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A Drone View of the Old Testament

By Barbara Rainey

First posted on

Drones have given us ordinary people access to views only pilots and satellites once had. Recently a friend of ours took photos of our house with his drone. The images he captured show our house and yard, which from high above look tiny in the midst of the surrounding woods and forest. The view from above puts our existence in perspective. We too are tiny in the expanse of God’s world.

So studying the drone footage of the Bible brings to light the whole of God’s Word to me and to you. The elevation makes the important themes and ideas stand out. Instead of seeing the trees we see the entirety of His forest.

If you remember, last week I taught you 5-12-5-5-12 as a summary of the Old Testament? And I included in that post the summary of the entire Pentateuch in only 15 short stanzas. My goal was to highlight those pivotal moments of those crucial books. So much of everything else in the entire Old Testament and even the New Testament rests upon those beginning books. And as Jesus Himself said to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, “ … beginning with Moses and the Prophets, He interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27).

For my seminary class I’ve been composing a poem that presents a drone view of the Bible. This week I’m posting the portion covering the twelve Old Testament history books: Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther. The key concepts are in the title.

I hope you enjoy this view of the history of God’s promised nation: Israel. It’s not quite finished, but it’s good enough to share with you:

God’s Promised Nation: Conquest, Chosen, Covenant, Kingdom, Chaos

See the Land! Just ahead! Go conquer

Joshua and Caleb led with a roar.

Rahab risked faith with the scarlet cord.

How I learn from saints long before.

Law reread, the sun stood still. Yet

lives remained prone to deceive.

“Choose you,” said Joshua. “Don’t forget!”

How God looks for each one who’ll believe.

The next generation knew not the Lord.

Glimpses of faith, evil decades of gloom.

Judges arose, purged idols with the sword.

How I watch God’s hesed* refuse to consume.

A glow in the darkness, a beauty pure

dared to believe; Ruth became a dreamer.

Noble. Loyal. Her true faith did endure.

How God reveals He’s Kinsman Redeemer.

Lured by envy, Israel begged for a king.

Samuel crowned Saul who soon self-destructed.

God then chose a shepherd boy, fearless with his sling.

How I see God’s plan, unthwarted by anything.

A theme persistent: God sees not as we

Not appearance or fame, but faith God does seek.

Unseen Rahab, Ruth, and Hannah show me

How God favors hearts teachable and meek.

David, valiant for God, rescued the Ark

saw His Presence return. Dreamed a place for

God’s Name to dwell; all to laud Yahweh as King!

How I wonder. Do You God, by me, feel adored?

Another covenant, three promises bright.

A house, a throne, a kingdom without end.

But the vision tarnished, David’s sins a sore blight;

Yet God’s divine plan and hesed transcend.

King David’s empire now gone with the wind.

Man of God blinded by lust. His offspring

ruined by the consequences of sin;

How closely to my Savior must I cling.

Solomon’s loves became idols. Wise one turned

a fool. In wealth he forgot Who provided.

Three kings, three hearts, the famed trio corrupted.

How God longs to find, pure hearts, undivided.

The kingdom once whole, fractured in two

Murderous reigns led a chaotic dismember.

Though Elijah worked miracles, most forgot Who;

How I too seem so weak to remember.

In the south, good kings were rare lights

Chosen Judah, a clock winding down. Heard

Isaiah and Micah speak woe. Even in plight

God always gives hope in His word.

God’s people refused Him, the land lay ruined,

Marched off to exile, Solomon’s temple razed.

Because God is love, He disciplines His children;

How in my exiles, God is to be praised.

A trilogy of tales show God does not sleep.

Three of His own in prominent roles

Scribe, cupbearer and queen, His sheep;

How God seems silent but His hand controls.

Ezra-Nehemiah return to restore

the land; its wall and temple rebuild

guide the people to God’s ways as before;

How I Your temple by You am refilled.

An unlikely queen, an invisible hand.

“If I perish I perish,” Esther’s words well known.

An outcome incredible! God’s in command;

How God ever loves me and cares for His own.

May you see in these lines the eternal patience and love of God continually seeking His own, calling then back to Himself, and all the good He has waiting for them to enjoy, both here and forever in heaven.

May your gratitude this month be focused on His abundant gifts of love to you.

O come let us adore Him.

*The word “hesed” is Hebrew for God’s steadfast, everlasting love.


My Heart, Ever His: Prayers for Women (NEW from Barbara Rainey)

As we search for meaning in our world of shallow online relationships and glamorized selfies, many are returning to traditional and liturgical churches. The repeated words, benedictions, and historic hymns connect us to saints who have gone before, giving us a sense of belonging, richness, and transcendence. Written prayers, once cast off as archaic, are now welcomed as guides to tune our hearts to the heart of God.

In My Heart, Ever His Barbara Rainey shares 40 prayers for women. Readers can read and meditate on one prayer throughout the week or read a prayer a day for 40 days as a way to express the longing of our hearts to our Father who loves us even as he sees who we truly are. Like the psalms of David, these prayers are honest, sometimes raw. Barbara uses these transparent expressions of common female experiences to encourage us to surrender to Christ and help us see God as he is, not as we assume him to be. My Heart, Ever His provides a stepping-stone to help you become more transparent with God and discover his welcoming embrace.


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