We start with God. Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Father sending forth his word in the power of the Spirit to bring order out of chaos, the world out of water, light over darkness climaxing in the making of Man in God’s image (Genesis 1). We find The Man placed in God’s temple-mountain garden and given a Bride. He stops to sing. Together they’re to work and cultivate this temple extending it into a global garden in which man and God dwell together, man ruling the world under God (Genesis 2). One day the world will be full of people. One day the world will be full of the glory of God, that which is supremely displayed in The Man, Jesus Christ (2 Cor 3v18).
This Man overthrows God and is kicked out of the temple (Genesis 3), though he’s promised that a seed of the woman will come who will defeat evil and bring them back into the garden. The first candidate for that is murdered by his brother who builds a city for his own glory (Genesis 4). From The Man and his Bride comes another son who is not the seed who begins to call on the LORD. He is not the seed. One of his progeny Enoch prophesied of God’s coming judgement, and soon after Noah is born (Genesis 5). The world once formed out of water is deluged but Noah’s family escape, saved by God. A new world emerges from the water with the Man on his mountain, human evil remains and this new world soon descends back into wickedness. From Noah the world is filled with people who practice evil, even attempting to build an arrogant city that will reach heaven and broadcast the glory of these sinners (Genesis 6-11).
God however chooses Abraham and promises that from him will come a seed, Christ. This seed is born by God’s promised and though offered to death is resurrected, figuratively. This seed, Isaac, gains a wife and has sons (Genesis 12-25). From them come twelve sons, the tribes of Israel who flee, like their forefather Abraham, to Egypt. They are ruled over by Joseph though it is Israel’s son Judah who will one day rule them (Genesis 26-5). The memory of Israel saving Egypt is soon forgotten and a people called to rule the world are subjected as slaves. Through a Levitical priest called Moses and his brother Aaron Christ comes to save his people from slavery into a garden land. They are rescued by Christ and they stop to sing (Exodus 15) before meet him at mount Sinai (Exodus 1-18). There, to hem them in until Christ comes to his people, they are placed under law. This law, particularly in the provision of a tent-dwelling of God with his people, foreshadows Christ’s coming. It shows them what he will do for them (Exodus 19-25).
This people quickly turn back to slavery and though rescued to worship God they begin to worship things they make for themselves (Exodus 32-34). Instead of destroying them God spares them, for the sake of his own reputation and promises. On the verge of the promised land they rebel and decide to go back to slavery. This costs them their lives and it will be a generation before the people go into the land (Numbers 13-14).The sons of Korah die for their rebellion but some are redeemed and write great songs of love for to Son of God (Psalm 45).
By then Moses is dead and it is Joshua who leads them in. As they enter in, a prostitute called Rahab is adopted into God’s people (Joshua 2). The people are led by Judges who bring short-lived salvation in days when there is no king over the people. In these days a descendent of Abraham’s nephew Lot, a woman called Ruth, is adopted into God’s people (Ruth).
This is a remarkable turn around for a people born of horrific and shameful origins. Soon, the people request a king, rejecting God’s rule over themselves. God had previously set out the requirements for a king and this Benjamite, Saul fails in every way (1 Samuel). Another, David of Judah is anointed and kills the giant Goliath, he takes the throne and is the king par excellence. He sings. He desires to build a house for God’s people but is denied. Instead his Son, through adultery with Bathsheba, Solomon will build a temple. David’s son will be king forever (2 Samuel 7.)
Solomon ascends and builds the temple, the people stop to sing. The Son of David is greater than any other king of the world and the peoples of the world gather, but he too falls into sin and his sons divide the kingdom into two. The northern kingdom, Israel, is soon overthrown by Assyria. Jonah is sent to preach to the Assyrian capital Nineveh. The south survives many generations but is ultimately exiled for their rebellion against God, by Babylonians who have overtaken Assyria (2 Chronicles),
Many are killed, the kings and high-flyers are exiled (Daniel) and some rise remarkably and see God’s salvation (Daniel and later Esther). Between the days of Solomon and this time of exile many messengers call God’s people to turn back to him (Isaiah after the days of King Uzziah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah etc).
Eventually God uses a foreign king to send his people back for a partial restoration under Ezra and Nehemiah, while Haggai prophesies. The rebuilt city is inglorious and prophetic expectation remains unfulfilled until centuries later, the son of Abraham and David is born, Jesus the Christ.
This son, this seed, is the true Israel. The true temple. The true priest. The true sacrifice. The word of God. As the author is written into the story godly men and women stop to sing. Though he made the world he is rejected by it. He is killed by the whole world and yet is raised to life by his Father.
He sends the Spirit to his people, the church, and they become a global people, bringing God’s rule and blessing to all peoples. They form local communities, bodies of which Jesus is the head, where though diverse their common love of Jesus binds them together in love. They stop to sing. They live longing for the day when he returns and will renew his world, re-creating it to be the place where He, the true Man, will dwell with his bride, the church, whom he saved, forever.