The Message of the Old Testament

Welcome back! Hopefully by now you have completed the activity around Solomon and the Eden Narrative. If not, I recommend you go back and do that.

It’s no surprise that Solomon sinned, but in some ways his failure hurts a little bit more than guys like Cain or Samson. The reason for this, I believe, is that Solomon seemed so close, at least initially.

He passes his first test – he asks for wisdom when he could have asked for riches or glory. He is given dominion and rules well. He starts by doing things God’s way, but unfortunately, he doesn’t continue. He fails in multiple ways and by the end of his life is a broken shell of his former self.

Again, we could keep looking for examples of the Eden narrative, but by now you have hopefully noticed the trend.

The Bible is About a Bunch of Failures

Many people make a mistake when reading the Bible. They believe it is full of moral heroes who we should imitate. Certain stories can make this belief very confusing, because more often than not the Bible is giving us stories of people who messed up.

And while there are some stories of men and women in the Old Testament who do the right thing, I want to be very clear, the primary purpose of the Old Testament is not to teach us morals.

Yes, it has laws and commands on how to live morally. Yes, there are people who sometimes do the right thing.

But ultimately, the Old Testament is a story that repeatedly demonstrates an important theme, and it is this: The human race has fallen from grace. We have rebelled against God, and because of that we are cursed. We continually choose to pursue glory on our own terms and reject the ways of God.

We are in desperate need of a savior. We need the offspring of Eve who can reverse the curse, and the entire Old Testament builds on this theme.

The Message of the New Testament

And this message is not isolated to the Old Testament – the message dominates the New Testament as well. This is the story of the Bible.

Listen to the words of Romans 3:10-12,

“None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”

And later in Romans 3:23,

“For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”

Ephesians 2:1-3 says this,

“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”

In Matthew 9:36 it says this about Jesus,

“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

There are a lot of different ways to say this. None of us are righteous. We have all sinned. We are dead in our sins, and not capable of saving ourselves. We are harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

I want to sit here for a minute because this is important. I recognize that everyone taking this course may not fully believe the Bible, but I hope that you can agree that the Bible is clear on the moral condition of man.

The answer is that mankind is all bad. The issue isn’t simply that we lie or steal. The issue isn’t simply sexual immorality or greed. The issue is far greater and deeper than that – we are corrupt at a heart level. We think we know how to live better than God. We choose our own path to glory. And we do it over and over and over again and it causes more and more pain and suffering.

If that were the end of the story, it would be pretty disappointing. But there is good news – this isn’t the end of the story. And in the next video, we’ll take a look at the way Jesus flips the script of the Eden narrative.