Genesis teaches that man was created in the image and likeness of God: spiritual, creative, thinking, feeling, and able to communicate. The image was marred when Adam and Eve sinned. The rest of Scripture deals with how to restore sinful man with a Holy God. God created first Adam and then Eve, the woman, to be a completer for man. Marriage, man and woman united exclusively, is Gods perfect plan. As they grow closer to God, they grow closer to each other.
Numbers is filled with powerful metaphors and allegories. We see how mans freedom of choice can limit Gods power. If we have the faith to believe and claim all the blessings God has for us and accept His good and perfect will for our lives, then He can lead us into our spiritual Promised Land. There is a difference between Gods permissive will and Gods directive will. The abundant life is only found in Gods directive will.
The sermons of Moses teach about our response to Gods grace and about apostasy, about those who no longer respond to Gods grace. Moses preached on tithing, showing God is first in our life and of giving to the poor. He preached a very strong message on how God forbids the occult, fortunetelling, communicating with the dead, and using black magic. He also told them about the Prophet Priest, and King who would one day come and save them.
Through the life of King David we can learn to succeed through failure. For much of his life, David was a shining example. But in one season of Davids life, he committed the sins of adultery and murder; for a whole year, he tried to cover up his sin. His sins show us even godly people may give in to temptation if they are not careful. Davids life teaches us the important thing is how we respond when we fail.
In Psalms 32 and 51, among others, David speaks of emotions we can all relate to: the feelings associated with guilt. Psalms of confession and forgiveness show us the relief and joy found in Gods forgiveness of our sin and the blessings of Gods grace and restoration. Psalm 139 describes the God to whom we pray. God knows and understands everything about us, so He is the perfect counselor in times of difficulty.
We learn much from the power of sin in King Davids life. Like black velvet against which a jeweler displays his diamonds, sins dark penalty, power, and price make the three facts of salvation shine brighter. First, Jesus Christ has removed the penalty of sin. Second, the Holy Spirit is more powerful than the power of sin. The third fact of salvation is that in the sight of God the stains of sin are washed away by forgiveness.
We will learn valuable lessons from Israels history that will give hope and encourage endurance, especially when encountering spiritual failures. In spite of the nations idolatry, God was very patient with His people. Every time the work of God ran into an obstacle, God raised up a prophet. Being Gods instrument to remove obstacles that blocked the work of God was a chief role or function of the prophets.
Gods Word includes five poetry books, also known as wisdom books or the writings: Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon. In these books, God speaks to the hearts of His people when they are suffering (Job), worshipping (Psalms), coping with the decisions of daily life (Proverbs), doubting (Ecclesiastes), and expressing the intimacies of marriage (Song of Solomon). Gods desire is for us to be changed from the inside out.
The book of Psalms is biblical poetry of worship, praise and prayers. The Psalms have four major themes: psalm telling us about those who are blessed, psalms expressing the emotions we feel, psalms of worship, and psalms of prophecy of the coming Messiah. The best-known psalm, and most beautiful description of the relationship between God and man, is Psalm 23. This blessed man psalm portrays God as a wise and gentle shepherd.
The Psalms are Gods hymnbook of praise! Psalm 1, like many blessed man psalms, presents both positive and negative truths. We learn what blessed people do not do, and then what they do. Our convictions and our choices in life have a lot to do with how God blesses us. We learn how the godly are blessed and the ungodly are not. As we read the Psalms it is important to ask ourselves: Which one am I?
The Sermon on the Mount is one of the key teachings of the Bible. Jesus preached this sermon on a mountaintop in Galilee when He challenged people who professed to be His disciples to be strategically placed between the love of God and the pain of the hurting people in the world. He challenged His disciples to partner with Him and be conduits of His love. He concluded His sermon with a call to commitment. It changed the lives of many who heard it.
Jesus begins by teaching His disciples eight attitudes called, the beatitudes, or blessed attitudes, because each one is introduced by the word blessed. Jesus is promising to bless the disciple who has each of these attitudes. This word blessed can actually mean happy, spiritually prosperous, or in a state of grace. Each attitude also includes a promise that describes the form in which this blessing will come into the life of that disciple.
Salt is a preservative that keeps meat from spoiling, and Christians with the attitudes of Jesus are like salt to the world. When disciples with Christ-like attitudes are rubbed into the people of the world as salt is rubbed into meat, their influence will keep the world from total corruption. They become a valuable commodity Jesus uses to revolutionize the culture. The second metaphor indicates that Christians are the only source of light for multitudes living in darkness. As with the first metaphor, Jesus words literally mean that you and you alone are salt and light. If His disciples do not fulfill their role as salt and light, no one else is left to fulfill it. The people who have Jesus attitudes are sent into the world as Gods solution in order to shine for all to see.
Many people think Jesus was contradicting the Old Testament in these verses, but He was only confronting the teaching of the religious leaders. He was telling His disciples: Everything I am teaching you is found in the Word of God, but what I am teaching is in direct conflict with what your religious leaders have been teaching you.
The word mercy means unconditional love. When David writes in Psalm 23:6 that mercy will follow him all the days of his life, the word he uses for follow actually means pursue. Gods unconditional love will pursue David all of his life. This is the kind of love for others that we must have too, if we are to be like God.