The Pentateuch & The Pandemic

Bible and a cup of coffee on the kitchen table | The Pentateuch & The Pandemic

Article By: Sarah Koontz

Sadness.
Fear.
Uncertainty.
Boredom.
Exhaustion.
Anger.

These are just a few of the emotions I’ve experienced in 2020.

I know that I am not alone.
I know that you feel it too.

Strange, new emotions rise up in our souls as we come to the painful realization that the future may not be all that we had hoped for.

Is this simply a storm we must weather, or is everything going to change about the way we approach life under the sun?

Emotions are a lot like a fire alarm. You don’t want to ignore them, but you can’t always trust them to deliver an accurate assessment of your true situation.

Sometimes it’s difficult to distinguish a false alarm from a fatal threat. And oftentimes, our circumstances place us somewhere in between the two. 

I believe in the value of exploring our feelings⁠—searching our souls for signals that all is not as it should be.

But I believe, even more so, in the value of searching the Scriptures for truth and direction in every circumstance. 

I have found Scripture to be a much more effective guide through the trials of life than my emotions will ever be.

Scripture is a much more effective guide through the trials of life than our emotions will ever be.Click to Tweet
The book of Genesis chapter 1 - Start at the beginning of God's story!  | The Pentateuch & The Pandemic

The Story of the Bible

The story of the Bible [1] is the story of God. It is a true story—a drama that is unfolding before our very eyes. 

The plot of the story is revealed in Genesis 1:26 where it says, “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.” 

God’s desire for man was that we would represent His rule upon the earth. 

Although Satan disrupts the story when he takes on the appearance of a serpent in the garden, we can rest assured that God will get what He desires by the end of the story (Rev 22:3-5). 

Satan’s strategy is to question the truth of God’s desire (Gen 3:1) and contradict God’s revelation (Gen 3:4). 

If Satan can get man to follow him, then man will reflect Satan’s rule and desires rather than God’s. 

Do not miss this reversal of rule! 

The story of the Bible is the story of God. It is a true story⁠—a drama that is unfolding before our very eyes.Click to Tweet
The serpent and a Bible | Understanding the reversal of rule  | The Pentateuch & The Pandemic

Satan appears as a serpent (beast) and convinces mankind that they can be their own god.

Instead of imaging and reflecting God’s character, mankind now shapes their view of God according to their own fallen image and character. 

Genesis 3:15 reveals God’s plan to redeem the story by sending a second Adam (1 Cor 15:45-49) who will not be deceived by Satan (Matt 4:1-11), but rather, will obey God and reflect God’s rule perfectly (Heb 1:3). 

The Gospel accounts of Jesus Christ are the climax of God’s story to redeem mankind and restore His rule upon the earth. 

Legally, everything changed at the cross, which was the ultimate demonstration of God’s divine mercy and love. 

And the book of Revelation reveals the end of the story, it tells us how God will achieve complete victory over Satan and restore His righteous rule upon the earth.

Biblical Christianity isn’t about living a “better” life or “being more moral,” it’s about the great work Christ has done to reestablish the divine nature, divine rule, and divine desires within the hearts of God’s people.

The gospel message is an invitation to trade in our earthly viewpoint for an eternal one—to put off our old self and put on the new (Eph 4:22-24).

It is an opportunity to take an alternate path, and choose to walk by faith rather than sight (1 Cor 5:7). 

The gospel message is an invitation to trade in our earthly viewpoint for an eternal one.Click to Tweet
Christian woman studying the Pentateuch

Why It’s Important to Study the Pentateuch

Over the past few months, I read the first seven books of the Bible and completed writing projects inspired by Genesis, Deuteronomy, and Judges.

The primary focus of my study has been on the Pentateuch and its influence on the rest of Scripture. 

The Pentateuch, or “Torah,” includes the first five books of the Old Testament.

The purpose of the Pentateuch is to reveal the character of our Creator and show us His plan to redeem and restore His creation.

Studying the Pentateuch during the pandemic has been an illuminating exercise. 

Studying the Pentateuch during the pandemic has been an illuminating exercise.Click to Tweet

The Pentateuch has reminded me of God’s power, sovereignty, and authority over all of creation. It has brought my problems into perspective and taught me to trust God with all my unknowns.

