Thursday, October 30, 2008

profaning the name of God (or a post for my Christian friends that say they are voting for Obama)

Last night I watched the 30 minute Obama commercial. I thought it was very well done. It was moving, powerful, and it made me long for a change in the world I see around me.

Obama promised healthcare for everyone so that others would not have to share his experience of watching his mother’s last days be a battle with both cancer and insurance companies. I was also moved when an old man shared about how he had to come out of retirement and work as a sales associate at Wal-mart to pay for his wife’s medication. I felt a sorrow for that old, tired husband.

Obama promised increased job security so that working men and women can provide for their families. He showed a man and woman who are doing all that they can to provide for their family, but are just barely making ends meet ever since the woman lost her job and the man’s hours were reduced.

Obama promised to end the war and employ a diplomacy that would promote peace across the globe. Who wouldn’t want that?

Obama promised to lower taxes for those who make under $200,000. He said this was to lift the financial burden that people find themselves under. They showed a woman who reflected on how each time she goes to the grocery she has to determine if she can afford a whole gallon of milk.

As Obama spoke he conveyed confidence, strength, and a certain freshness.

Last Thursday I voted. I did not vote for Obama. And let me say, I do not believe that an informed voter who claims Christ as Lord should vote for Barack Obama.

I believe this for one reason and one reason only. Obama supports abortion and infanticide.

Some evidence:
- from
- from Robert P. George the Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University
- you could also check out this video interview
- or spend some time looking around the site hosting the Freedom of Choice Act

The reason I let this one single issue affect my view of the candidates is because I believe that I should be committed to the work of the Kingdom of God. I believe that I should desire that which God Himself desires.

I do believe that Obama shares God’s desire for an end to death from disease. I also believe that Obama shares God’s desire to see an end put to the greed of health insurance companies.

Obama seems to share God’s desire for a person to not have to worry about job security or how to provide for one’s family.

God and Obama desire peace on earth and an end to war, violence, aggression, and death.

Obama seems to share God’s desire for freedom from oppressive governments and the worry and strain they put on day to day life.

In each of these things I think Obama expresses, to a certain degree, a sincere desire to work towards these ideals of the Kingdom of God.

But what Obama has neglected to recognize is that God desires life, not death, for all people.

When pharaoh systematically began to murder those infants who posed a threat to him, God acted against pharaoh. As the people of God wailed over the slaughter of their sons, God heard from heaven and sent judgment down on the king of Egypt.

When the people of Canaan continued to place their infants in the fiery hands of their god Molech, Yahweh sent Joshua and His army to annihilate them.

When Herod began to murder the infants of his people, God called Joseph to leave the comforts of home and the security of his job to go to Egypt until Herod faced judgment.

The biblical pattern evidences that it is never right for people, whether pagan or God-fearing, whether citizen or national authority, to choose convenience or comfort over an infant’s right to life.

Again and again in Scripture the leaders who choose to eliminate the lives of infants are the leaders who are presented as doing the very work of the demons.

For this reason I do not believe that there is biblical merit to say that we should sell the lives of children in exchange for a promise of better healthcare, increased job security, and a new diplomacy.

As an American, I think you should not vote for Obama on account of the Enlightenment ideals found in the words of the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

As a Christian, I believe you must not vote for Obama on account of the words of our God who said, “That which you have done unto the least of these, you have done unto me.”

“You shall not give any of your children to make them pass through the fire to Molech, and so profane the name of God: I am the LORD.”
Leviticus 18:21

Some quotes from two others who have made an impact in the way I think:

Russell Moore: “And isn't it true that everywhere throughout Scripture and the history of the world there is present a hostility towards life and particularly towards children? This is because the serpent sees what many of us fail to see in the birth of children--blessing, and life. The serpent sees in the birth of children the kind of dependent faith that Jesus says images the Kingdom of God. Most of all, the serpent sees among "the least of these" the brothers and sisters of our Lord Jesus. Today is no different. There is, yet again, hostility coming towards human babies, and it is happening in exactly the same way--by the Prince of the Power of the Air exciting evil passions. Satan uses Pharaoh's lust for military stability that says, "I don't want another king," in exactly the same way he uses a Southern Baptist deacon's lust to maintain his reputation to load his teenage daughter into a car and drive her under the dark of night to a clinic in a nearby city so no one will ever know she was ever pregnant. The blood of children flows”
(see the full article)

