There are FIVE Books of Experience in the centre of the Old Testament Either side of those five there are seventeen books before and seventeen after Each set of 17 is in two parts, comprising 5 Major Books and 12 Minor books The 12 Minor books can also be split similarly, as 9 were written before the Captivity Of Judah and three were written after
The three sections are BOOKS OF HISTORY - Genesis- Esther BOOKS OF EXPERIENCE - Job- Song of Solomon BOOKS OF PROPHECY - Isaiah- Malachi
From the Bible Outline previous we can see that History lays the foundation for Experience and Experience is the seed bed of Prophecy
The Bible of Jesus consisted of The Law, The Psalms and the Prophets. The Psalms comprise a group of books, called after the most prominent book.
These five books, Job, Psalms Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, are mainly the work of three men, Job, David and Solomon.
They were called writings to distinguish them from the Law and the Prophets. They were also called Wisdom.
They are also called the Books of Experience, occupied with attitudes and aspirations, rather than acts. They record the inner history of the Heart and the aspirations of the soul, and so pave the way for the Prophetical books.
METHOD OF STUDY:
For the greatest profit, fullest understanding and correct interpretation of scripture, the following three ways will be pursued. Indeed any Bible study which does not follow this outline is in danger of being misinterpreted or misunderstood.
1. Historic Setting: This may involve much study and searching of sources outside the bible, but it must be remembered that this is only preparatory. Alas for many it is the sum of their study.
2. Redemptive Significance- or What does it tell me of Christ?
All scripture is related to Christ. He is the true subject of the Book. (Ps.40.) Those who treat scripture with little reference to Christ and His cross, while sometimes harmless, search in darkness, for Christ is the light of all scripture.
Not only does the general outline of the Old Testament and the history of the Jews point to Christ, but also the only justification for the characters portrayed, or the experiences of them recorded, is to bring to light the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, who said “I am the Truth”
Not only the obvious characters like Joseph, David or Jonah, but also the less significant incidences and people add further gems to His Glory.
Calvary is the junction of all God’s highways, and when we understand the Bible better we shall see that there is not a remote passage or obscure verse anywhere, which does not have a real bearing upon the Cross and the Person of Christ.
All bible truth is vital because it is Redemptive “apples of gold in pictures of silver”
3. Practical Application.
Only after we have considered the above can we safely see scripture in terms of personal application. Unfortunately many begin and end their bible readings here, but sadly so often it leads to false guidance.
It is much safer to see the Old Testament in relation to Christ. In his light we see light.
HISTORIC SETTING; First, we will consider the three writers:
JOB DAVID SOLOMON
a) The Words of Job b) The Psalms of David c)The Wisdom of Solomon
A Man of Integrity A man of Intensity A man of Insight.
His integrity was unquestioned. He was a Patriarch, Priest and Prince. He compares with Abraham and Melchizadek. He was the best of the sons of the East. No fault could be found in him. His perfection was witnessed by his wife, friends, God, and Satan himself. Though in mentioning God as one of the referees it is hardly necessary to take into consideration anyone else’s judgement. God said that Job was “perfect”. In Ezekiel 14:20 the Lord names him with Noah and Daniel. He was man of stability and patient endurance. He sits like a prince on a dunghill. He retains his dignity and faith until his vindication at the last. (Check out our study on Job)
b) DAVID .
A Man of Intensity. A shepherd, a poet, a prince and a prophet. Unlike Job his faults are apparent. They are bad blots on his record. It is wise to note that the bible declares that David kept the law of the Lord all his life except in the case of Bathsheba. He was a man after God’s own heart. If we desire to see what kind of personality within the realms of the heart- beliefs, emotions and desires, our God has, we need look no further than David. There were no half measures with David. Much like Peter, when he went down , he went down, but the coming up was just as intense. He sinned with all his heart, and repented abjectly. When sad, his sorrow took him down to Hell, when happy he danced deliriously, even to the point of making a fool of himself.
