Wednesday, September 16, 2020

OT-5 God's Partnership Plan


Engaged on  Mount Lemmon, Arizona

The Big Idea: The Old Testament is the background for God's hope to bring us into partnership with Him. 

The Backstory for Salvation History

This is the last in a 5 week series on studying the Old Testament. It is not everything there is to say, but it gets you started on principles to apply it. Check out the previous blogs for more!

I have been married twenty years. Recently my husband heard something about me he never knew. When we got engaged, he told me he wanted knowing me to be a lifelong study. There is always a new layer of history, something new we learn about each other still today. Our past builds into who we are.



So it is with Salvation History in the Bible. You can know God. In fact He wants to partner with you. He has always intended to be part of our life since He walked with Adam in the garden and had Adam help him name the animals. He wants a relationship with you. He loves you can save you from the worst parts of your stubborn nasty self. It is a bit scary and yet wonderful at the same time. He knows you and still loves you. Do you strive to know Him more and more too? It is spiritually healthy to continually discover more about Him. To know Him allows us to dive deeper in love with Him, deeper into His strength for our life.

The Old Testament is a great place to learn about God and His history to know and love you. Woven into its layers is His love for humans, desiring a personal, deep friendship with each individual who wants that too. When we learn He is holy it ought to fill us with awe and wonder. Get to know the lengths He went through to make a way for that relationship. It is all there in the first Testament of the Bible. The Old Testament.



The word "Testament" can be a synonym of "Covenant." "Marriage" is also a synonym of "Covenant." A branch of Theology, the study of God, is called "Covenant Theology." It is a very beautiful concept to study through the Bible because it is about God pursuing us, desiring a relationship with us. It is also a little like someone who pursues a love relationship. 

The entire Bible, from the book of Genesis, builds on the idea of the relationship between God and mankind. It usually involves an agreement from both sides to respect the covenant, though usually God promises more and agrees to more than He expects of man.

There are four main covenants in the Old Testament, though the concept of covenant occurs over and over again, explaining more and more of how this partnership with God works.

  • The Covenant with Noah
  • The Covenant with Abraham
  • The Covenant with Israel/Moses
  • The  Covenant with King David

The final covenant that encompasses and fulfills them all is the New Covenant with Jesus in the New Testament. In fact if you are in a communion service in a church you will often hear Luke 22:20, part of the Last Supper.

"After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you." Luke 22: 20 NLT

A very helpful five minute video explains the 4 Old Testament Covenants. This is from the Bible Project.


Download a timeline of mine that inserts thoughts about the different eras of Old Testament History, with the four Old Testament Covenants made in their place in time along with comments about Salvation History. 



"Salvation History." This is another beautiful name for another category of theological study. Theology, as I wrote earlier, is the study of God. Salvation History is about following throughout the entire Bible how God has been reaching out to man, explaining and foreshadowing Jesus the Messiah, who would make perfect the necessary work to save us from ourselves and bring us into that amazing relationship with God. 

This is a great reason to study the Old Testament. It points us to Christ!

“The day is coming,” says the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah." Jeremiah 31:31 NLT

Here is a link to a webpage on how every book of the Old Testament points us to the right relationship with God through Jesus Christ in all of Scripture. It is like a big puzzle putting together what is the epitome of God's merciful and gracious plan. This is included in the introduction to a Study Bible for the English Standard Version of the Bible.



This week I met a woman for the first time at a conference at my church. We were both wearing masks. As we talked we reflected that someday we will see each other without masks. Will we recognize each other? Wearing masks during this COVID 19 period has made me think a little about mystery. This fits in perfectly when talking about Jesus in the Old Testament. There are a lot of verses in the Bible about the mysteries of God. Here is a sample.


“Can you solve the mysteries of God? Can you discover everything about the Almighty?    Job 11:7 NLT


Truly, O God of Israel, our Savior, you work in mysterious ways.    Isaiah 45:15 NLT


He reveals deep and mysterious things and knows what lies hidden in darkness, though he is surrounded by light.    Daniel 2:22 NLT

The New Testament talks more about the fulfillment of those mysteries. Again a sample of verses.


When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters,  I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan. For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. No, the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God—his plan that was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began… But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.1 Corinthians 2: 1-2, 7, 10-12 NLT


And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike. Ephesians 6: 19 NLT


Without question, this is the great mystery of our faith: Christ  was revealed in a human body and vindicated by the Spirit. He was seen by angels and announced to the nations. He was believed in throughout the world and taken to heaven in glory. I Timothy 3:16 NLT


The Bible talks about mysteries in the plural sometimes. God is so much bigger than we are and we won't fully understand until we are face to face with Him and can ask Him our questions. We don't know everything (we are not God LOL). But we do know a lot about Him and we know we can trust Him. We know He knows better than we do.

My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts, says the Lord. And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. Isaiah 55:8 NLT


Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. I Corinthians 13:12 NLT


You may have noticed in the I Corinthians 2 passage that a key feature we have available to unlocking the mysteries is the Holy Spirit. I have just touched the tip of the iceberg about God's communication to us in the Old and New Testament. 

In previous blogs I wrote about Jesus' love for the Old Testament while He lived on earth. Next I explained how God has a purpose in everything in the Old Testament including the boring parts of the Bible. I showed the different styles of writing in the Bible, and said knowing what we are reading helps us understand it better. I gave tips on studying the OldTestament. In that blog I mentioned the importance of knowing Salvation History and Covenants, and that you should ask yourself where the passage you are reading falls in the overall plan. That is why I added this blog to explain what Salvation History is.

I hope this series has been helpful and given you some concrete ways to look at the Old Testament and study it. If you don't already, I hope you fall in love with it like I have, as you walk with Jesus.

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For Reflection:

What do you think a partnership with God looks like? Do you have a relationship with God? Do you feel like it is a partnership?

What do you struggle with as a mystery of the Bible or about God? What do you want to ask Him about when you are face to face with Him?

Have you ever asked the Holy Spirit to help you study the Bible?

Has this series on the Old Testament given you a better understand of the Old Testament and more confidence to study it?

If you don't understand what I am talking about having a relationship with Almighty God or asking the Holy Spirit to guide you. I would also invite you to talk to a pastor or friend who knows Jesus well, or email me at

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