As we enter into the month of October, we will be looking at a significant transition in “The Story,” as the people of Israel transition from wandering in the wilderness to conquerors of the Promised Land.
In the first six weeks we were introduced to God’s Upper Story. This Upper Story began with God creating the heavens and the earth by calling forth light from the darkness, and then by separating land from water, and continued as the earth and sea were filled with life. As part of that Upper Story, God created humanity in the image of God, that they may be co-creators with God for all time. However, humanity fell into sin by performing the one act God forbid in the garden, bringing brokenness into the world. This brokenness soon takes over all humanity, and leads to broken relationships between us and God.
As we learned through the first six weeks of “The Story” God began a plan to end this brokenness once and for all. It began with a man by the name of Noah, called by God to build an Ark to preserve himself and his family through a 40 day flood over all the earth. But, it wasn’t long until sin entered back into the world through the broken relationships of Noah and his sons. Having shown us that sin could only be removed from us perfectly by God, God sets into motion another plan that will span thousands of years.
This new Upper Story plan begins when God calls a man by the name of Abram to follow where God will lead. Abram receives a promise from God that his descendants will outnumber the stars in the sky, and that they will inherit a land that is flowing with milk and honey. Even though brokenness is evident in the relationships of this family, they continue to be blessed by God, and are protected by God through some very harsh conditions.
As time progresses this family of blessing finds themselves as slaves in Egypt, and they cry out to God for deliverance. Hearing their cries, God calls Moses to go back to Egypt, the place that he was born and raised and ran away from, to confront Pharaoh. After a series of plagues, Pharaoh finally relents and turns the people of Israel loose, where they are led by God into the wilderness.
During this time, God through Moses instructs the people of Israel what it means to be in covenant relationship, and God prepares them to receive the Promised Land. Due to some struggles with faithfulness to God, it takes much longer than they expected, but eventually the people of Israel are ready to truly enter into a full trust relationship with God.
Beginning in October, we will continue with “The Story” at a very important stage. No longer is God’s Upper Story working through the life of one individual (Abraham to Isaac to Jacob to Joseph to Moses), it is now working through an entire nation of people. As God’s covenant continues to grow and expand with the people of Israel we will experience what God’s covenant continues to look like to the people of Israel as they begin to take control over the Promised Land, and how it continues to grow and change as they move from wanderers to a settled people.
As we continue to move through the Upper Story of God, I also hope that you are listening to how God is calling us to be a part of this continuing story. What do you think God needs us to do to help others hear this story? What do you think God is calling us to be in order for others to be exposed to God’s love?
Rev. John Embrey
October 4: Chapter 7 “Joshua”
October 11: Chapter 8 “Judges”
October 18: Chapter 9 “Ruth”
October 25: Chapter 10 “Saul”