A Christmas Puzzle: Day 4
Puzzles come in all sizes and degrees of complexity. The Christmas puzzle we will assemble this week is of the jumbo variety; big, chunky pieces and few details. But they will be enough to adequately illustrate the story we want to tell.
The first pieces represent Creation, the Garden of Eden, Satan’s temptation, Adam and Eve’s decision to disobey God and His judgment on their disobedience.
God calls righteous Noah out of a wicked world to build the ark, God’s warns that mankind must repent or be destroyed, the judgment of the flood follows humanity’s lack of interest in repentance, a universal flood destroys every living thing except for Noah’s family and representative animals from which the earth will be re-populated.
From a new world re-generated in sin, God appears to Abram a wealthy pagan who is childless, He promises that if Abram will follow Him, God will make him the father and founder of a new nation. In response to his obedience, God both blesses and protects Abram’s generations, even during 400 years as strangers in a foreign country.
God raises up Moses who will lead Abram’s offspring into a land promised them by God as their inheritance. It will be a place of blessing and bounty as long as they live in obedience to the God who has saved them. They enjoy the blessings, but over and over again, choose to rebel against His leadership. Eventually God judges His rebellious people and sends them into exile.
And finally, when their judgment is finished, they return again to their promised land: a broken people in a degraded country, living in harsh conditions under various conquerors.
Even in its severely edited version, there are some strikingly similar “pieces”: Great blessings from God, ingratitude and rebellion from mankind, judgment when sinfulness has reached its limit. Because of this many believe the God of Scripture to be similar to frustrated parent, trying one solution after another in His futile attempts to get His rebellious children to toe the line.
However, there is another way of looking at this: even a perfect environment with wise leaders, boundless opportunities—the very things that humanity has always insisted are the keys to happiness—the selfish, destructive bent of the sin nature will eventually deface and destroy all that is good.
Our little puzzle is almost finished. There is just one piece left; but only one piece is needed to complete our Christmas puzzle.