Secondly, David was a man of responsibility. Always a shepherd, caring and protecting.- against Lions, bears, giants, foes. Job is strangely personal. It is “I”, “I”, “I”. No other party is involved. David is constantly involved with people, their pleasures and their pains.
Thirdly, He is a man of Versatility. He plays many roles; minstrel, madman, rebel, runaway, fighting, fleeing. Job is almost static, with a stately princely dignity.
d) SOLOMON. A King, a writer and philosopher. A Man of Insight. He is born to wealth, greatness and glory. A man of Heredity. He was also a man of Observation. He saw every aspect of life and judged its relativities correctly. (Proverbs 24:32)
David’s wisdom came by experience like a patient has knowledge of his sickness but Solomon’s knowledge is greater, like that of the doctor, who knows more but without the knowledge of being sick.
He wrote 3000 proverbs and 5,000 songs.
IN RELATION TO CHRIST.
Job, David and Solomon reveal fresh aspects of the Prophet Priest and King, characteristics of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Job’s suffering remind us of the common experience of all Prophets – they suffered. Job himself offers some of the most amazing prophecies in the scriptures. Though he was one of the earliest men to walk the earth he prophesies on one occasion about the LAST day. (yet to come)
David was one of the people, sharing and experiencing like passions and feelings. From the early chapters in Hebrews we see that the primary meaning of Christ’s Priestly ministry was that he is one of the people, representing them and interceding for them before God. His humanity was a distinct choice. He did not take the form of an angel but “took the seed of Abraham”. David was certainly one of us, and just as certainly Jesus, in his humanity, and human experience, was one of us, yet without sin.
Solomon represents Christ’s Kingship. All his enemies had been subdued and he reigned in peace (Rom. 5:1)
In Chronological terms these three men also give us insight into;
a) in Job, the early human life of Jesus
b) in David, His cross and suffering
c) in Solomon his Resurrection, and his present and future glory.
a) JOB. The thirty years that Jesus spent in Nazareth are virtually passed over in the gospel record, but we can from this and other scriptures, (on the basis that all point to Christ) see a time of great testing and suffering. It is certain that Hell would have thrown at Jesus every temptation to sin and every possible test of his faith.
Let us then consider a little more of Job’s likeness to Jesus.
1. Integrity ; They were both perfect. They both could challenge those who knew them, “which of you convinces me of sin?” They were righteous in the true sense,- right with God and man.
2. They were both the Target of Satan. If we read only the gospels, it is more obvious that Job suffered because of Satan’s efforts. The only temptation recorded in the gospels is more to do with undermining his service for God, rather than to destroy his relationship with God.
For further insight we look to Isaiah 53. This passage is best studied under three headings;
Verses 1-4: Behold the Man (Job)
Verses 5-9: Behold the Lamb (David)
Verses 10-12: Behold your King: (Solomon) Note from verses 1-4 “As a root out of dry ground” This is a biological miracle. Nothing can grow without water. It is therefore a clear prophecy of his miraculous birth.
“As a tender plant” There never was a tenderer plant. Heaven must have held its breath as the winds and hail, slugs and snails of life’s temptations attacked this precious life. The consequences of their success are too awful to think about.
“A man of sorrows and aquainted with grief”. Bereavement, poverty, sickness, disappointment, being maligned , misunderstood, and scandalised are but a few of his likely experiences.
The Jews had written into their moral code a simple formula, which read that if you are good you are blessed and if you do evil you suffer. [Deut. 28] These verses in Isaiah show us what public opinion must have been. Seeing all the trouble he endured, they would all be reminded (if they had ever forgotten)of his dubious birth, outside of marriage. They would have regarded him as “smitten of God and afflicted.” But the same scripture notes that the conclusion we should draw is that “surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.”
We are not given any description as to what Jesus looked like, but when He was only thirty, those who referred to his age said “you are not yet fifty.” Isaiah 52 says his face was marred more than that of any man, and this chapter says that he had no beauty that we should desire him humanly. We can say therefore that he was not what we would call “good-looking”.
