In the times of the Bible, (and in some places now) you name would be based on a word. A word with a meaning. That meaning should also reflect who you are. Sometimes in the Bible, names would be changed. An example of this would be Jacob. Jacob means holder of the heel, which kind of means deceptive (which he was). Jacob fled to escape Esau, and when he was returning, God appeared to him. Jacob quarreled with God, so God changed his name to Israel, which means he quarrels with God. My name (Malachi) means messenger of God. Malachi was also the last of the old testament prophets and most certainly a messenger of God. That’s why I picked that for my visual.
In biblical times, but also modern times, there are two types of covenants. The first type of covenant is a conditional covenant. These are like two way covenants. If one party breaks the covenant, then the other party has no reason to keep it. An example of this is the covenant between God and the Israelites on Mount Sinai. The other type of covenant is more one ended. These covenants are called unconditional covenants. A great example of this is Jesus’ love. Jesus’ love is unconditional, so no matter what we do, Jesus will always love us. This is very important to me, because, as a human (and an American), I screw up a lot, but I know that Jesus will always love and accept me. That’s why I picked that for my visual.
The story of Moses is very commonly known. The baby in the basket. The 10 plagues. The parting of the sea. But one thing we seem to forget is their slavery. Not necessarily that we forget it happened, but we forget that many Israelites died slaves. That most who didn’t were born slaves. We remember that Moses survived Pharaoh’s baby slaughter, but we forget how many died. We forget that the Israelites were slaves for at least eighty years. I feel like when we remember all of this, there freedom only becomes more significant. This can be related to our own sin filled lives also. Sin is like the Egyptians. We are the Israelites. We are all slaves to sin. Heaven is the promised land and faith in Jesus is the way to get there. To me, this is a very comforting thought. The thought that all we need to get to heaven is faith. Faith that Jesus will part the seas for us. That his cross will be used as a bridge to reach the other side. It is all in faith. That’s why that is my visual.
- Sinai Law
The Israelites were never the greatest listeners. Time after time they disobeyed the Lord. One of these times was the golden calf. So Moses was on top of mount Sinai for a really long time. The Israelites were growing tired of waiting for Moses to come. So they told Aaron, “Come make us gods who will come before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us out of Egypt, we do not know what has happened to him.” (Exodus 32: 1b) Aaron foolishly responded by giving them what they wanted: a golden calf. Well, soon enough Moses came down the mountain and found the Israelites bowing to a fake cow. Moses wasn’t very pleased by this, and neither was God. Now how do we ably this to our own lives? Well, in our lives, a golden cow could be anything. A devise, yourself, a sport, a game, another person, and the list goes on. Now all this is fine, but the problem starts when you put these this together. One rather basic math equation is that God > Everything else. For me personally, I believe that these means simply spending time with or for God. This could mean prayer, devotions, church, youth group, Sunday school, Bible class, or even filling out an exam paper on Bible. So the next time there is a free five minutes, I challenge you and myself to spend it with or for God. That’s why this is my visual.
- Sent to the Promised Land
After much sin, God punished the Israelites to forty years of wandering in the desert. The main reason for this is a result of the people of Israel not having enough faith in God to help them take what they considered a people of giants. These forty years were tough for God’s people. Not only were they trapped in the wilderness, but every one of them who was twenty or older at the time, except for Caleb and Joshua, would die wandering. My personal connection is this. There are so many times in the Torah where the Israelites needed to trust God. The wilderness, the Red Sea, the Jordan, Jericho, but we can learn from their failures and success, and learn to trust God no matter what. So that explains my visual.
- Salute to a king
Again, Israel wanted to be like the rest. Like the golden calf. This time Israel didn’t want a god, they wanted a king. A ruler that they could physically see. Samuel eventually gave in. God picked Saul from the tribe of Benjamin to be the king. The king of Israel that God wanted was a nagid, but the people of Israel all wanted a melek. A nagid was a king who ruled through love and cared deeply for his people. A melek was a king who ruled through fear and power, and cared about their people much less than a nagid would. A nagid would be a representative of God. A melek was mostly centered around being a war lord. The Israelites ended up getting the melek king Saul, until David son of Jesse took his place as king. Solomon, David’s son, followed David as king. The closest the Israelites ever got to a nagid king was probably David, or maybe Solomon. This so closely ties into our own lives, when so often we want is often not what God does. I think that everyone’s lives would be so much better if they just listened to God. So that’s my visual.
- Slide to Destruction
Israel sins a lot. Following so much sin there is usually a prophet sent by God that comes and challenges them to be better. However, these stiff-necked people normally fail to listen to the prophet. This tends to lead to exile. They get captured by another country. Eventually they get the opportunity to return to Israel, but this is also what destroyed Israel. Judah survived it though. My personal relation to this is a targeting penalty. Similar to Mr. Minkus’ red card, in football, if you make a bad decision (make helmet to helmet contact with a defenseless player) then the referee will throw a flag, you’ll lose fifteen yards, and if the targeting penalty is confirmed, you will be ejected from the game, just like Israel was exiled out of Israel. That explains my visual.
- A Savior
This world is a broken, sinful place. It’s near impossible to get through a day without sinning, whether that sin be big or small. Everywhere you look you seem to find sin. But that is exactly why Jesus died. To save us from all the broken, terrible, no good, evil sin. Something we always seem to pass off is Jesus’ resurrection after his death. We don’t realize quite how incredible that really is. Think about it from the perspective of a Jesus follower in the time of his death. Jesus is dead. You have little reason to believe that he will ever come back. To make it worse, for two days he doesn’t return, giving you even less hope. But then on the third day he does return, and how magnificent it would have been if you were lucky enough to see him in the forty days he was on Earth after his resurrection. But that’s not the end of the story. Jesus will still, one day, return to this sinful Earth, and bring heaven down with him. Jesus will bring the perfect splendor of heaven to the brokenness of Earth. How cool is that! Then there will be a new heaven and a new Earth. Like a dying fire coming back and thriving again. That is why I chose fire for my visual.