The kingdom in the Old Testament

The core of the OT narrative is the story of God’s reign.

There’s a plotline that integrates all the little narratives of the Bible into a purposeful story. With all the twists and turns of a suspense thriller, the Bible’s narrative has a single focus: the unfolding story of the kingdom of God.

Over the last five months we’ve traced the meta-narrative of the kingdom through the first half of Genesis. In the previous two years, I’ve personally pursued that journey through the rest of Genesis and Exodus. The integrated picture of God’s kingship and kingdom is absolutely stunning. Want a taste? Continue reading “The kingdom in the Old Testament”

Your God is too small

How do you understand the gospel? Having a personal Saviour, or being the kingdom of God?

If the kingdom is so central to the Biblical narrative, why do we miss it?

In the last few hundred years, we’ve developed a culture where the spiritual is separate from the natural, where faith is separate from science, where the church is separate from state. I grew up in this world. When I was a child, an elder of our church taught me not to worry about people’s physical needs. “Leave it to the Salvos and the do-gooders to feed their bodies now,” he said. “What really matters is to save their souls so they go to heaven when they die.”

Continue reading “Your God is too small”

The kingdom theme: piecing it together

Missed a few posts in the last five months? Here’s a summary of the kingdom theme in Genesis 1–25 so you can catch up.

The phrase “kingdom of God” is quite rare in the Bible Jesus used (Old Testament), so why did he think it was the main message? Most people today don’t understand the kingdom to be the main message, probably because we don’t really understand what it means. But what if Jesus was right? Shouldn’t it be the primary goal for us as well? Why did he want his followers to seek first the kingdom of God? Continue reading “The kingdom theme: piecing it together”

Abraham’s life: a summary (Genesis 12–25)

Abraham lived his entire life for the kingdom of God.

Abraham is the most significant human so far. The narrator devoted more space to Abraham than to Adam, Cain, Lamech, Seth, Enoch, Noah, and Shem combined. Why was Abraham so important? His significance was his contribution to the kingdom of God. Continue reading “Abraham’s life: a summary (Genesis 12–25)”

How can you say God reigns?

How can we talk about the kingdom of God when everything has gone wrong?

God reigns? What does that mean? Does it mean I’m a conqueror who can defeat any enemy and no evil can touch me?

This morning I woke to news that cut deep into my being. Someone I’d met briefly, a servant of King Jesus from our own city here in Perth, had died. Geoff Freind from Morley Salvation Army had gone to Malawi to proclaim “Good News!” He was attacked on the streets, and died in hospital. His wife and four sons are trying to come to terms with the tragedy. Continue reading “How can you say God reigns?”

Rebekah’s romance (Genesis 24:22-67)

How would the story of Genesis 24 have felt from Rebekah’s point of view?

Rebekah is caught up in a romantic mystery beyond her wildest dreams. She’s a beautiful girl who has kept herself pure. A wealthy traveller has turned up in her corner of the world. After showing him hospitality, she learns he’s not really a stranger but the servant of a long-lost relative. Apparently Abraham has been very successful, and is seeking a suitable bride for his son who will inherit his good fortune. The guest showers her with expensive jewellery and dresses suitable for a princess. It’s all very sudden and unexpected, but it might be the opportunity of a lifetime. Continue reading “Rebekah’s romance (Genesis 24:22-67)”

A test for the bride (Genesis 24:13-21)

In seeking a bride for Isaac, why did Abraham’s servant set this particular test?

The marriage of Isaac and Rebekah must be important: Genesis 24 is the longest chapter in Genesis. The narrator repeats details multiple times. It’s a royal wedding, and we’re introduced to the princess of the kingdom, or at least of the nation that will represent YHWH’s kingdom. Continue reading “A test for the bride (Genesis 24:13-21)”

On a mission (Genesis 24:1-12)

Abraham’s servant seeks a bride for his master’s son.

Abraham lived his whole life for a unique mission—founding a nation that would be ruled by God. It was actually God’s mission— re-establishing his reign over the nations through the Abrahamic nation. The missio dei (mission of God) is all about rescuing his world from the tyranny of evil, bringing it back under his governance, the kingdom of God. Continue reading “On a mission (Genesis 24:1-12)”