Chip Baggett: Americans, whether Republican or Democrat, are looking for a savior. The world around us is broken by sin and desperately needs restoration. However, looking to presidential candidates is not the solution. These men are not able to bring world peace, combat the aids epidemic, or end world-wide hunger. We need to look to One who is greater that Barak Obama and John McCain. We need to look to One who can not only heal our physical needs, but heal our spiritual needs as well. Jesus Christ is the one true Savior of the World!
(see the full article)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

redeem the time...

"Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil."

These words from Ephesians 5:15-16 have been on my mind since about mid-morning. They came to my memory as I tried to deal with the sadness I felt as a result of reading about my friend Andrew's past weekend.

It is a reminder to me that I must not waste my life. The world is broken. The Kingdom of God will fix it. The Gospel must go forward so that we might hasten "the coming of the day of the Lord" (2 Peter 3:11-13).

There is a coming day when young people will explore the created order in joy and excitement without the threat of harm. There is a coming day when young men will race forward to the waterfall at the end of the canyon and dive into its waters without the risk of not coming up again. There is a coming day when men will not scream in terror for fear that they may have lost a brother.

There will be no more wailing.

No more crying out to God in despair.

No more fear of death.

No more pain.

No more sorrow.

We are told that the day will come soon. If often feels as though it cannot come soon enough. Yet we know the Lord tarries in order that the Gospel may go forth.

"Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil."

Friday, October 24, 2008

nc state fair

Yesterday Jeremy and I went to the fair. It was a great day.

A couple of the things I liked:

  • The food I ate – Cajun chicken sandwich, corndog, fries, fried snickers, fried mac and cheese (I don’t know how they did it, but they did, and it was so good), slurpie, cotton candy, footlong hot dog, turkey leg, and various samples of NC produce...
  • The exhibits - there was a huge pumpkin
  • The shows – we worked our way around the crowd to be right there next to the track for the pig races
  • The people – from the lady that told me where to put my canned food items for free admission, to the man that chased me down to ask me if I was Jewish, to the man with a mustache that nominated the girl Jeremy ran into from college to be the hog queen of the night...

All in all, a good day. The multitude of people there was reminder that we are supposed to enjoy life. The groups of friends, the families, and the numerous couples reminded me that people crave company.

And the signs, flying balloons, and food stands were a reminder that anything can be deep fried.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Today Gina (I work with her in the office) expressed a desire to know how to start a blog. This was because she felt like blogging about me hitting a deer in my new truck would be appropriate retribution for this post. Yeah, I hit a deer in my new truck. I’m alright. The truck is ok, but not great. It happened on US 1. I was on my way back from class. The irony is that I chose to take US 1 over the shorter NC 561 route because I figured I would be less likely to hit a deer...

I guess this is another instance of creation groaning. That buck no doubt did some groaning and so have I...

It did remind me of something I read in A Severe Mercy: "Over-valued possessions, we decided, were a burden, possessing their owners... This idea of the burden of possessions we held to - and years later when we got our first glossy new car, we hit it severely with a hammer to make it comfortably dented." By the way, this memoir by Vanauken is a great read. You will never look at falling in love with a girl the same after reading it.

storyline of scripture outline

I. Benefit of knowing the Storyline of Scripture

II. Scripture is about Christ

III. Creation

IV. Fall

V. Redemption

VI. New Creation

VII. Summary

VIII. Posts Concerning Application:
- Creation (the English countryside)

- Fall (evil and suffering)

- Redemption

- New Creation (also here)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

some passages about Glory (about N.C.)

