Reading the Old Testament

I have been thinking about the Bible and before you say well of course you have Mike let me clarify. I have been thinking about the Old Testament and what is included. You see the OT is the historical narrative of Israel from the calling and covenant made with Abraham to the end of the exile. That is somewhere around 2000-2500 years of history give or take but the exact time is not really all that important to this discussion. The focus is that we are talking about a long time with a relatively short record. The thing I find fascinating is that in the record (the Bible) there is not as much detail as you would expect to find but that is by design. History was not recorded for the same reasons we record history. Stories were excluded or included all for a single purpose. That purpose is to reveal God.

The stories of David and Goliath, Abraham and Isaac, Sampson, Haggar, and even Creation are not there to teach you about these people with their strengths/failures or event details although they can. No instead their purpose of being placed in Scripture is to teach us about God. The Bible is the story of God telling us something of Himself. 1 John 4:19 says we love because He first loved us and that is the point. We know something about God because He revealed it to us because if God does not teach us about Himself we get false ideas about who He is and what He wants (see the tower of Babel) and if we have a false view of God we serve a false god. Seeing as God Himself commands us not to serve false gods He has to take the initiative and teach us about Himself.

So we should look at the OT and see what is God trying to teach us about Himself and not what did David do. Yes we can and should learn things from David but David is not the main character. When he dies the story goes on because the main character is God with David playing a supporting role. This applies to everything in the OT including the Law. When God gives the Law He is trying to communicate something of Himself so instead of reading it and saying “I am glad I am under grace and not Law” we should read it and say “God what are you saying about yourself in this?” This does two things that are very important.

First is puts the focus back on God. It says God you are the main character not me. Not my place my position or my desires. What are you saying about you (yes in light of Christ coming)? I am not suggesting we read it in a vacuum but He was saying something about Himself and He says he does not change. So if God was something then He is still that thing remember He exists outside space and time after all the Lamb was slain before the foundation of the world. So what was meant for learning is still good for learning. 2+2 = 4 that does not change when you learn that √(4)=2 you just have more information now. We have this idea that we are the center of the universe and I regret to inform you that you are not the center of the universe. You are of great importance to God shown in the fact that Jesus died on a cross for you but the story will continue when you die and there is a good chance that if we are all still here (people that is) no one will remember your name. So lets focus on what will remain and that is God and His Word.

The second thing it does is it starts to teach you. You might just be surprised what you find when you read with the expectation of learning something about God and doing things God’s way. I am constantly amazed what I find when I read with the desire to see Him. I go from one understanding to another one because the veil is removed and I can see things in a whole new light. I start to see certain things that I was sure meant one thing take on a whole new meaning because I understand God is trying to teach me something about Him.

I’ll end with this. God loves you. He loves you so much He gave everything to be with you. He is a caring, devoted, and compassionate Father. That has always been true and I enjoy reading things about my Dad before I knew Him.

Just a thought,

Mike

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