We’re following the storyline of the whole Bible in our all-age talks in church at the moment. Last week we saw God’s promises to Abraham and how they began to be fulfilled in Genesis – especially with his son Isaac.
From Exodus to Joshua we see the way that God completes a partial fulfilment of his promises of people, land and rule/blessing.
We start Exodus with a description of how the twelve sons of Jacob turn into an incredibly numerous people (Exodus 1:1-7).
The first part of Exodus describes how God rescues his people and then provides for his rule and blessing in the Law (Exodus 20-24) and the tabernacle (Exodus 25-31; 35-40). It’s important to see the gospel pattern here. We are not saved by obedience (the people of Israel were rescued before they were given the law). No we are saved for obedience (and even then the sacrificial system is needed, pointing to our need for a perfect sacrifice). This is like Ephesians 2:1-10 in story form!
It takes a while, due to the people’s sin, but in Joshua we find the people entering and taking the promised land. Each part of the promises has some fulfilment.
There is something we’ve only briefly alluded to so far that is missing though. And that’s a king. Back in Genesis 3:15 we heard about the son of Eve who would crush the serpent’s head. We knew there had to be someone special. In Genesis 49:10 we find Jacob prophesying the rule of a descendant of Judah. Within the law given to Israel (Deuteronomy 17:14-20), we find provision being made for a future king.
This need seems intensified in the book of Judges where Israel goes through a cycles of disobedience, defeat and return to the Lord. The book ends:
In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.(Judges 21:25 ESV)
After a false start with Saul, we get a good king in David. One who is after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22). Everything seems set for the fulfilment of God’s promises…
…but there are lots of little signs of problems along the way. We see the repeated sin of the people, the inability to fully take the land and the repeated failures of leaders. As we will see with David and the kings that follow, all is not well.
We need a king greater than David and we need something that can deal with sin, and we need a broken creation to be remade before God’s promises can truly be fulfilled and Eden restored.