If you were to look through my Bible you would see that there are several places where "about N.C." shows up in the margins. I put this next to verses about the New Creation. If you know me you probably know that I love North Carolina, and I confess that I often think about how awesome NC is going to be in Glory when I read Scriptures about the redeemed universe. It is going to be even better than it already is...

So, here are some passages that would be a great place to start learning more about the hope that has been promised us. The new heavens and the new earth are to be given to Christ as an inheritance. And the crazy thing is that the Spirit tells us that we are co-heirs with Christ.

So, read these passages. If you aren't going to read them now, write them down so that you don't forget. It's worth the time.

Genesis 1-2
Isaiah 11:6-9; 60; 65:17-25; 66:22-23
Matthew 5:5
Mark 12:25-27
John 14:2-4
Romans 8:18-25
1 Corinthians 6:3; 15:35-49
Hebrews 1:11-12; 12:26-27
2 Peter 3:13
1 John 3:2
Revelation 21-22

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

the storyline of scripture, pt 8 (or In Summary...)

God created the world and placed man in His creation to enjoy it and rule over it. The created order was in a state of peace and order. Man had the opportunity to choose continued life, goodness, beauty, and harmony. Or, he could choose to rebel against life. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve chose death, evil, ugliness, and painful separation.

Though death is an inevitable consequence of rejecting life, God was gracious. Death did not come immediately. God delayed the consequences of rebellion and promised to send One who would deliver not only the race of man, but the whole creation, from the fallen state in which it had entered.

The chosen One of God, the Christ, was promised, but it was years before He came. Yet, even in those years redemption was given to those who looked forward in faith to the promised deliverer.

When Jesus condescended from the heavens He fulfilled the promises of God. He was the chosen and promised One. He came as man and as God to take upon Himself the death, evil, ugliness, and painful separation that man had chosen in the Garden of Eden. In doing so, He took the pain and the curse belonging to the old race of man, and the old creation, upon Himself.

When He was resurrected three days later, He was resurrected to a human existence of life, goodness, beauty, and harmony. Redemption had come and He proved what He had claimed all along. “The old is passing away, and the new has come.”

Those who are “in Christ” are born again by the Spirit of God and belong to the new created order. The new race of man is charged with the task of spreading the good news (Gospel) of the Redeemer to those who are still choosing death that they might turn and be redeemed.

There is a coming day when the old creation and the old race of man shall burn up. In that day, the new heavens and the new earth will be joined together in a state where there is nothing but life, goodness, beauty, and harmony in the presence of God.

This is the Gospel and the storyline of Scripture.

Campus Ministries and the Church

In the past weeks I have had a couple of conversations with some friends about the relationship of campus ministries to the church.

I read today an article by one of my former professors that articulates pretty well what I have tried to communicate to some of my friends. It is found here: .

Even if you are not that interested in the discussion, there is a great paragraph about the identity of the church that I think is worth reading.

Monday, October 13, 2008

glimpses of glory... (or Hastening the Day, the MU, Time, Work, and Sex in Heaven?)

I was looking through my journal the other day and I saw an entry from about two years ago. I wrote: “Friday night in the MU – a glimpse of glory.” Now, if anyone has seen the MU, you probably know why that is a statement that has probably been uttered on few occasions regarding the Mobile Unit which houses the guys staff at Camp Willow Run. And certainly, the condition of the MU (particulary the bathroom) is more often a reminder of the Fall than the Glory that is to come. However, on that particular Friday I had been reunited with old friends. We spent the evening throwing Frisbee, eating, talking, and just hanging out. As I lay in bed that night, I was reflecting on the pleasure of good company. And as I lay on the stiff mattress in the frigid (thermostat: 62) MU with 5 other guys, it occurred to me that the contentment that I was feeling in that moment was but a glimpse of what was to come.

I used to be scared of going to heaven. It sounded boring. I know that God is going to be in heaven, so I felt kind of bad for thinking that His heaven sounded boring. But, that’s what I thought.

