This continues our Bible Tour from last month.
Joshua follows the book of Deuteronomy. Joshua is all about the conquest of the land of Canaan that God had promised to Abraham in Genesis 12. Moses is now dead and Joshua is the new leader of the children of Israel. God tells Joshua to be strong and courageous – essential ingredients for leadership (ch. 1). Joshua leads the children of Israel in taking (almost) all the Land God had promised them.
Lesson: Never give up on God’s promise to you.
Judges after the death of Joshua there was no clear leader in Israel. Everyone started to do what was right in their own eyes (ch.21:25). Judges is an account of how Israel continuously kept falling into sin and, as a direct consequence of sin, into the hands of their enemies. God would then rise up people known as Judges to deliver them from their oppression – people such as Othniel, Deborah, Jephthah and Samson. This goes on for about 350 years.
Lesson: God’s hears those who repent and call on him.
Ruth is a love story that occurs during the chaotic time of Judges. Ruth is a Moabite widow who left her home land to live with her Jewish mother in-law in Bethlehem. She re-marries Boaz (a relative of her husband) and ends up in the genealogy of Jesus.
Lesson: God’s salvation is for all.
1 Samuel takes its name from the last Judge of Israel – Samuel. After being led by Judges Israel asked God for a king. God gave them what they wanted and Saul became the first King of Israel. Saul was a tall handsome man whose heart was not really after the things of God (ch. 15). Saul ended up killing himself on the battle field.
Lesson: God does not force people to do his will.
2 Samuel – is mainly about the next king after Saul – King David. David rose from being a shepherd boy to the leader of Israel. The New Testament tells us he had a heart for God (Acts 13:22), yet he was not devoid of weaknesses (ch. 11). He stole another man’s wife and gave birth to Solomon through her. Solomon became the next King of Israel.
Lesson: Never forget the past good things God has done in your life
1 Kings provides us with the account of King Solomon who came to the throne after David. He was a unique individual. A man blessed with godly wisdom (ch. 3) yet had an unfettered passion for women. He had 700 wives and 300 concubines. These women were taken from lands that worshipped idols and eventually they led Solomon’s heart away from God (ch. 11).Unsurprisingly, the nation of Israel was affected and after Solomon’s death the nation split into two (ch. 12). Ten tribes in the North followed Jeroboam, called themselves Israel and had their own Kings. The remaining two tribes in the South followed Rehoboam – Solomon’s son and descendant of King David. They were called Judah. Those in the North eventually made Samaria the capital. In the South Jerusalem was the capital. Understanding this is very important, as from 1 Kings 14 you will start reading about the Kings of Judah and the Kings of Israel.
Lesson: Uncontrolled passion and emotions can destroy you. Be warned and deal with it before things become worse.
We will stop here for now. The Bible Tour was a series we did in the church. We shall continue it in the future and make the recordings available. Check the web site and future editions of this magazine for more details.
Meanwhile let me leave you with these powerful words that God gave to Joshua. They sure have been a great guidance to me.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 NIV)