If the story of mankind could be condensed into a bookrack, it would contain every genre of literature we have known. Moving from left to right (as we do in the western world), from beginning to end, every human experience is found in that collection.
"In the beginning, God..." He was there to get things started. A time of beginnings, of birth and hope and discovery. It was the toddler years, when the Lord's approval was the most important part of life. Walking with Him in harmony and companionship.
Like any good story of modern day, there is sure to be a big pivotal moment, when there's no turning back. It happened when the earth was young, when a woman believed a lie and made a decision that could not be undone. In every life, in every generation, the enticing scene is played out again, with different lures. Sometimes with victory, sometimes not. Either way, it changes what happens next.
When God set into motion the plan for saving mankind after that fateful decision, it was like introducing a solution to the problem the hero had to tackle. And everything that comes between that pivotal moment and the wrap-up are the middle of the story.
Abraham's story was full of adventure and learning to trust, as he stepped out from his homeland and family into the unknown, because of the Voice.
Jacob and his family were known for acts of deceit, messy relationships, trickery and rebuttal.
Boaz and Ruth had a tender romance, simple, homey, and yet it became one of the building blocks of God's plan for all.
Moses and Esther both lived in a time of suspense, when there was a big job to do, and they were the only ones who could see it through.
David, with all his failings, all his humanity, taught us much about seeking God with all our hearts.
Prophets and priests and kings, and peasants and soldiers and statesmen, have all played a role in moving the story along.
Then came the next big pivot. God himself stepped into human history, in the form of an innocent child. And people were reminded that children, too, and be a part of the story. When He grew into a man, he demonstrated and explained all that God had been leading up to, and what He was doing in that generation, and even some of what to expect in the next era of history.
Throughout his earthly ministry, he reinforced our understanding of the plan God had set in motion. He assured his followers then, and now, that every segment of the story is still moving forward to the end he has planned.
Many writers recorded the life of the early believers, the early church. We read of the believers who contributed large amounts to make sure the infant church survived when their society imposed strict economic sanctions for their new faith. Within that story of generosity we read of at least one couple who wanted the praise, but did not want to make the sacrifice. Their attempt became a sober warning to others who would try to manipulate the work of the Spirit for their own benefit.
Other writers contributed to the story as we know it. They instructed, rebuked, corrected, and disciplined through their letters.
The story continues moving forward. There will be an end, at the appointed time, just as my human life will one day end. We don't know when that is scheduled. We love to try to put a date on it, but so far, all the predictions have only produced false hope or increased doubt.
The Word of God tells us, "'I am the Alpha and the Omega,' says the Lord God, 'who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.'” (Rev. 1:8)
In the beginning, God spoke and acted. The middle contains the stories and incidents that help us understand what has already been, and what we can look forward to.
At the end, it reads, "Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. (Rev. 22:20)
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