SUNDAY, JULY 31
Scripture: Psalm 78:12-14
Psalm 78:12-14 says, “Marvelous things He did in the sight of their fathers, In the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan. He divided the sea and caused them to pass through; And He made the waters stand up like a heap. In the daytime also He led them with the cloud, And all the night with a light of fire.” The reason why we study the history of Israel is because we learn how God interacts with nations.
The Biblical history of Israel covers 1,800 years and represents a marvelous panorama of God’s gracious working through promise, miracle, blessing and judgment. Israel begins as only a promise to Abraham (Genesis 12:2). For over four hundred years the people of Israel rely on that promise, especially during the period of bondage to Egypt. Finally, in God’s perfect timing, He brings the nation out of Egypt with the greatest series of miracles known in the entire Old Testament (Ex 7-15). The event is called the book of Exodus, meaning “a going out.” Since it constitutes the miraculous birth of a nation, it is to this great act of redemption that the nation always looks back as the foremost example of God’s care for His people (Psalm 77:14-20; 78:12-55; Hos. 11:1).
Once God has redeemed Israel He establishes His covenant with them at Mount Sinai (Ex 19:5-8). From that point forward the nation is truly His possession, and He is their God. The covenant foretells gracious blessings for obedience and severe judgments for disobedience. The rest of Israel’s history demonstrates the certainty of that prophecy. Through the periods of conquest, judges, monarchy, exile, restoration, and Gentile domination, Israel is blessed when she obeys and judged when she disobeys. The nation is finally destroyed in A.D. 70, although this event is not described in the New Testament. Many prophecies, however, promise a future redemption for Israel (Romans 11:26).
The practical value of studying Israel’s history is threefold: