Randy Frazee teaches us that in the Bible there are two stories going on at the same time. There is the lower story which is how we see life from our perspective. Then there is the upper story which is how God sees things from his perspective. In God the Deliverer, the chronology from 1 Samuel to Malachi, the dysfunctional family of Israel is exiled, but God never abandons them. God is going to continue to bring his upper story to us in the second return of Jesus.
God wanted to be Israel’s only king, but the people wanted a human king so they could be like the surrounding nations. God allows them to select a man named Saul as their king and places his Spirit inside him to empower him. But Saul quickly fails in his mission to represent God and creates consequences in the life of Israel. So God intervenes and removes Saul from the throne.
David is anointed as king, but he will not be inaugurated as king until fourteen long years have passed of being chased by King Saul like a fugitive. God uses this difficult season to grow David’s dependency on him and shape him into the kind of man who can handle the pressures of shepherding a nation.
King Solomon is granted wisdom from God, and he makes wise decisions that are in alignment with God’s will, which blesses the nation beyond measure. But later, Solomon loses his way. He marries foreign women who worship other gods, which ultimately leads him to compromise Israel’s witness to other nations.
Unfortunate events lead to the split of the kingdom; the ten tribes in the north becoming the nation of Israel and the two tribes in the south becoming the nation of Judah. In the lower story, the nation of Israel seems to have divided because of the immature leadership of King Rehoboam. But from the upper story point of view, we learn that the division comes as a part of God’s greater plan.
God uses Assyrians to conquer, deport, and assimilate the kingdom of Israel. They are lost, never to reassemble as a nation. Overall, the kingdom of Judah is not markedly better than Israel. But God has made an unconditional covenant with David, promising the Messiah would come from David’s family in the tribe of Judah. After their Babylonian captivity, God promises they will return home and continue their part in his grand story.
The people of Judah have been taken into exile in Babylon, including a young man named Daniel. Daniel faithfully follows God during his time of exile—in spite of the risks and threats against his life—and never becomes addicted to the “diet” of the culture.
Esther, a young Jewish woman living in Persia, becomes queen around the same time a man named Haman, an Amalekite, is promoted to a position of leadership. Haman has it out for the Jews and convinces the king to sign an edict to exterminate them all on one particular day. However, through Esther’s courage, the tables are turned on Haman and he is executed.
The children of Israel return from captivity. They rebuild the temple for God’s presence to dwell and the wall around Jerusalem to protect themselves from enemies. But the most important project is the rebuilding of their lives with God. Malachi, the last person to speak in the Old Testament, foretells that the next prophet who appears will introduce the Messiah—the one who will provide the solution for our restoration with God.