Following the Israelites from the desert to the promised land of Canaan
Numbers – Ruth
Welcome to ‘Into the Promised Land’, as we follow the path of the Israelites after their miraculous escape from Egyptian slavery and journey into the promised land of Canaan.
We will see how the foundational promises God gave to Abraham (Genesis 12) of people, place and blessing, are to find their partial fulfilment in the promised land. A key lesson throughout the term will be that God’s promises are sure and certain, regardless of how unlikely it may look like at the time.
We will take an in-depth look at the human heart and the problem of sin. Sin (Shove off God, I’m in charge, No to your rule), is displayed in the Old Testament as the corporate condition of God’s people. While zooming in on specific acts of sin by individuals, a lot of the rebellion is see in the community. We see their failure to remember all that God had done for them. We see their failure to follow the Commandments given to Moses, falling at the very first hurdle and turning to the false Gods and idols of surrounding nations. Their concern is for safety and prosperity as opposed to holiness, trust and worship of God.
The book of Hebrews helpfully helps us make the step from seeing the corporate mistakes of the community and translating that into the individual capacity for unbelief. We read the examples of the Israelite sin as warning for us, ‘let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that [promised eternal Sabbath-]rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience’ (Hebrews 4:11).
We will see throughout how God provides salvation in different ways for his people, from bronze snakes to supernatural events and heroic leaders. The supernatural events are incredible and give great victory to God’s people, but never seem to cause lasting trust in the providence of God and holiness of living. The heroic leaders God raises up often mess up through their own sin. These leaders eventually die and the people soon after turn away from God.
We know from Jesus (Luke 24) that all of the Old Testament points to Him. That is no different in these stories. This term will show the need for God’s people to have a perfect, eternal, human leader who redeems his people from their slavery to sin and puts God’s Holy Spirit into their hearts. The life, death and rule of Jesus will become more necessary and more wonderful the more we see Israel struggle towards the promised land.
We pray that this journey through the Old Testament will turn us from our sin to put our trust and hope in the perfect Saviour Jesus, through whom all of God’s promises are sure and certain.