Historians select people and events to tell a story slanted to the author’s preferences. Details season the generalities. The Bible is the story of chosen people and events, told by an Author giving us a broad sweep with a definite slant. His meta-narrative begins when something comes from nothing.
Commencement is creation. All things made, by design, must bear witness of the Maker. There is variance in quantity and quality by His design. The Creator is not dull. Diversity is wedded to unity without uniformity. Systems are intricate and beauty is obvious, despite sporadic destruction explicating creation’s fall from grace. Trouble abounds in this divine drama; yet, someone is holding the story together despite infinite tensions. He is called the “Author,” and this is His story.
The Creator is the Author. He created the heavens and the earth and everything in them. The heavens and the earth witness to His glorious design. Deprived of life, rocks still seem to want to cry out. Life turns quickly to death. The seed is dropped and new life replaces old. Life varies as it continues through generations. The zenith of zoe buttressed to bios is humanity. Flesh and spirit, crafted in the image of God, is the crown of creation. Spoken into existence, man walked with God his Creator. The place was a paradise. The home and garden of man and woman wanted for nothing. Blessing abounded without toil for labor was a blessing and a gift.
The Lord instructed His creation, but flesh and spirits rebelled. Creation groaned. Paradise closed. Death reigned with sin as the law of the land. The kingdom of darkness enslaved man. The harvest of thorns and thistles followed the springing forth of toil and pain, until the wintry will of death prevailed. Man murdered his brother.
New light pierced the darkness with the bright and morning star. A child was born. Compensation compelled his mother to live again. Hope returned. Man wandered and hunted on the face of the earth. His icon multiplied and bore fruit in the midst of his adversary. Who would rule the earth? The man or the beast? Grace favored man until all he could think or imagine was evil, all the time in unscrupulous alliance with his enemy. A man named Noah built an ark of salvation. Judgment baptized the earth.
To cope, man copulated with the spirits and cursed was Canaan. Strongholds were built, boasting of fleeting permanence. Man huddled on a slippery slope again in disobedience to the Author’s command to fill the earth. The Author visited ambitious people in their ivory towers of pride, questing for fame and a name. The Almighty scattered man in a cacophony of confused tongues.
Man wandered in every direction until the plan called forth one who trusted God. A people and a place were being prepared. His would be a new nation, born of many nations under one father, at center of the circle of the earth. Canaan was cast out, but Abraham could not settle. Regardless, the Ruler of the heavens imputed righteousness to His chosen vessel of faith. Abraham, like Noah, believed the Word of God and received favor. Egypt invited his new neighbor for a visit, while his son dug well into the promised land. Laughter brought forth sons to be loved and hated. The beloved drifted from the promise of blessing despite his tricky birthright. Jacob wrestled with meaning and was crippled by destiny. Still, he walked by faith in the promises of the poet.
Favor rested with Israel in days of famine. A child was born again who would rule over the world as they knew it. Brotherly betrayal brought bondage, but the Lord of all increased him in everything he did. Every knee would bow to him, but it was still hard for Egypt to love his adopted son. The ruin of Joseph transpired over four hundred years of increasing oppression. Darkness would never comprehend the presence of light.
Blessing now demanded obedience, which drew out a prophet on the high ground of holy covenant. The Author always intended His beloved to be free. Fare over and above a reasonable rent brought tears mingled with sweat. Empire builders always demand a deliverer. The Author sent Moses, a child of Israel and a child of Egypt. A beautiful image of humble prophecy endured plagues of wrath unto Passover. The messenger of death slithered into the beds of the progeny of pride; while the children of blood plundered the place with an invitation out of Africa.
Man wandered again in the wilderness. A new nation was born of a whorish world, birthed in baptism under watery duress. A song of salvation resounded as waves washed over the wicked again. I am reassured His people He would be everything they needed. Milk and honey looked too risky in their espionage, so they settled for donuts and quail on a journey going nowhere. The daily shade of Immanuel protected His people from years of scorching lament. Two score times for testing, as Moses pleaded for Israel before God.
The fire of night warmed their beautiful feet in the shoes of endurance until the prophet saw the promise from Nebo. Land, seed, and blessing lay before this royal priesthood who was still learning to depend on YHWH’s deliverance. Conquering strongholds of the wicked was awkward business for a peculiar people prepared as vessels to embrace glory. Holiness found life tenuous in the territory of intruding sin. Canaan was still cursed, and Israel was polluted.
Judges of the Law of God interpreted right and wrong, as the people danced round and round the Ashtaroth pole. Apostasy, judgment, repentance, and restoration became the dizzy cycle of life. So, the people begged the prophet for a king. The Author was the King, but the people preferred a king in their own image. David appeared as a man after God’s own heart so the promise of eternal kingship was added to the blessing of a believing people who God chose for Himself. His story is one of love. He would be their God and they would be His people.
Prophets were sent from the Author to call subsequent kings to repentance. They also spoke to the people, but the people killed the prophets. Israel was scattered while Judah trekked the Arabian desert to Babylon. The destruction of their temple in Jerusalem got Israel’s attention by the rivers of Babylon.
The Author paused in the telling for 400 years until he sent the last of the prophets to cry in the wilderness and make the way for the Author to enter His story. The Author came incognito as a simple carpenter from an insignificant village. The prophets had told of His coming. Isaiah knew it was Him. Micah knew where. Daniel knew when. They all knew why.
The greatest story ever told is God coming into history to be the Savior of His people. He is Messiah. He bought them out of the slavery of sin with His blood. Death on the cross by a sinless man, who represented His people before the judgment of God, was an acceptable sacrifice to pay the penalty of sin and endure the punishment of wrath. The protagonist of the greatest story cannot remain dead. His battle with flesh, the devil, and the world was victorious through death, burial, and into resurrection life. He is risen just as He had planned.
His story continues as He continues to call in people from every nation, tribe and tongue into the assembly of eternity. When His Spirit, sent to bear witness and give life to those dead in their trespasses and sins, calls in the final Gentile in the last day, His Spirit will be removed for evil to gather for a time.
The Author is coming again. He will judge the living and the dead. His kingdom will be established, as His enemies are put asunder. He will reclaim the dust of the earth as His possession, and He will make all things new. The final chapter of His story will never end as His adopted children have read in His letter to them — the Bible, His story.
July 15, 2021