I have come to realize that there are a number of misconceptions about how we will spend eternity in Glory. I believe this stems from a misunderstanding of the nature of worship. We rightly understand that we will spend the coming aeons worshiping God. We wrongly understand what worship means (or at least I have). For too long I thought of worship as the singing part of church. Thus, I (wrongly) envisioned heaven being an eternity of singing to God. This always sounded extremely boring, and for thinking that, I was ashamed. But, I was wrong to think of worship in that way. Likewise, I was wrong to think of eternal splendor that way.

Glimpse #1: Worship
Scripture teaches that life is meant to be lived as worship to God (Psalm 51:17; Romans 12:1; Colossians 3:17). From this, as well as other passages in Scripture, I think we see that the worship of God in Glory will be a worship of a life lived to the praise of His name. Certainly that will include singing at times, but I think there will be a lot more to it.

Glimpse #2: Seeds
There is another thing that I believe feeds misconceptions about Glory. I think people forget that the universe is going to be reborn. They imagine eternity taking place in the clouds or some ethereal place. However, Scripture gives the picture that most of eternity will happen in the redeemed universe. I think that if more people thought about this, it would change their view of Glory. The world we see now is fallen and subjected to futility and decay. It contains remnants of what it once was. It also contains glimpses of what it will one day be. I say “glimpse” because the Spirit says that what we see is comparable to what is to come in the same way that a seed is comparable to the plant that springs forth (1 Corinthians 15:35-41). This world is the kernel; the New Creation is the rose (or the oak, or the willow tree, or the whatever...).

Glimpse #3: Eden
In Scripture, Eden gives us a glimpse of Glory. There will be harmony and peace in the created order. There will be perfect stability in creation. Man will properly exercise dominion over the earth. The wolf shall dwell with the lamb and “the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den” (Isaiah 11:6-10). And look, I just saw Bear Grylls eat an adder and it didn’t look like something that a child should put his hand over...

Glimpse #4: Jesus doing crazy stuff in the Gospels
Christ, in the Gospels, gives us a glimpse of Glory. There will be a healing of sickness and disease and we shall feast (Matthew 14:13-21; Revelation 19:6-9). Christ exerted a control over creation as He could calm the storm and walk on water. Peter got to experience the coming day of the New Creation when he stepped out of the boat onto the waves. In that moment, Peter got a taste of what it will be like to see Him and be made like Him (1 John 3:2). Christ, in His resurrected body (which we too shall one day have) ate, passed through walls, disappeared and reappeared, and flew (maybe He merely ascended...). I see all of these things as pictures of what is to come.

Glimpse #5: Time flies (or drags on)
I think that our experience of time gives us a glimpse. When things are going well, time seems to pass quickly. It feels as though it escapes us. This points to our innate desire to experience goodness without end. Conversely, when things are going poorly, time seems to drag on. This points to our innate desire to experience only goodness. In Glory, the expression “time flies” will lose its meaning. We will never have to fearfully check our watches to see if we are out of time. We will never agonizingly glance at the clock and realize that we have to endure more time of boredom or pain. One day we will experience the good of life without the worry of when it will end.

Glimpse #6: Work
Alright, this here is a perhaps a bit of speculation, but I think we will work in Glory. In Eden people were meant to work even before the Fall. With the Fall came toil and hardship. Toil in labor, not work itself, is a result of the curse. I think that there are even glimpses of this here in this life. Work can be satisfying at times. Many people fear idleness, and those who prefer laziness are typically looked down upon. There is a general sense that work is a good thing – you just have to find what you enjoy. We also see in Scripture that we will rule the created order and will even judge the angels (1 Corinthians 6:3). It is also evident that the best aspects of every culture and civilization will be represented in the New Creation (Revelation 21:24-26). In light of these things I do think that we will work in Glory. But it won’t be the sort of work that is described as toil or agony.

