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Making His-Story

• Greg Boyd

Zachariah’s Song alludes to over 35 different Old Testament scriptures. With the use of phrases like “God of Israel,” “to his people,” “from our enemies,” “his servant David,” and “our father Abraham” the reader of this song should recognize how Zachariah is looking back. But he is not just looking back. He is looking back to look forward. He is using the actions of God recorded in the Old Testament as a backdrop for the even greater things God will do through Jesus Christ. With these allusions we can see how God makes His-Story, how the story of God’s dealings with Israel becomes the story of God redeeming the entire world.

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Zachariah’s Song alludes to over 35 different Old Testament scriptures. With the use of phrases like “God of Israel,” “to his people,” “from our enemies,” “his servant David,” and “our father Abraham” the reader of this song should recognize how Zachariah is looking back. But he is not just looking back. He is looking back to look forward. He is using the actions of God recorded in the Old Testament as a backdrop for the even greater things God will do through Jesus Christ. With these allusions we can see how God makes His-Story, how the story of God’s dealings with Israel becomes the story of God redeeming the entire world.

1. God is Interested in Shaping History into His-Story

Many Christians assume that the Bible is an escape from hell manual, a tool that we are to use for personal, individual salvation from hell. Such a reading misses the point. The Book of God is one that reveals His Story and how His Story reshapes history. Israel plays a unique role in this history. God’s election of Israel is not about playing favorites. God has always loved the entire world (see Acts 17:26-28). He is working to bring all people into the light, through many different cultures.

2. His-Story Is Shaped by God, not us.

God choose Israel, not because it was the holiest, strongest or brightest, but because he wanted to show that his plans don’t depend on being the holiest, strongest or brightest. Israel became an object lesson for the world. Thus the Old Testament stresses the weakness and the stubbornness of people. Even the heroes of the Old Testament like Abraham and David perform great failures.

In this history of Israel, God is preparing the way for Christ by showing that history is His Story; it is about Him, not us. This is why God condescends to doing war. It is the only language the ancient people of the Old Testament understood. The logic is this: If you trust me, I’ll fight your battles, showing the world what I can do with this little bitty rebellious nation. History (or His-Story) is not made through greatness, by focusing on self. It is made by getting mind off of self and getting it on God. Then he turns weakness into strength, defeat into victory, mourning into dancing, failures into qualifications, sorrows into joy and poverty into riches. It is not about you…it is about HIM.

3. The New Testament Completes and Transcends the Old Testament

Jesus fulfills the Old Testament theme that it is about God, not us. In Christ, we realize just how weak, helpless and desperate we truly are. When we realize that we are trapped by sin and in need of a savior, then we fulfill the theme of the entire Bible. God can move when we see the truth and ask Him to enter our struggle on our behalf.

Jesus fulfills Israel’s mission to reach the world. God originally raised up Israel to reach the world (see Gen 12:1-3). He elected them, favored them and blessed them to elect all, favor all and bless all. Israel repeatedly blew it, became self righteous, judgmental and rebellious. This did not stop God. Israel was the nation that brought forth Jesus, the Jewish Messiah who incarnates the calling of Israel. In Christ, we see God’s universal heart, not just the God of Israel.

Today, the Church, as Christ’s body, we are to manifest this Kingdom that Jesus manifested. We are to be a people of every tribe, tongue, culture and race. The church is about people coming together, not remaining divided. This is why reconciliation is so central to our calling. Manifesting diversity of the Kingdom is not marginal, optional or politically correct. It is the central point of the Bible. This is His Story, and it must be because we cannot become this kind of people without God. Our plans and ingenuity won’t get us there, only His Spirit living through us.

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Topics: Kingdom of God, Reconciliation, Salvation


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Focus Scripture:

  • Luke 1:72-73

    to show mercy to our ancestors and to remember his holy covenant, the oath he swore to our father Abraham

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