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A Nation Born O.K., were going to get into some serious Biblical study now a.

You will probably know a lot of this stuff already

You are not coming to the Bible as complete novices - many of you have been living with the Bible for many years now - and some of you will know the Scriptures very well For some of you, that may not be the case b. Im giving a birds-eye view

There is so much material to cover - so many hundreds of years - so many kings and prophets and judges and military leaders - so many theological ideas and themes That there is no way we could go through it all in detail What I am giving you - is a hitch-hikers guide to Old Testament biblical history c. You need to supplement this with further reading

So, following on from that - you will need to supplement what I have to say - with further reading of your own What I want to do in this session is 2 main things: First, to look at the idea of a Biblical Worldview - what is a Worldview and how does that fit - with our Old Testament studies? Second, to look in a bit more detail about one key theme - from that period - the idea of the Covenant or the Promise - made between God and mankind And the two things link together fairly well

O.K., lets start with the idea of a Worldview A. The Importance of Worldview What is a worldview? Well, ironically enough - a worldview is the way a particular community views the world Deep stuff, huh? Every community, every society, every group of people - has a worldview Its the way we consider things that go on - its common sense: the way things should be - the way we do things around here A world view provides a model of the world which guides its adherents in the worldWorld views are always shared, they are communal. Indeed, true community is possible only when people are bound together by a common way of life rooted in a shared vision of life. - Brian Walsh & Richard Middleton, The Transforming Vision, p.3 We may not always be aware of our worldview - a worldview is like a pair of glasses - I am not very often aware that I wear glasses - I look through the glasses, not at them! - but they are always there and, without them, I couldnt see anything A bit of a mixed analogy here from Tom Wright: World views are like the foundation of a house: vital but invisible. They are that through which, not at which, a society or individual normally look; they form the grid through which humans organise reality. - Tom Wright, The New Testament and the People of God, p.125 So what actually constitutes a worldview? 5 things i. The story by which we interpret life

Maybe thats the Christian story - maybe in America right now, thats the patriotic story - maybe, for the postmodernist, the story is that theres no story ii. The answer to lifes key questions Who are we? Where are we? What went wrong? What is the solution? What time is it? iii. (The nature, task and purpose of humans) (The nature of the world and universe) (The problems or obstacles we face) (What needs to be done) (How does now fit in with the picture?)

The symbols which represent our culture

Every culture works with symbols - the American flag or the burning of the American flag - the Cross of Christ or the Crescent of Islam Culture is built on symbol - they shape our worldview - just as much as they represent our worldview iv. The way we choose to live

Life is a series of choices - how we choose to live is shaped by our worldview - of what is right or wrong or desirable and so on Now this framework is important for understanding youth ministry - its important for understanding ourselves But its also the framework which we will be using - throughout this Module - to understand what was happening in different eras - of biblical and church history -----So when we come to the period of history - which we want to cover in this session - which, essentially is Genesis to 1 Samuel We note that the period of time is such a huge one

- that there are a number of different worldviews - for us to take into account Genesis 1-11 what we call Primeval History - is different from the rest of Genesis And theres a sense in which the worldview of that part of Scripture - is actually focussing in on the very question - to which the rest of Scripture is the answer Genesis 1-11 is primarily a story of human rebellion against God - on a personal level with Adam and Eve and Cain and so on - and on a global scale with the story of Noah - and the Tower of Babel The question of Genesis 1-11, the worldview, if you like - is focussed around one main issue: - How can there be any hope for the nations - in the face of such rebellion against God? And the rest of Scripture provides the answer - to that most fundamental of questions And the answer begins in Genesis 12, - at the beginning of the Patriarchal period - with the life and ministry of Abraham Because its to Abraham that we find those wonderful promises made - Genesis 12:2 I will give you many descendants, and they will become a great nation. I will bless you and make your name famous, so that you will be a blessing. In many ways, this is the beginning of the story of Israel - the promises are made to Abraham - but its also the beginning of Gods answer in history - because the saved are all children of Abraham Patriarchs means Fathers And the Patriarchal period covers the period of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob

- roughly 1900 to 1600 BC - the middle Bronze age And where do we find the Patriarchal history? - the Book of Genesis So what is the worldview of the Patriarchs Lets answer that with reference to our 5 key worldview ideas - so that we can begin to get a framework to work with What was the Worldview Story? The story is this: - that the Israelites were basically a wandering people - a community living the lives of nomads - in the central hill country of Palestine - seeking occasional refuge from famine in Egypt The Patriarchal worldview story - was of a nomadic community - to whom the Creator God had made a promise: - a promise of blessing - a promise that they would one day inherit the land - and found a nation So how does that worldview story work out - with regard to lifes key questions? Who are we? - we are a nomadic people, living by faith in a promise from God Where are we? - we are living in the land that is promised to us - but we dont possess it yet What went wrong? - we have lived in disobedience - the land is not ours yet, it is subject to famine What is the solution? - we need to continue to believe Gods promises

What time is it? - it is a time for daily obedience and trust What about the symbols of that worldview story? Perhaps the two great symbols of the Patriarchal worldview - are Tents and Altars Throughout the Genesis story - there is a constant reminder of the nomadic and wandering nature - of the Israelite community - in the fact that they are always pitching their tents - and striking their tents to move on And of course, after the Exodus from Egypt - they spent 40 years wandering around the wilderness - living in tents And the Altars are a constant symbolic reminder - of their relationship with God Abraham builds altars Jacob builds altars Whichever part of the Patriarchal history you read - the building of altars to the Lord is of central importance And how does the Patriarchal worldview - impact on the way they live? Well, again, the emphasis is on a nomadic existence - waiting on the promise of God to be fulfilled Thereafter, we have the story of Israels slavery under the Egyptians - the call of Moses to be their liberator - and the story of the Exodus from Egypt The exodus happened probably between 1280 and 1240 BC - but, its really hard to date these things accurately And three months later - Moses receives the Law on Mount Sinai - including the 10 Commandments

And the important thing to realise about these Laws - is that they are not given for the Israelites to live by - so that they can win Gods favour They are given for the Israelites to live by - as an act of grateful thanks for Gods grace There is a gross misunderstanding that many Christians have - that, in the Old Testament, people tried to live by good works - and obeying the law - and, because they failed, Jesus had to come - and save them by grace Thats not true God always has saved people by grace - and as a response on our part - he wants us to live obedient lives But, for now, we just need to note - that the first generation who left Egypt - including Moses, of course - never inherited the Promised Land But, eventually the Israelites entered - and gained strategic control - under the military and spiritual leadership of Joshua Now, I say that it was a case of strategic control - because, actually, they never totally conquered the Land They still had to contend against other tribal groups: The Gibeonites The Amorites The Hazorites The Philistines and so on And its not until Joshua 21:43 that we read, - the Lord gave the Israelites the victory over all their enemies And then the land was divided between the tribes

- you can read about that in Joshua too And the centuries of the Judges - was a period marked by internal strife and division - and predominantly, disloyalty to Yahweh And the last verse of the Book of Judges, 21:25 - ends on that depressing note: There was no king in Israel at that time. All the people did just as they pleased. What was the story? We are a rescued people, delivered from slavery - and we are being forged into a nation in the desert What about lifes key questions? Who are we? Where are we? What went wrong? What is the solution? What time is it? Yahwehs people, redeemed by his power Circling the wilderness, then the Promised Land Disobedience, too afraid to enter the land In the land, compromising the faith with Canaanite religion Repent and turn back to Yahweh, trusting Him The time for repentance

What are the symbols of this worldview? Tabernacle, Ark of the Covenant - the Passover and Harvest Festivals How did the Israelites choose to live? Following Gods presence into Canaan - and then occupation of the land - but primarily still living in disobedience -----O.K., thats as much as I want to do on the actual story - you can see that I dont want to go through dates and all that stuff

- too much And that is why it is absolutely essential that you see these lectures - as supplementing your reading, not replacing it