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A Survey of the Old Testament Essay


Be fruitful and multiply

The command to be fruitful and multiply was given to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. God wanted man and woman to reproduce and fill the earth with humanity. However, God’s plan was that the earth would be filled with people who lived in righteousness. The world was to be filled with people in the same spiritual condition as that of Adam and Eve before their fall. However, sin entered the world. Therefore, the multiplication of people led to the multiplication of their sins.

One example of how this population increase led to an increase in sin was during the time when the tower of Babel was being built. The people came together, determined to build a tower that would reach the heavens. They claimed that, in building this tower, they would not be scattered all over the earth. Instead, they would build a name for themselves in that single place. This, of course, was in direct contradiction to God’s plan that people should multiply and spread throughout all the earth. This is why God confused their languages and caused chaos that ended up halting the building project (Dillard and Tremper 55).

The second instance was when Pharaoh tried to destroy the Hebrew male babies. Pharaoh had noticed that the Israelite slaves were rapidly growing both in numbers and might. Afraid that they would take over the rulership of Egypt, he ordered that all the male newborn babies be killed. His plan was to prevent the Israelites from multiplying. This was in direct contradiction to God’s initial command. Therefore, in an effort to preserve His covenant people, God saved the life of Moses. Moses would later grow up to be the liberator of the Israelite people from their bondage in Egypt.

Responsibilities of Israel’s and Judah’s Kings

Initially, it was not God’s desire that the Israelites be ruled by Kings. But God knew that they would demand a king, and He set provisions in the law for a king. There were very high responsibilities that God set for the kings in order to set an example for the people. For example, through King David, God demanded that the King be accountable and a person of unquestionable character. This was clearly brought out when he sinned by committing adultery with Bathsheba and tried to hide his sins. God sent the Prophet Nathan to deal with the issue. This was a lesson to the people that not even kings were above God’s law.

Through King Solomon, the people learned the responsibilities of a king in ensuring that people worshiped the one true God. Solomon had the responsibility of building God’s temple according to the specifications that God himself had given. The king was thus supposed to display an attitude of service and total submission and obedience to God, setting an example for all (Williams and Stanley 501).

King Uziah was a king of Judah. He was a great warrior and is remembered for the many fortifications he put around Judah. However, he grew proud and corrupt. He also defiled the temple and sinned before God when he went to burn incense upon the altar. This showed that even kings were to adhere to God’s law and could not overrule the role of the high priest. They had to obey and live by the law, just like everyone else. God punished Uziah by striking him with leprosy. Throughout the history of Israel and Judah, God displayed His high standards and expectations for the kings. The kings served as a lesson to the people when God rewarded their obedience and punished their disobedience.

True Worship is a Dangerous Thing

“True worship is a dangerous thing because, in it, we are required to bring our personal failings face-to-face with a holy, righteous, and just God.”

Worship refers to the different attitudes of service, submission, and reverence towards God. In other words, it refers to the obedience of God, keeping His commands, and pleasing Him. The author of the above statement is right in terming worship as a dangerous thing. This is because man’s nature is fallen, and he is, therefore, incapable of exhibiting the perfection that God demands. For a man to truly worship God, he must display perfect obedience.

Since this is not possible due to sin, there are sacrifices that must be made to atone for man’s failings. These sacrifices also have to be made in accordance with God’s requirements. Failure to meet any one of the requirement puts the person’s own life in danger.

In the Old Testament, people worshipped God by keeping the commandments given through Moses. Failure to keep any of the many laws required sacrifices to be made. There were also many other sacrifices that had to be made at certain times and in a certain specific way. The people who failed in one way or another were either stricken by a horrible disease, or they were killed (Arnold and Bryan 46). This clearly shows just how dangerous true worship was. A pure and perfect God demands the same of us. However, humanity is made up of imperfect and sinful people. Also, since God is just, He must punish our failings. This is what makes worship dangerous, especially in the Old Testament. However, in the New Testament, Jesus bore these punishments and justified believers.

Importance of Job’s Vulnerability

The story of Job clearly revealed the various ways and instances in which Job’s vulnerability was present. First of all, even though Job was wealthy, and he lived a life of obedience to God, he still ended up losing everything. This illustrates man’s vulnerability. It shows that no amount of wealth or righteousness can make us not become vulnerable to disaster. Job’s vulnerability to the calamities that befell him provides an important lesson to believers. First of all, it shows that all men are vulnerable to disaster. It is not just a great sinner that is vulnerable. Even the strongest and most mature believer is vulnerable (Archer, 402).

Job’s vulnerability was further displayed in God’s description of the Leviathan in Job 41. In this chapter, God described the strength and might of the Leviathan and how Job was helpless against it. God conveniently showed that Job had no hope of standing against the Leviathan, which in essence represented Satan. God showed that even so, He was stronger than the Leviathan. This chapter gives insight to believers concerning vulnerability.

It shows that even though man is vulnerable and totally helpless against Satan’s schemes, God is still stronger than Satan. God still triumphs over evil, despite our own vulnerabilities. These examples clearly show that people misunderstand the way people feel vulnerable to life’s stresses. People always see the stresses as too big, forgetting that God is actually bigger and in control.

Works Cited

Archer, Gleason L. A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, 3rd Ed. Chicago: Moody Press, 1994.

Arnold, Bill T and Bryan E. Beyer. Encountering the Old Testament: A Christian Survey. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1999.

Dillard Raymond B. and Tremper Longman III. An Introduction to the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994.

Williams, William C. and Stanley Horton. They Spoke from God: A Survey of the Old Testament. Springfield, MO: Gospel Publishing House, 2003.

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