Back from Israel and Final Thoughts

13 Dec

Well, I’m finally back in the States. 19 hours on a plane is a long time! I figured I’d take a few minutes to jot down a few thoughts and lessons from my History of Ancient Israel class. Here are a few things that I and/or my classmates took away from the course:

 

  • God is sovereign over the nations and over all of history. The Lord raised up an entire nation from one man and providentially brought them into and out of Egypt and into the land of Israel, where He preserved them from and punished them with the surrounding nations. For example, II Kings 13 says that Jehoahaz, ruler of the northern kingdom of Israel, was under heavy oppression from the Arameans, a nation to his northeast. Scripture records that God raised up a deliverer for Israel when Jehoahaz entreated God for help. Though the Bible doesn’t name this deliverer, a study of ancient near eastern history reveals that at this precise time the Assyrian king Adad-nirari III came and attacked the Arameans, freeing Israel from their pressure. Though Adad-nirari III by no means intended to save the little nation of Israel, the Lord used his campaign against Aramea to do just that. Just think about it for a minute. God literally raises up and brings down empires as easily as I wrote this sentence. That’s amazing!

 

  • God’s preservation of His Word is astounding. There are absolutely no other ancient near eastern texts that even begin to compare. For example, if archeologists find fragments one short inscription from some other king during the same time, perhaps about where he built a city or who he killed in battle, it’s an incredible find. Yet we have the entire Word of God! Truly, we can have full confidence that what we read in our Bibles today is the revelation of God given to the biblical authors thousands of years ago. Also, as I have mentioned in previous blogs, the Bible is amazingly accurate and detailed in its historical records. They mesh exceedingly well with evidences from archeology and the relatively few ancient texts we have found. For instance, the Bible says in II Kings 15 that King Pekah of Israel had been killed and replaced with Hoshea. Tiglath Pileser III, king of Assyria at that time, says the same exact thing in his records.

 

  • We are a covenant people, just like Israel was. We have been purchased by the Lord via the blood of Jesus the Messiah. We are members of the New Covenant prophesied in places like Joel and Jeremiah and Ezekiel. God is our Master. He owns us and we are slaves to Him now, not to sin. As members, we receive benefits like eternal life and sonship in the Kingdom of Heaven. We also have responsibilities, like serving the Lord and proclaiming His Gospel. In the words of Paul, we are not our own; we have been bought with a price (I Corinthians 6:19-20).

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