“I am God Almighty.” Gen 17:1
“I am aware of their sufferings.” Ex 3:7
“I am holy.” Lev. 11:45
“I am your portion.” Num 18:20
“I am commanding you today.” Deut 6:6

My favorite takeaway from my study of the Pentateuch is this: “God is different.”[2]

Think about that for a moment, because it’s a deeply profound statement. 

God is not like us. He does not think like us. He does not act like us. 

He is different. 

And Jesus Christ came to make us different, too!

As Christians, we are not better versions of our old selves; we are new creations, formed in the very image of God.

The old has gone, the new is here (2 Cor 5:17)!

As Christians, we are not better versions of our old selves; we are new creations, formed in the very image of God.Click to Tweet
Woman with a hand on her Bible

God is Our Comfort, Shelter, and Salvation

These are challenging times, and we are worn thin from the trials and tribulations we are currently experiencing.

But God! He faithfully goes before us and generously prepares a way for us (when we can see no way).

Isaiah 43:19 NIV says, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

God is doing a new thing right now. 

I don’t know what it is. I don’t know how it’s all going to come together. But I do know that He is actively, presently, and enduringly faithful.

God is our comfort, our shelter, and our salvation.

He is at work in this crisis. He has not left us alone; He will not stop working in our midst until the hour He returns.

Find comfort, strength, and peace in Him, friend! Draw near to the One who has promised to respond in kind (Jm 4:8). 

He is the way we get through this trial; He is the rainbow on the other side of this storm.

God is actively, presently, and enduringly faithful.Click to Tweet
The purpose of the Pentateuch is to reveal the character of our Creator and show us His plan to redeem and restore His creation. Studying the Pentateuch during the pandemic has been an illuminating exercise. The Pentateuch has reminded me of God’s power, sovereignty, and authority over all of creation. It has brought my problems into perspective and taught me to trust God with all my unknowns.

I trust that God is still at work in my life and yours. Even now, when we feel weak and vulnerable, uncertain, and altogether weary—God is with us (Heb 13:5). 

He is still mighty to save (Zeph 3:17).
He is still bearing our burdens (Ps 68:19).
He is still on the throne (Ps 47:8).

Walking with God through the trials and tribulations of our earthly existence is the only way to survive life’s storms.

His Word comforts and directs us.
His Spirit guides and protects us.

God loves you—even in the midst of a pandemic—He knows what you need. 

Be looking for small gifts of grace in this season.
Find joy in the moments that make you smile.
Rest in the love of your gracious Heavenly Father.

“Restlessness and impatience change nothing except our peace and joy. Peace does not dwell in outward things, but in the heart prepared to wait trustfully and quietly on Him who has all things safely in His hands.” – Elisabeth Elliot

FOOTNOTES:

[1] This summer, I engaged in my fifth consecutive semester of theological studies at Dallas Seminary. Although I have enjoyed all the classes I’ve taken thus far, the Bible Exposition classes are definitely my favorites. The class I took this summer was “Old Testament History,” taught by Dr. Charles Baylis. Dr. Baylis is passionate about the biblical story and has dedicated his life to the narrative and epistolary study of the Bible.   As a lover of language and literature, I was immediately intrigued by his unique approach to Bible study. For the first time in my life, I heard someone explain the story of the Bible with familiar literary terms like plot, protagonist, rising action, antagonist, conflict, and resolution. Much of what I share in this article, I learned from Dr. Baylis’ commentary and teaching.

[2] This is a statement that Dr. Baylis repeated often during our Old Testament History course.

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About the Author: Sarah Koontz

About the Author: Sarah Koontz

Sarah Koontz is the founder of Living by Design Ministries, a non-profit organization that exists to deliver free Bible Studies to inboxes around the world. She is a passionate storyteller who enjoys using illustrations to communicate deep spiritual truths. Sarah and her husband Ryan live on thirteen acres in the heart of the Black Hills, SD. They have two beautiful daughters, a rowdy flock of chickens, and a house full of foster kittens. Sarah is an avid gardener, a faithful coffee drinker, lover of one-pot-dinners, an unexpected homeschooler, and a Dallas Seminary student.

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