These very-real fathers looked beyond bloodlines to raise the next generation for God’s glory.
If you want to read more about each of these parents, click through to the original posts! I hope you are encouraged in your unconventional role or God leads you to encourage someone else in his/her role.
Are you particularly encouraged by one of these parents? Do you know of another awesome unconventional parent in the Bible? Please share your answers to either question in the comments below. I would love to make a collection of studies with present-day examples!
Our last survey for the Old Testament. These guys are fascinating, and so much of what they said reverberates into our century. If it’s been awhile, just read through Amos or Habakkuk and see what God says to them…and to you.
After today, we’ll take a break from the Content and Context series. While it is good and helpful (I’ve learned many things in writing it!), we need some real how-to-parent-with-intentionality postings. I’ll intersperse the New Testament charts over the months ahead.
About: God’s covenant, Israel’s idolatry
God loves His people and wants them to have a faithful relationship with Him.
Big stories: Hosea loves his unfaithful wife, Israel worships other gods
Time: just before the fall of Israel/Northern Kingdom in 722bc (Isaiah, Amos)
“Who is wise? Let them realize these things. Who is discerning? Let them understand. The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.” Hosea 14:9
About: locusts, Day of the Lord
God uses a natural disaster to remind the people of coming judgment followed by restoration.
Big stories: invasion of locusts, promises for the day of judgment
Time: unclear, but probably before the fall of Jerusalem
“The Lord will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the heavens will tremble. But the Lord will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel.” Joel 3:16
About: social justice, honest worship
God wants His people to live with integrity, experiencing authentic worship.
Big stories: Amos’ calling, fat cows of Bashan, call to repentance
Time: about 30 years before Israel went into captivity (Isaiah, Hosea, Jonah)
“But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” Amos 5:24
About: Edom (shortest book in the Old Testament)
God will punish Edom for participating in Israel’s devastation.
Big stories: Edom’s failure to help Israel
Time: probably just before the fall of Judah (Jeremiah)
“The pride of your heart has deceived you…you who say to yourself, ‘Who can bring me down to the ground?’ Though you soar like the eagle and make your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down,” declares the Lord. Obadiah 3-4
About: disobedience, ethnocentrism (belief that your culture is superior)
God cares about other people groups as well as His chosen people.
Big stories: Jonah swallowed by a fish, Jonah preaching to Nineveh
Author: maybe Jonah or maybe someone who knew him
Time: after Amos & Hosea but before the fall of Israel/Northern Kingdom
“Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: ‘Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.’ Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh.” Jonah 3:1-3a
About: divine judgment and deliverance
God’s judgment is certain, but so is his restoration through the coming Messiah.
Big stories: prophecy about Bethlehem, call for social justice
Time: before & after the fall of Israel/Northern Kingdom (Isaiah, Hosea)
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8
About: fall of Nineveh
God’s people can be sure He will judge their oppressors.
Big stories: descriptions of Nineveh’s future destruction
Time: between the fall of Israel and of Judah (Zephaniah)
“The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him, but with an overwhelming flood he will make an end of Nineveh; he will pursue his foes into the realm of darkness.” Nahum 1:7-8
About: complaints and questions to God
God’s timing is always perfect.
Big stories: God answers complaints, Habakkuk’s confidence in God
Time: before the fall of Jerusalem (Jeremiah)
“Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.” Habakkuk 3:2
About: the Day of the Lord, judgment
God’s justice will prevail not only among His people but around the world.
Big stories: warnings for Judah and other nations
Time: between the fall of Israel and of Judah (King Josiah, Jeremiah, Nahum)
“Be silent before the Sovereign Lord, for the day of the Lord is near. The Lord has prepared a sacrifice; he has consecrated those he has invited.” Zephaniah 1:7
About: priorities, the temple’s glory
God calls for His people to be faithful, then they will be blessed.
Big stories: rebuilding the temple, blessings for faithfulness
Time: 520bc, when exiles returned to rebuild the temple (Ezra/Nehemiah, Zechariah)
“’I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty.” Haggai 2:7
About: encouragement, Messianic prophecies
God is sovereign and keeps His promises.