Significantly when Jesus preached his first sermon to those who knew him, He said he had come to heal the broken-hearted and set the captive free etc, but Jesus said “Doubtless you will say “Physician heal thyself”
One of Satan’s greatest allies to cause us to sin is Suffering. Is it not true that suffering and sickness are far easier to bear if we can think of a reason. If we break our leg playing football or climbing mountains we can take that quite philosophically. But if we suffer “innocently” we all start to question God’s motives in allowing such to happen.
It is certain that the law of God acts as a hedge around us from much trouble, but we cause our own trouble quite often by breaking down the hedge. However, very significantly Satan objected to God that Job had a protective hedge around him because of his righteousness. God in His wisdom therefore brought the hedge in ( he did not take it away) and Satan had access to certain things outside of the hedge. e.g. house, family, business. Then in the next phase of the temptation, God brought the hedge in even further so that Satan had access to his body, but God kept only a thin thread of life still within it that Satan could not touch. In the case of Jesus he took the “hedge “ away all together. “My God My God, why have you forsaken me?”
Is it of any wonder that at his baptism when these thirty years of testing were over, that God could not refrain from shouting from heaven his delight and approval of his dear son, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
The Lamb without blemish had not led a sheltered life in a monastery but in Nazareth, a sinful town, and a “place of the poor.”
“When you have tried me I shall come out like pure gold”
A further similarity shows Jesus in John 17 and Job at the end both praying for their friends.
Both walked a lonely life, and a secret life known only in the realm of the Spirit, and both were vindicated at the last.
DAVID: Likeness to Christ(shepherd) A MAN OF INTENSITY:
Within the Psalms, we see much of the inner life of Jesus. Most Psalms are shadowed by sin. Hence we see the Good Shepherd associating Himself with us in our Sin, Suffering and Sorrows.
The “hireling flees” at the approach of such things but the Good shepherd cares for His sheep. Indeed he “gives HIS LIFE for the sheep.
In the gospel record we read but only once of his prayer, but we see them in abundance in the Psalms.
Arguably David is the greatest man in the Old Testament. Almost certainly his life has more relevance to Christians today who follow Christ than any other. Time and space here does not allow a fraction of what could be written about David in relation to Christ and His church.
So our thoughts here in terms of riches available coincide with our first point to note
1. We see David and therefore Jesus in POVERTY.
“This poor man cried and the Lord heard him.”
We need never fear poverty if we see the Lord in it.
2. We see David in PERIL. We read of men plotting to kill David, and are reminded of Jesus who towards the end of His ministry visited Jerusalem secretly almost, because the chief priests and rulers of the synagogue were seeking to kill him.
However, God’s protection was upon both. James Chalmers once said “a man of God is immortal until His life’s work is done”
3. We see David’s PATIENCE. “I waited patiently for the Lord” – “Wait thou only on God”
Job is renowned for his patience although it was not evident to his friends. But when the scriptures speak of Patience they mean “Endurance”. One of the hardest lesson to learn, and it is often one of the last lessons to learn in the Christian life is to wait and be patient for God to perform what you know he has promised and is committed to do. He is definitely not in the “instant” business. Only occasionally, and usually early on in one’s walk with God, are we more likely to see instant answers.
4. We see David in PENITENCE. David’s experience in sin, "black as night" as it was, brings ultimately such great “light” that we are almost indebted that Bath Sheba proved so attractive. Psalm 51 is the balm for all sinners. The intense penitence of David’s prayer must surely be the Lord’s intercession on our behalf, for if Christ has not confessed our sin before the throne, there can be no possibility of forgiveness. “Have mercy” – “against thee only have I sinned”- “Take not your Holy Spirit from me”- “Purge me with Hysop” – “Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow”
Tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin, Jesus our great High priest, who is proud to call us his brethren, intercedes on our behalf every day. He ever lives to do so. Because he lives, we live also.