Glimpse #7: Pleasure & Contentment
Finally, I think any genuine pleasure that we experience is a glimpse of glory. On several occasions guys from the past few summers at CWR have asked me about what sort of things I think there will be in Glory. Will there be sex, or fishing, or wine, or dancing, etc. ? While I do think that there are some things that we can confidently say will be a part of eternity (since Scripture names some things explicitly) I am reluctant to say specifically what the experience will be like. However, I can say that whatever we do or have has to be at least as good as the best pleasure on earth. Will there be sex or candy in heaven? Whatever there is, it has to be at least as good as sex and candy. The pleasure of heaven has to be at least as good as the pleasure derived from fishing, or wine, or dancing. We know this because that which is to come is greater than that which currently is.

So, what does this mean for us now? “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the elements will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the elements will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:10-13).

How do we hasten the day? We spread the Kingdom of God. We share the Gospel, the storyline of Scripture, and set hearts on fire (Luke 24:32) by the Word of God as people turn towards the Christ.

Friday, October 10, 2008

the storyline of scripture, pt 7

“Behold, I am making all things new.”
- Jesus in Revelation 21:5

Yesterday, when I walked from my baggage car over to the office (it takes me about 15 seconds to get to work), one of the ladies who works there, Gina, was struggling to get the door open. She had several things she was trying to carry inside that she had to set down to unlock the door. As she attempted to gather all of her items back up in her arms I realized that she seemed to be a bit distraught. I got in the office just as she was setting all of her things down. When she turned from the counter and I could see her face it was clear to me that she was upset about something. I did not have to ask for an explanation because she quickly informed me why she was distressed. On her way to work she ran over a squirrel in the camp driveway. She told me that the squirrel darted one way and then darted the other, seemingly incapable of making up its mind. As she looked in the rearview mirror she saw lying in the road what she hoped was a stick. Unable to tell if the squirrel had made it, she turned around to see what the object was in the middle of the road. Alas, it was the poor squirrel that she had just run over. Gina was upset, and while I kind of wanted to laugh at how worked up she was, I refrained. As she asked Rodney to remove it from the road so that she wouldn’t have to see it, I was reminded of Scripture. I figured it wouldn’t be inappropriate to share, so I turned to her and said, “Gina, all of creation is groaning with longing, waiting for the revelation of the sons of God. One day, this won’t happen anymore.”

The fourth, and final, plot movement in the storyline of Scripture is that of the New Creation. Redemption’s end is everything made right. The end of the world is not chaos and destruction – it is rebirth and newness in perfection. The salvation of the cross of Christ has made possible redemption for not only man, but for the entire cosmos.

When I speak of the New Creation I am speaking of that which God will make in the days to come. He has promised that all is seen shall be remade into something even more glorious than it was even in the days of Eden (Romans 8:19-23; 1 Corinthians 15:37-41). The idea of the New Creation is closely related to the idea of the Kingdom of God. The two are connected. The Kingdom refers to God’s rule in the hearts of men through Christ. The New Creation is the redemption that is experienced in the whole of the universe as the Kingdom of God spreads. For now, the Kingdom and the New Creation is primarily seen in changed lives of people and in the communities that they form (the Church). But one day, that same redemption that will be made complete among people shall make everything that we see, and know, into something new and glorious. I like to refer to that something glorious as “Glory.” Thus, I occasionally use the phrases “I’ll see you in Glory” and “it’s a glimpse of Glory.” I think I will write another post about glimpses of Glory...

This idea that we experience Glory now in part, but will one day experience it in full, should not be an idea that seems too foreign to us. It is the same idea that we are conveying when we talk about the distinction between sanctification and glorification in the life of a believer. Sanctification is the idea that we are being made holy in a process, but are not yet fully holy. Glorification is the notion that one day we will be made fully holy – at that point sanctification is complete. The same idea applies to the universe that we see. It is not yet freed from bondage, decay, and futility. But the event of the cross has already set into motion the events that will bring about the freedom of creation so that it may experience the glory of the sons of God (Romans 8:19-23). When that happens heaven will come down and be made new and joined together with the material world that we see (Revelation 21:1-2).