Big stories: vision dreams, social justice over fasting, the coming Messiah
Time: after exiles returned to rebuild the temple (Ezra/Nehemiah, Haggai)
“This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.” Zechariah 4:6
About: breaking the covenant, the coming King
While God will preserve a remnant, His judgment is surely coming.
Big stories: list of covenant violations, blessing for tithing, scroll of remembrance
Time: post-exilic (Nehemiah). Probably the latest of the OT prophets.
“But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays. And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves.” Malachi 4:2
A friend of mine just posted a poem about prophets. Since we’re in the Minor Prophets, it seems appropriate to share it *here*.
It’s really all about God, isn’t it? When I started this content and context listing, I wanted to write the summary sentence for each book so that the focus was on God. That hasn’t been hard. Here in the Major Prophets, with their intense and personal connections to Him, it has been even easier. If you want to see what I’m talking about, go back and look at those summary sentences (the second bullet point under each book title) in previous posts; you can clearly see God’s active presence in each time period and situation. This is why history is actually His Story. Beautiful!
If you are new to this blog, find the original post that started the series *here*.
About: judgment, promises
God uses Isaiah to voice His promises for the restoration of His people.
Big stories: Isaiah before God, promise of Immanuel, prophecies about Jesus
Time: fall of Israel (Amos, Hosea, Micah)
“It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” Isaiah 49:6
About: Judah’s approaching exile (Did you know this is the longest book in the Bible?)
Through Jeremiah, God forewarns and demonstrates how Judah will be judged.
Big stories: Jeremiah’s calling, visiting a pottery studio, a king burns Jeremiah’s scroll of prophecies, fall of Jerusalem
Time: before fall of Judah (King Josiah, Daniel, Habakkuk)
“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.’” Jeremiah 29:11-12
About: mourning, loss (It’s a collection of laments, after all.)
God’s people mourn their punishment but remember that God is faithful.
Big stories: the people feel deserted
Author: maybe Jeremiah
Time: immediately after the fall of Jerusalem
“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:21-23
About: God’s sovereignty and omnipresence
With Ezekiel as His spokesman, God removes the tangible centerpieces of Israel’s religious life.
Big stories: Ezekiel’s call, the valley of dry bones and restoration of the temple
Time: fall of Jerusalem and Babylonian exile
“Therefore say to the Israelites, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: It is not for your sake, people of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name…Then the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Sovereign Lord, when I am proved holy through you before their eyes.’” Ezekiel 36:22-23
About: Daniel and his friends, long-range prophecy
God uses a few faithful men to make His glory known in a foreign nation.
Big stories: fiery furnace, lions’ den, interpreting kings’ dreams
Time: late in Babylonian exile
“The king said to Daniel, ‘Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery.” Daniel 2:47
Have you ever tried to summarize the Psalms in one sentence? That’s a doozy! I made an attempt below as we continue our content and context chart for the Books of the Bible. (Find the first post, with explanation, *here*.)
I would still like to hear about some well-done resources for helping our children learn the Bible. Take a minute to comment if you know of something helpful.
HISTORICAL BOOKS (cont.)
About: rebuilding the temple
God uses pagan kings and exiles to maintain His name and His place.
Big stories: exiles return to Jerusalem, temple is rebuilt, Ezra goes to Jerusalem and leads the people
Author: probably Ezra (a priest and teacher)
Time: about 50 years after Judah went into exile
“Let the temple be rebuilt as a place to present sacrifices. … Also, the gold and silver articles of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took from the temple in Jerusalem and brought to Babylon, are to be returned to their places in the temple in Jerusalem.” Ezra 6:3-5
About: rebuilding the wall
God helps returning Israelites rebuild the wall around Jerusalem despite fierce opposition and their own sinfulness.
Big stories: Nehemiah asks permission to go to Jerusalem, opposition and discouragement delay the rebuilding of the wall
Author: possibly Ezra
Time: contemporary with Ezra but slightly later
“When all our enemies heard about this [rebuilding], all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.” Nehemiah 6:16
About: rebuilding the people’s faith (notice the theme in these three books?)
God delivers His people through the courage of one faithful woman.
Big stories: Esther pleases the king, Esther pleads for the lives of her people
Time: same as Ezra
“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14
About: justice, suffering, Job’s faith
God permits Job to suffer and be tested for His glory.