5. We see David’s Imprecetory PRAYERS. These are prayers for His enemies to be judged and subdued. David could not conquer all His enemies without God and God would only inflict judgement when it was deserved (cf. “The time of Amorites had not yet come”) People must be ripe for Judgement. David’s prayers were all answered because eventually he conquered all his enemies, subdued them and took their riches. Enough to provide 4000 tons of gold and 40,000 tons of silver for the building of the temple.
Calvary demands not only forgiveness but judgement on all the enemies of the soul such as sin, sickness and death. Satan and his hordes know that their days are numbered. Jesus now holds the keys of Death and Hell, whose gates are not strong enough to prevail against the advancement of the army of Christ - His Church.
6. We see David in PRAISE. The Praises of David are an expression of his heart; He did nothing by halves. With all his heart, with all his soul, with all his strength he praised his God.
The Book of Revelation gives us a little insight into the Joys of heaven, where Jesus is the centre of Praise. People are happy when they are praising. Have you ever noticed how easily men praise their human idols? The professional golfers are cheered and applauded with every step towards the green. Pop singers, actors entertainers, presenters all are clapped and cheered at the slightest opportunity. They are not necessarily praising their idols because they deserve it, but that man by nature enjoys the experience of lifting someone else up high and thus they identify with their glory.
There is much argument today concerning what should be the right attitude and form of worship in our churches. The “charismatic” style is heavily criticised in some quarters. But if one examines the scriptural evidence, especially in terms of David, and God’s approval of his heart, one has to admit that liberty and full expression are part of worship.
Let’s examine the evidence: Lifting up hands? Shouting praise? Clapping? Dancing? Musical Instruments?
Was David “Charismatic”? LIFTING UP HANDS Ps 28:1-2; Unto thee will I cry, O LORD my rock; be not silent to me: lest, if thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit.
Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto thee, when I lift up my hands toward thy holy oracle.
Ps 63:3-4; Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.
Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.
Ps 119:48; My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes.
Does the word here command us to do the same?
Ps 134:1-3; Behold, bless ye the LORD, all ye servants of the LORD, which by night stand in the house of the LORD.
Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the LORD.
The LORD that made heaven and earth bless thee out of Zion.
Ps 141:2; Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.
SHOUTING FOR JOY
Ps 5:11; But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.
Ps 32:11;Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.
Ps 35:27; Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.
Ps 132:9 Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness; and let thy saints shout for joy.
Ps 132:16 I will also clothe her priests with salvation: and her saints shall shout aloud for joy.
Ps 47:1; O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph.
DANCING. Ps 149:2-4; Let Israel rejoice in him that made him: let the children of Zion be joyful in their King. Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp. For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation.
Ps 150:4-6; Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.
It must be feared that many who preach about David, would not allow Him in their church if he was to come back today. May be the same would be said of the Lord. He would probably be thrown out of a good percentage of churches today.
SOLOMON IN RELATION TO CHRIST.
Solomon the King reigned in peace - The only King of Israel to do so. David had conquered all the enemies of Israel. While some would hail this as a pointer to the millenial reign of Christ, it surely illustrates our relationship with God also. The war is over between God and man. The wrath of God which is against all unrighteousness is passed since the offering for such unrighteousness was made by Christ with His own blood. He is our propitiation. Being justified by faith in Jesus we now have peace with God. Sin death and hell, our enemies have been destroyed. Sin no longer has dominion over us. He that is dead is free from sin.
Solomon reigned on David’s throne. It was never Solomon’s throne. Solomon was the Son of David. That is why Jesus was prophesied to be the Son of David.
It is not Jesus’s throne. It is His Father’s Throne, but Jesus, our elder brother, will reign on it for ever and ever. Thus the promises in the Old Testament that the throne of David will never end, are fulfilled in Christ. “Of his kingdom, there shall be no end”
If for a short while we suffer with Him, we shall also reign with Him. Suffering leads to Sovereignty.
We are now on safe ground to apply the precious lessons from these books to ourselves.
These books supply a complete survey of Spiritual Experience.
In Job we see the CONTROLLING FACTORS behind experience
In David we see the CURRENT FORMS of experience
In Solomon we see the CONSEQUENCIAL FRUITS of Experience