The part of the story about the New Creation shouldn’t be forgotten. It needs to be told. It is our future and our hope. It is the promise that the pain we see and feel won’t always be here. It is the promise that our tears will be turned to laughter. It is the declaration that we will be joined together with the people of God. It is the guarantee that we will once again join our God for a walk in the cool of the morning. It is the end and purpose for which Christ died. It is the reaping of the harvest of which Christ’s resurrection was the firstfruits.

It is the day when Gina will kill no more squirrels...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

the storyline of scripture, pt. 6c

“We have found him of whom Moses in the Law
and also the prophets wrote,
Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
John 1:45

This is the part of the storyline of Scripture that is most clearly about Christ.

Redemption comes through Christ. It is brought about by Christ. It is found in Christ. The proclamation of the Gospel is the proclamation of redemption in Christ.

Romans 3:23-25 – “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood to be received by faith.”

Man’s rebellion in the Fall incurred the just wrath of God. God in His grace has delayed taking care of the problem of evil caused by man. But now, through the cross, the problem is solved. In dying on the cross Christ appeased God’s wrath, but also made possible His gracious offer of redemption. Reconciliation is now possible. When one places his faith in Christ he is trusting that God has taken care of sin and death and made it possible to belong to a new race of man. A race that comes from the second, and last, Adam (who is Christ).

There is a great deal that could be and has been written about the redemption found in Christ. My main purpose here is to make the point that redemption is found in Christ alone. It is the salvation that He has made possible of which the prophets of old spoke. So, when one considers the storyline of Scripture it is important to see that the third plot movement, Redemption, is the part of the story about how Jesus saves fallen man from sin and death.

It is also significant to note that corresponding to Redemption, as it is found in Christ, is the beginnings of the next plot movement in the story: New Creation. With the coming of Christ came the inauguration (beginnings of) the Kingdom of God. More on this to come...

From John Chrysostom (my favorite Archbishop of Constantinople) in his Homily on Matthew 26:
For the cross destroyed the enmity of God towards man, brought about the reconciliation, made the earth Heaven, associated men with angels, pulled down the citadel of death, unstrung the force of the devil, extinguished the power of sin, delivered the world from error, brought back the truth, expelled the Demons, destroyed temples, overturned altars, suppressed the sacrificial offering, implanted virtue, founded the Churches. The cross is the will of the Father, the glory of the Son, the rejoicing of the Spirit, the boast of Paul, "for," he says, "God forbid that I should boast save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." The cross is that which is brighter than the sun, more brilliant than the sunbeam: for when the sun is darkened then the cross shines brightly: and the sun is darkened not because it is extinguished, but because it is overpowered by the brilliancy of the cross. The cross has broken our bond, it has made the prison of death ineffectual, it is the demonstration of the love of God. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that every one who believes in Him should not perish." And again Paul says "If being enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son." The cross is the impregnable wall, the invulnerable shield, the safeguard of the rich, the resource of the poor, the defence of those who are exposed to snares, the armour of those who are attacked, the means of suppressing passion, and of acquiring virtue, the wonderful and marvellous sign. "For this generation seeks after a sign: and no sign shall be given it save the sign of Jonas;" and again Paul says, "for the Jews ask for a sign and the Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified." The cross opened Paradise, it brought in the robber, it conducted into the kingdom of Heaven the race of man which was about to perish, and was not worthy even of earth. So great are the benefits which have sprung and do spring from the cross.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Read the OT

I think an increased familiarity with the Old Testament will result in a better understanding of the New Testament. As far as time goes, a great chunk of the storyline of Scripture is spent in the OT.

The following chapters are passages of Scripture that I think are a good place to begin if you are trying to grow in your understanding of the Old Testament. While, certainly all of Scripture is important, some parts are more important than others. The chapters listed below are chapters that I see as key to understanding how God was working for redemption in the OT. So, if you are not familiar with them, I would encourage you to start with these chapters are you seek to grow in your understanding of the OT.