Big stories: Job loses everything, God declares Himself to Job and his friends
Time: probably contemporary with Abraham
Job “said: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.’ In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” Job 1:21-22
About: songs of prayer and praise
God enjoys the praise of His people; He comforts and guides us.
Big stories: God’s presence, the priority of His Word, praising all His attributes
Author: King David and others
Time: Moses through Solomon or later (Genesis-1 Kings)
“How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:9-11
About: sayings of warning and advice
God expects younger people to heed the guidance of their elders.
Big stories: avoiding folly, parenting well, the noble wife
Author: King Solomon and others
Time: same as 1 Kings/2 Chronicles
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7
About: finding wisdom and meaning in life
Life is meaningless without God as one’s ultimate source of understanding.
Big stories: a time for everything, pointlessness of life
Author: possibly King Solomon
Time: possibly same as 1 Kings/2 Chronicles, Proverbs
“Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.” Ecclesiastes 12:13
Song of Songs (formerly Song of Solomon)
About: physical love between a man and woman (Yeah…I’m not putting a picture on this one!)
God delights in the amorous attraction of a faithful couple.
Big stories: interaction between lovers
Author: possibly King Solomon
Time: possibly same as 1 Kings/2 Chronicles, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes
“Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away. If one were to give all the wealth of one’s house for love, it would be utterly scorned.” Song of Songs 8:7
This week, we have the entire history of Israel’s monarchy—from the first grumblings for a king such as all the other nations have (1 Sam 8:5) to the exile, with some repetition thrown in for good measure. These were originally single books (not 1st and 2nd), which explains the naming. There are so many great stories and examples (both positive and negative) here!
Take one book a week or one a day and help your children learn not just the order of the books in the Bible but something of their content and historical context.
HISTORICAL BOOKS (cont.)
About: Samuel, Saul, and David
God uses a priest to establish the Israelite monarchy, which becomes the lineage of Jesus.
Big stories: Hannah, Saul v/s David, David & Jonathan
Time: after Judges
“The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7b
About: reign of King David
God establishes David’s kingship through many challenges.
Big stories: David becomes king, Bathsheba, Tamar, Absalom’s conspiracy
Author: unknown (same as 1 Samuel)
Time: immediately after 1 Samuel
“The God of Israel spoke, the Rock of Israel said to me: ‘When one rules over people in righteousness, when he rules in the fear of God, he is like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning, like the brightness after rain that brings grass from the earth.’” 2 Samuel 23:3-4
About: King Solomon, divided kingdom, Elijah
God blesses Solomon, but later kings squander those blessings despite prophetic warnings.
Big stories: Solomon asks for wisdom, building the temple, Elijah & prophets of Ba’al
Time: immediately after 2 Samuel (starts at the end of David’s reign)
“God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore.” 1 Kings 4:29
About: Elisha, exile
Prophets warn of judgment by exile but most kings refuse to heed God.
Big stories: Elijah’s chariot of fire, King Josiah renews the covenant
Author: unknown (same as 1 Kings)
Time: immediately after 1 Kings through Judah’s capture
“The Lord warned Israel and Judah through all his prophets and seers: ‘Turn from your evil ways….’ But they would not listen and were as stiff-necked as their ancestors, who did not trust in the Lord their God.” 2 Kings 17:13-14
About: blood lines, King David
God chooses David, who rises to power as a military ruler and prepares for building the temple.
Big stories: 1/3 of the book is genealogy; David’s military prowess, heart for God, and collection of temple materials
Author: possibly Ezra
Time: from Adam through the death of King David
“What more can David say to you for honoring your servant? For you know your servant, Lord. For the sake of your servant and according to your will, you have done this great thing and made known all these great promises.” 1 Chronicles 17:18-19
About: King Solomon, other kings of Judah
Solomon’s wisdom and power were soon forgotten as the kingdom fractured, leaving Judah with a series of kings—some good, some evil.
Big stories: building the temple, Solomon’s wisdom, schism and exile
Author: possibly Ezra
Time: King Solomon through going into exile
“The Lord, the God of their ancestors, sent word to them through his messengers again and again, because he had pity on his people and on his dwelling place. But they mocked God’s messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the Lord was aroused against his people and there was no remedy.” 2 Chronicles 36:15-16