Brian Mashburn

June 21, 2020

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As we join back together for in person worship for the first time, I hope that you have been keeping current in our Southwest 2020 Bible Project. My experience through this Bible-reading, video-watching schedule that we have been following together has been full of surprises that have blessed my soul during this time of separation from you, and I am wishing the experience that I am having on everyone!

If you have fallen off, or even if you never started, do not fret for one second! I don't even want you to get the schedule and try to "catch up". Just take note of today's date, grab you a copy of the schedule, and begin reading right where we are in the story. We start fresh in a brand new book of the Bible starting tomorrow, so this is a perfect time to join us.

Now, if you have been keeping up, then right now, I would not blame you if you wanted to slam your Bible shut and put it back on the shelf. We just finished the book of 2 Kings, and it ends with Godís people Israel having been enslaved by Assyria, and King David's lineage - God's people Judah - enslaved in Babylon.

In a way, this is the end of the Old Testament story. It began with God's creation, continued with God wanting intimacy and oneness with humankind, and constant demonstrations of humanities lack of gratitude and utter failure. While there are individual stories of light, and good, and hope, the birds-eye view of the Old Testament story is dark, frustrating, and defeatist. How so, you ask? Well, because the story is of God trying relentlessly to give His love and life to His people, and those people endlessly running after false gods and their own selfish desires.

By the end, you can't help but feel like Israel and Judah got exactly what they deserved.

Here's the kicker - you also know that YOU are Israel and Judah.

The Old Testament story could be summed up like this:†No matter how desperately God wants us to have fullness of life with Him, we keep pursuing the wrong things.

The Old Testament story demonstrates what we know is true in our hearts: We can't do it. We can't do what we are supposed to do. We canít do enough to satisfy what God deserves. We can't do enough to get to Heaven.

If the Bible ended here with the Old Testament story, it would be tragic, and your depression as a result of reading it would be justified.

But it is not the end of the story. The news of the Old Testament is accurate, but it is not comprehensive. It demonstrates the bad news, so that we can more powerfully understand the good.

Brian Mashburn

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