Genesis 1-3
Genesis 12-15
Exodus 12-14
Exodus 19-24
2 Samuel 7
Psalm 2, 89, 132
Isaiah 11
Isaiah 40-66
Jeremiah 30-33 (especially 31)
Ezekiel 36-37

Thursday, October 2, 2008

the storyline of scripture, pt. 6b (or Why Abraham Almost Killed Isaac)

“God ordered Abraham to make a burnt offering of his longed-for son. Abraham built an altar, put firewood upon it, and trussed Isaac up on top of the wood. His murdering knife was already in his hand when an angel dramatically intervened with the news of a last-minute change of plan: God was only joking after all, ‘tempting’ Abraham, and testing his faith. A modern moralist cannot help but wonder how a child could ever recover from such a psychological trauma. By the standards of modern morality, this disgraceful story is an example simultaneously of child abuse, bullying in two asymmetrical power relationships, and the first recorded use of the Nuremberg defence: ‘I was only obeying orders.’ Yet the legend is one of the foundational myths of all three monotheistic religions.”
- Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion

“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, ‘Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.’ He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead.”
- Hebrews 11:17-19

Redemption in the storyline of Scripture first shows up immediately after the Fall. In the Garden of Eden Yahweh told Satan and Adam and Eve that one would come who would deliver the human race. There was a promised seed/offspring who would crush the head of the enemy (Genesis 3:15). Redemption was promised and redemption would come through a man born from a woman.

What did the devil do in response? He eliminated the first two candidates to be the seed. Abel was murdered and Cain was cursed. (Genesis 4)

As the human race grew the serpent of old sent his minions to corrupt the flesh of man (Genesis 6:1-4). If man no longer existed as man, but only as Nephilim, then the promised seed could not come. Yet men looked for the deliverer to come. Lamech believed his son, Noah, was the promised seed (Genesis 5:28-29). But Noah wasn’t. He was, however, the means by which man was delivered from the Flood. The Flood was judgment, but it was also a means of preserving man for redemption. God bound the demons that went after the flesh of man to corrupt it. They are now kept “in eternal chains under gloomy darkness” in Tartarus where they wait for the judgment reserved for them in the final day (1 Peter 3:19-20; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6-7).

As you continue through the Old Testament you see that the stories continues in much the same way. Just as soon as God reveals a little more information about the Promised Seed who would redeem, we see that the devil tries to prevent such things:
So, He will come from Abraham through Sarah? Well, then may Abraham sleep with Hagar.

He will come through Abraham through Sarah in the next year? Then may Abimelech or Pharaoh get her pregnant in the next 6 months.

So, He will come through Isaac’s son Jacob? Then may Esau try to kill Jacob.

So, He will come through the people of Israel? Then may they be enslaved and murdered by Pharaoh.

If they are delivered from Egypt and declared to be the chosen people through whom redemption is to come, then may they turn from Yahweh and worship the calf.

If He is to come in the Promised Land then may the people be too afraid to enter in.

If He is to come through David, then may David be a murderer and an adulterer deserving of the death penalty.

If He is to be the Son of David then may David’s sons fight and kill one another.

If He is to come through Solomon, but is to belong to the nation of Israel, then may Solomon seek after hundreds of women from foreign nations.

If He is to come through Israel and the nation of Judah, may they be annihilated by foreign powers and assimilated into foreign peoples.

And on, and on, and on... The devil has sought to prevent the promised seed from coming. Yet, the Lord always delivered. And as Yahweh continued to deliver man he revealed more and more about what the One who was to come would look like. If the people would trust God in faith that He would one day deliver them, they were saved. God delayed judgment on those who trusted Him until Christ came.

This is why the Spirit has said through Paul, “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it – the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe... This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Roman 3:21-26)

When reading the Old Testament it is important to see that God was preparing the way for Christ. Everything that happened in the Old Testament had to happen for Christ to come (Ephesians 1:10). Everything that happened in the Old Testament was to teach us about what sort of redemption was coming in Christ (John 1:45; Luke 24:25-27,44). In the OT redemption through Christ is promised, foretold, and foreshadowed through words, people, and events. Understanding this is a big step in understanding the Old Testament and its place in the storyline of Scripture.