The Hebrew Scriptures
Truth, scripture and revelation are three concepts that the Bible has been based on. Truth is defined as the way that things are or should be. It can relate to reality or wisdom. Truth can be communicated in a variety of ways. Literally which is facts and figures and can be shown in math and science. Figuratively which is metaphor and simile and can be shown in humanity. Symbolically in fine arts such as art, drama and music and also narratively such as stories, parables and myths. Truth can be known in the head and the heart because it communicates through reason and intuition. Meanwhile, scripture is defined as being written and taken from script. Scripture is a way for religion to permanently preserve its worth of wisdom, ways of worship and to pass traditions on intact for future generations. Finally, revelation means to reveal. It refers to the initiative of God in communicating with humans. Truth, scripture and revelation are all related because they are all forms of communication that allow us to know God’s message. They allow us to see stories and events of how people lived with God in history and set an example of how we should co-exist with God in our world today.
The Hebrew scriptures play a vital role in the revelation of God. There have been many events and stories in which God has expressed his message to people of the world. For example, there is the story of Abraham. In the city of Sodom, the people living during those times were living in very selfish and corrupt ways. God wanted them to renounce these sinful practices or else He would destroy their entire city. God ordered Abraham to find ten righteous people in order to save Sodom. In the end, Abraham failed so the city was destroyed by fire. This showed that God was serious about telling people that they needed to change. It gave them concrete proof that God would come through when He said that He demolish their city. Another example of God’s relationship with Abraham is shown when He orders Abraham to sacrifice his only son, Isaac. God wanted to test Abraham’s faith in Him and how loyal Abraham truly was. Abraham did end up taking his son to a mountain to sacrifice him but at the last minute God told Abraham to stop and sacrifice a lamb instead. This event showed that God would come through for Abraham in the end because Abraham’s faith in Him was so great. Abraham did not doubt God so in return God let Isaac live. God proved that if belief in Him was unmistakable, He would reward one for having trust in Him.
Another example from the Hebrew scriptures of God’s relationship with man is in the story of Moses. During the time of Moses, the Israelites were greatly oppressed by the Egyptians. They were forced to be slaves and were often abused by the Egyptians. Meanwhile, the daughter of the pharaoh raised Moses in an Egyptian home. Moses began to slowly realize that he was not truly an Egyptian but in reality he was a Hebrew. He began to tire of the Egyptians persecuting the Hebrews and even killed an Egyptian for this. He ran off into the desert and stayed there until the day that God ordered him to come back and free the Hebrews from slavery. Moses was reluctant to this at first because he could not speak very well. Yet, God gave him and his brother Aaron the power to communicate with the Egyptians. Moses gave the message that if they did not free the Hebrews, many great plagues would come upon Egypt. The Egyptians took this as a joke and thought that Moses was a fool for saying this. However, one by one the plagues came. They included blood turning into water, an attack of locusts and seven days of darkness. Finally, when the last plague of every first born Egyptian son being killed came, the pharaoh told the Hebrews to leave Egypt. Moses had succeeded in freeing the Hebrew people. The story of Moses shows that one does not completely have to be perfect to be seen in righteous way by God. Moses did indeed sin by killing another man but God looked past that and still chose Moses to lead His people out of Egypt. God shows that one can make mistakes but yet can still be chosen to achieve greatness.
A third example of an anecdote from the Hebrew Scriptures, which is of importance in the revelation of God’s message, is the story of Joseph. He was one the sons of Jacob along with his 12 other brothers. Joseph was often the envy of his other brothers because they had believed their father favored Joseph. In fact, they became so jealous of Joseph that they sold him into slavery to an Egyptian and told Jacob that Joseph had died. Meanwhile, Joseph had distinguished skill, which allowed him to see into the future. He was brought to the Pharaoh and soon became a prominent figure for his ability to predict the coming time. One day Joseph predicted that Egypt would have a great reign for seven years but then after, a massive famine would follow. He suggested to the Pharaoh that a tenth of all harvests would be saved so that the people of Egypt would not starve during the famine. The Pharaoh listened to Joseph and followed his orders. However, in Canaan, Joseph’s family was suffering from the famine. His brothers came to Egypt to try and fetch food for their family. Joseph soon recognized his brothers yet they did not recognize him. He wanted to put his brothers to a test to see if they had felt the least bit guilty for what they had done to him. He put them through various trials, which included landing them in jail. He listened to them carefully and he found that they had indeed felt guilty for what they had done. Later on, they began to recognize that it was Joseph and they asked if they could stay in Egypt. Joseph agreed to this and he forgave them for their actions. The message in this story is that forgiveness is a virtue that God would like to see in us. Joseph could have chosen to turn his brothers away for what they had done to him but he saw past that. He saw that they were in need and he put their needs before his own. He did not begrudge his brothers for what they had done but yet he was the better person for forgiving them. God wants us to know that revenge is not the way to solving problems but forgiveness is more righteous. He wants us to be better people and see past getting even with our enemies. In God’s point of view, the righteous person is the better person for being able to forgive rather than seeking revenge.
A final example of a key event taken from the Hebrew scriptures is the story of David. During this time, the Hebrew people were often mocked by their neighbors in surrounding lands. They often ridiculed the Hebrew beliefs and were constantly challenging their belief in a Messiah. Meanwhile, David was a shepherd boy who sang and danced for the king. Being a shepherd was considered to be an ordinary job in those times. No one would even think of David to be likely candidate to be the savior of the Hebrew people. Yet, they were proved wrong. The Israelites were challenged to a fight against the Palestinians. They would send out their top fighter, Goliath to challenge the Israelites top fighter. No one from the Israel side stepped forward until David did. He succeeded in defeating Goliath by knocking him unconscious with a sling and rock. David then killed Goliath off by beheading him. This proved David to be an unlikely hero and later went on to have an illustrious reign as the king. God’s message in this event was that one did not have to be of great strength or status to achieve greatness. He set out to prove that anyone could be a hero in His eyes. As long as one had faith in Him and themselves to be a hero, nothing else was needed. God wanted us to know that even if we were only ordinary people with normal lives, we could still be kings or queens in His point of view. He was implying that standing had nothing to do with belonging to God’s kingdom, but it was the belief in Him that would lead us there.
The teachings of the Hebrew scriptures can be understood to be eternally relevant to the world in many ways. They can relate to our lives today. For example, the story of Joseph shows how important forgiveness is to God. Many people in the world today often wish to seek out revenge on any wrongdoing that has been done to them. Joseph shows that forgiving the offender means to be the better person. His story teaches us that we should look past the crimes that have been done against us and learn to pardon our enemies actions. Also, the story of Abraham can relate to the present time because he showed us that God rewards to those who have faith and believe in Him. We should hold true to our faith in God and believe that he will come through for us even in difficult times. If we stand strong through the trials and tests that God chooses to lay upon us, He will exalt us. As well, the example of Moses is conformant to our world today because he shows that God does not condemn those who have sinned against Him. Instead, God chooses to forgive us and look beyond our mistakes. This shows that God still has respect and compassion for those who have made mistakes. Even if we have done wrongdoing, we can still be chosen to be in the Kingdom of God. Finally, the story of David explains that we can all be heroes in the eyes of God even if we are just ordinary people. As long as we believe in ourselves and have trust in God, we can still be successful. Status or strength does not matter in the point of view of God; it is compassion and love that God looks for in each of us. We can lead normal lives but yet still be a king or a queen in the eyes of God. The Hebrew Scriptures will always have a lesson for us, no matter how much our world changes and these lessons are eternally applicable to our lives.