s judgement will come on the wicked even if seemingly delayed and that God is always looking for fellowship with those who are ‘righteous in their generations’.

The mention of drunk Noah, a former preacher of righteousness, a man who walked in faith with God and received direct guidance on how to build a massive boat; is a reminder to Christians that no matter the height attained in God, we should be aware that Satan through the sin nature may want to pull us back into sin through the ‘sin that easily besets us’.

From death to self and worldliness, a believer moves into complete faithful obedience which expresses itself in a deeper relationship with God by ‘living in a tent and worshipping at an altar’. Living in a tent, signifies for a present day Christian, separation from the world, living unto God in prayer and bible study before the Canaanites who lived in the cities (unbelievers). Worshipping at the altar, in full view of the Canaanites represents bold worship of God, in faith, before unbelievers who worship idols: “being bold to give an answer concerning our faith (1 Pet. 3:15) and being strong in faith, giving glory to God (Rom. 4:20)

When a Christian wanders away from God, engages in lies and not so noble engagements, a return back to sound and consistent fellowship with God is possible by retracing one’s steps to the place ‘where his tent had been at the beginning’.

Letting go is sometimes not easy. Notwithstanding, Abram had to let go of Lot to enter into complete obedience to God, greater blessings and realization of God’s promise. Letting go of the familiar, which opposes God’s plan for our lives, no matter how difficult, launches a believer into a deeper relationship with God, having the promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come (1 Tim. 4:8).

We are reminded that victorious faith requires being victorious in faith battles that will come our way. These may be battles against our God and battles against us because we have an enemy who does not sleep or rest but is constantly on the move looking for whom to eat up or destroy (1 Pet. 5:8). The way out, to have consistent victory as rightly pointed out is to consistently be in fellowship with God to receive strength and strategies to win in the battles of faith and life by being strong in the Lord and in the power of his might and approaching the Lord consistently to find grace that will help in time of need (Heb. 4:16).

As we stay in faith the blessings of Abram through the unconditional covenant can be ours.

Abram’s marriage to Hagar and the resulting struggles reminds the believer that after entering a personal relationship with Christ, the sin nature does not die. He/she will still battle with the flesh in the walk with God. ‘The believer becomes more mature in faith, not when the sin nature is eradicated, but when an understanding of, and the victory over the flesh given to us through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus is applied.

Lot’s life declares to Christians to be guided by God in major decisions, including where we locate to; being careful to declare our faith so as to ‘save some by pulling them out of the fire’; be completely obedient to God, avoid drunkenness and trust God as faithful no matter what is happening around us, knowing God has the best for us and we will come out well at the end.

The story of Abraham’s intercession for Sodom and Gomorrah reminds us ‘not to faint’ in the place of prayer, but to be persistent till we get our righteous desires.

The casting out of Hagar and Ishmael reminds us that Christians have the ability, the power to ‘put off’ the old man and ‘put on’ the new man, thereby living with godly nature, thoughts and desires which glorify God.

The obedience of Abraham reminds believers to trust and obey God, even when we do not completely understand what God has requested. It did not make sense that the Holy and loving God would require a human sacrifice like the pagan gods his children had been instructed not to worship. Further, why would God need the blood of the promised seed? These questions and much more must have bothered Abraham similar to when God asks us to do something that takes us out of our comfort zone. As Abraham passed this demanding test in obedience, we too should strive, as a lifestyle, to pass every faith test by being obedient ‘even unto death’.

It took the death of Sarah for Abraham to legally have real estate in Canaan as promised by God. We possess God’s promises and our inheritance through death. As we die to self, actualization and guidance into our inheritance becomes more pronounced and we obtain the promised riches in Glory through acceptance and application of the death of Christ. The riches we have and lay claim to were delivered through death – the death of Jesus.

All believers are the bride of Christ according to God’s plan. Similar to how Rebekah left all to marry Isaac; we will be married to Jesus Christ (Rev. 19:7-9). As Isaac shared everything he had with his wife Rebekah, so we will share in all the riches in glory that belongs to Jesus. This however, requires living as His bride now, so we can be his bride in the hereafter (Matt. 25: 1-13).

Believers would learn from the story of Jacob that a temporary solution or avoidance does not provide permanent cure for problems. Jacob ran away for 20 years and had to return to the place of fellowship with God, the altar of God before his problems would go away. We are encouraged to seek the face of God, fellowship with Him and together with God confront our problems for a peaceful long lasting resolution to difficult issues of life.

Joseph’s life with its initial rollercoaster movements from a loved, favored son and heir, to a slave, then a prisoner, and later a prime minister and agent of salvation is a lesson to current day believers, that as we trust and walk with God in faith, notwithstanding our troubles, God will use all things, both the good and the bad, to accomplish His good purposes in our lives.

From Job’s story, we are comforted knowing that God will see us through and we will come out well in the end. As stated by the author, if someone had asked Job why the righteous suffer, ‘he probably would have said: “You don’t really need an answer”. We should not accuse God, but trust God in faith, in times of suffering, knowing we will come out well.   

In the journey to the promised land of rest, many Israelites disobeyed God’s commandments on the way. Even now, believers are called to live in holiness in obedience to God in our journey to the place of rest in heaven after deliverance from the bondage of sin.

Joshua demonstrates that effective leaders are made by first being effective followers and by being submissive to God, fighting and conquering in the spiritual to see victories delivered in the physical realms. As Joshua conquered the Promised Land and encouraged his followers to committedly serve God, we can conquer our promised lands and encourage those in our sphere of influence to unreservedly serve God.

Ruth’s story also reminds us of the consequences of bad decisions and contains a warning to be led by God, especially in major decisions regarding location and association. Commitment to God always yields eternal blessings, whether we know it or not.

Commentators are unsure of the spiritual state of Saul on whether he was saved or not because a life of sin produces the same result whether the sinner is unsaved or is a carnal Christian who does not live by faith. We are encouraged to live by faith because ‘whatsoever is not by faith is sin (Rom. 14:23).

Believers are encouraged to avoid the pitfalls that brought King Saul down by walking in the four disciplines that ensure success by dying to self and pride, walking in practical holiness, being yielded to the Holy Spirit and continuous self-evaluation (2 Cor. 13:5).

We learn from David’s story to walk with God as He is the only one that can ensure we get to our ‘promised throne’ and give victory over all enemies round about us. Believers are also strongly reminded to avoid even the ‘little sins’, as they can easily grow into big sins with dire circumstances.

Solomon, the wisest and wealthiest man who ever lived reminds believers not to be distracted from following the laws of God, no matter how seemingly insignificant it is. His departure from God to worshipping idols made God angry with him. We can be careful to stay away from things that will make God angry.

The departure of Israel, their kings and several prophets sent by God to warn the people is a reminder that God loves His people. As believers, we are comforted knowing God loves us dearly, cares about us and will not leave us without hope.