January 31, 2022 – The Bible as a Bookshelf – History and Wisdom

On Sundays at St. Matthew’s United Methodist Church, we are going through a series entitled “Long Story Short” where we look at the Bible as Bookshelf. Each Monday through this series, I’ll layout for what you basic details about the shelf we looked at. And just a reminder you can listen to my podcast of this sermon here or stream it below: 

This week we talked about the Books of History. These books are the historical retelling of the covenant community, from their conquest in the Promised Land to their defeat, exile, and return.  

  1. Joshua – this tells of the conquest of the Promised Land, following Moses’ death.  Joshua leads the people. 
  2. Judges – after Joshua’s death, no one leader leads, a variety of leaders emerge, after a repeating cycle of sin, slavery, and repentance. 
  3. Ruth – takes place during the time of the Judges.  A story of redemption and of God’s kindness.  Also shows how a Gentile becomes in the line of David and of Jesus. 
  4. 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel – Samuel is a great prophet, tells us about the anointing Saul and David, includes the stories we are familiar with David’s reign.  David is the embodiment of the King who followed God but we also see his sin and failure.  
  5. 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, and 2 Chronicles
  6. Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther – these tell of the exile and the return through the eyes of the rebuilding of the Temple, the Wall, and Esther’s courage in standing for her people.  

And the books of Wisdom. These books are deeper and more poetic. They deal with deeper subject matter and experiences, worship, suffering, love, and the meaning of life.  

  1. Job – tells us the story of Job, we see the role of evil, and we learn that suffering is something that will visit all of us, no matter how holy we may be. 
  2. Psalms – the hymnal of the Jewish people.  Honest expressions of worship, joy, pain, and anger.  Some of the most beautiful words in recorded language.  
  3. Proverbs – wisdom for living an ethical life.  Follow these teachings for a “life well lived.”  
  4. Ecclesiastes – a reflection from the king, who had everything one can possibly have, and in the end, it is all vanity.  Only God satisfies. 
  5. Song of Songs – a reflection on love and desire within marriage.  

There is much we can learn and these books can teach us, but I wanted to share with you three things that I think a very important from them. 

First, these books show us that God is active in time and human history. We do not serve a God who is distant to us.  God is active in bringing forth His plan and His will not be stopped. God is active in time, active in our lives and active in history. God has moved all throughout time and history, so we do not have to be afraid. God is near.  God is at work. The histories show how He has worked, and give us confidence that He is still at work. 

Second these books show us that our worship must be connected to our ethics. Psalms and Proverbs go together. Our Worship on Sunday must be connected to the living of our lives on Tuesday afternoon. These two things are not separate from each other, in fact, they are dependent on one another.  We must live our lives with the Psalms in one hand and Proverbs in the other. Our worship and our ethics are joined together.  That is the very definition of what a holy life should be.  

And last, these books show us that in the end, the most important thing in all our lives is our relationship with God. Ecclesiastes 1:2 rightly tells us that everything is vanity.  We can have everything this world offers us, power, fame, privilege, everything, but in the end, it is all of no value. He who dies with most toys still dies.  In the end, all that matters is our walk with God. Understanding that truth is having true wisdom.  

I hope this is helpful to your understanding of the Books of History and Wisdom. Please, reach out to me with any questions you may have.  

If you’d like to get each day’s daily scripture reading sent to your phone along with this reading guide, text @39110 to 81010 to sign up!

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