Today the psalmists recount the Story of the Bible as they call the Lord’s people to remember His mighty works – “Remember His marvelous works which He has done, His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth, O seed of Abraham His servant, you children of Jacob, His chosen ones!” (Psalm 105:5-6). Since we are just over half way through the chronological story of the Bible, today is a good day to review the eras of the Bible that we have already covered in our reading with the help of the psalmists:
- Creation Era – The Creation Era included five stories: Creation, the Fall, Cain and Abel, Noah and the flood, and the Tower of Babel. We also read the Book of Job which many scholars place at the beginning of the Patriarch Era. After the fall, the Lord made a promise to send a Savior to redeem His people (Genesis 3:15). Then He killed an innocent animal and used its skin to cover Adam and Eve, illustrating the shedding of the blood of the innocent atones for the sins of the guilty (Genesis 3:21). Jesus Christ is coming as the final sacrificial Lamb to live a life we can’t live and die a death that we deserve, shedding His innocent blood on our behalf, to restore us to His Father the Lord. The rest of the Story is about the coming Messiah.
- Patriarch Era – There were three patriarchs in the Patriarch Era: Abraham, Issac, and Jacob. The Lord made a promise to Abraham that he would be a father of many nations and that kings would come from him. The Lord promised to give his descendants land in Cannan and said that through Abraham’s descendants all the nations on the earth would be blessed. When Jacob was on his deathbed in Egypt, he gave blessings to his sons where we discovered that the Messiah would come from the bloodline of Judah (Genesis 49:10). The psalmist recalls the works of the Lord through the patriarchs in Psalm 105:
- “He remembers His covenant forever, the word which He commanded, for a thousand generations, the covenant which He made with Abraham, and His oath to Isaac, and confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant, saying, ‘To you I will give the land of Canaan as the allotment of your inheritance,’ When they were few in number, indeed very few, and strangers in it” (Psalm 105:8-12).
- “Moreover He called for a famine in the land; He destroyed all the provision of bread. He sent a man before them— Joseph—who was sold as a slave. They hurt his feet with fetters, he was laid in irons. Until the time that his word came to pass, the word of the Lord tested him. The king sent and released him, the ruler of the people let him go free. He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all his possessions” (Psalm 105:16-21).
- “Israel also came into Egypt, and Jacob dwelt in the land of Ham. He increased His people greatly, and made them stronger than their enemies. He turned their heart to hate His people, to deal craftily with His servants” (Psalm 105:23-25).
- Exodus Era – The Lord delivered His people who were enslaved in Egypt for four hundred years by sending the ten plagues. The final plague was the Passover which was another clear illustration that we are saved by being under the blood of the innocent, pointing to the coming Savior. Then the Lord brought them into the wilderness where He established the sacrificial system and gave the people the Law. The Lord was training the Israelites to walk with Him, to trust Him, and to obey Him as He provided for them:
- “He sent Moses His servant, and Aaron whom He had chosen. They performed His signs among them, and wonders in the land of Ham… He also destroyed all the firstborn in their land, the first of all their strength. He also brought them out with silver and gold, and there was none feeble among His tribes. Egypt was glad when they departed, for the fear of them had fallen upon them. He spread a cloud for a covering, and fire to give light in the night. The people asked, and He brought quail, and satisfied them with the bread of heaven. He opened the rock, and water gushed out; it ran in the dry places like a river” (Psalm 105:26-41).
- “But they soon forgot his works; they did not wait for his counsel. But they had a wanton craving in the wilderness, and put God to the test in the desert; he gave them what they asked, but sent a wasting disease among them” (Psalm 106:13-15). The psalmist goes on to talk about the rebellious stories of Dathan, the golden calf in Horeb, Baal of Peor, and he ends with the story of the waters of Meribah where Moses sinned against the Lord and lost the privilege of entering the promised land – “They angered him at the waters of Meribah, and it went ill with Moses on their account, for they made his spirit bitter, and he spoke rashly with his lips” (Psalm 106:32-33).
- Conquest Era – After the death of Moses, Joshua led the Israelites into the promised land but the people failed to drive out the inhabitants as the Lord commanded:
- “For He remembered His holy promise, and Abraham His servant. He brought out His people with joy, His chosen ones with gladness. He gave them the lands of the Gentiles, and they inherited the labor of the nations, that they might observe His statutes and keep His laws” (Psalm 105:42-45).
- “They did not destroy the peoples, concerning whom the Lord had commanded them, but they mingled with the Gentiles and learned their works; they served their idols, which became a snare to them. They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons, and shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; and the land was polluted with blood. Thus they were defiled by their own works, and played the harlot by their own deeds” (Psalm 106:34-39).
- Judges Era – After the death of Joshua, the Israelites forgot the Lord and turned to idolatry. This era was defined by everyone doing what was right in their own sight which was evil in the sight of the Lord. Therefore the Lord turned His people over to their enemies but when they cried out to Him, He sent a judge to deliver them. The people had peace until the judge died but once the judge died they fell back into idolatry and wickedness; so the Lord would turn them over again to their enemies. This was the sin cycle. The Israelites experienced seven different cycles with fourteen different judges in the Judges Era:
- “Therefore the wrath of the Lord was kindled against His people, so that He abhorred His own inheritance. And He gave them into the hand of the Gentiles, and those who hated them ruled over them. Their enemies also oppressed them, and they were brought into subjection under their hand. Many times He delivered them; but they rebelled in their counsel, and were brought low for their iniquity. Nevertheless He regarded their affliction, when He heard their cry; and for their sake He remembered His covenant, and relented according to the multitude of His mercies” (Psalm 106:40-45).
- Kingdom Era – The people no longer wanted the Lord to rule over them, so they asked for a king like the nations around them. The Lord gave them King Saul who was more concerned about the praise of man than the approval of the Lord. Therefore, the Lord took the kingdom from Saul and gave it to a man after His own heart, King David. King David desired to build a house for the Lord but the Lord told him that his son Solomon would be the one to build His house. However, the Lord promised King David that He would build him an enduring house and that his descendants would sit on the throne forever, pointing to the Messiah who is coming through his bloodline. David’s son Solomon began well as king. He built the temple of the Lord, asked for wisdom, executed justice, and was well respected by all. However, he intermarried with many women amongst the nations around him and began worshipping their false gods causing his heart to turn from the Lord. Therefore, the Lord stripped ten of the twelve tribes from the hand of Solomon’s son, Rehoboam.
- Divided Kingdom Era – Ten tribes were given to Solomon’s servant, Jeroboam, who formed Northern Israel. Jeroboam was an evil king who devised a new religion of idolatry in an effort to control the people. All nineteen kings after him were evil. Northern Israel lasted two hundred and nine years before the Lord raised up the Assyrians to serve judgment against His rebellious people and destroy them as a nation in 722 BC. Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, was the first king of Southern Judah which consisted of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, plus the ones who left Northern Israel to come and worship the Lord in Jerusalem including the Levites. Southern Judah has had a few good kings but most have been wicked like the kings in Northern Israel. However, every king in Southern Judah is a descendant of King David as He promised. The Lord is still working His plan to send King Jesus through David’s descendants. Currently in the Divided Kingdom Era, the godly King Hezekiah is sitting on the throne in Judah.
We have six more days reading the psalms before we get back to the warnings from the prophets and story of King Hezekiah and his reign, so keep reading.