I have been reading tons in the Old Testament (the First Testament, the Hebrew Bible) in the last several months. I’ve always been a New Testament guy down through the years. I’ve led dozens of Bible study groups in various circumstances and they have always been about New Testament books. (Studying a book that isn’t a book of the Bible is not a Bible study; I’ve taught several of those kinds of classes, too, I guess.) Maybe once I led a short study in the Psalms of Ascent, but I’m not sure about that.
Anyway, I’ve been reading tons in the Old Testament lately and I’ve developed quite an appreciation for what I had never paid much attention to before. And I’ve learned a lot about God:
- The God of the OT is the same God as the God of the NT. Of course, I have known this before, but we can easily think of God as somehow bifurcated between the testaments. He is not. I see absolute consistency.
- God did not change character between the testaments. He was not the God of Law, then suddenly the God of Love. He was always both.
- There is a ton of God’s grace to be seen in the OT. He chose Noah, Abram, Israel, not because there was anything special about them. He chose them in gracious acts of choosing them to have a special arrangement with, to be his people.
- Furthermore, everyone he chose should have been unchosen because they were disobedient. He didn’t ask for much. He asked for loyalty, really. Just allegiance to him. None of his chosen people remained loyal. Yet he still chose them and did not throw them away. Not because they prayed the Sinner’s Prayer, but because he couldn’t bring himself to throw them away.
- He thought about throwing them away sometimes. But Moses (usually) talked him out of it. Think about that when you are praying for people.
- Jesus did not so much bring a new plan as he continued the plan God had been on since creation. God is still on that plan. In the end, creation will be like it was meant to be in the first place — like it actually was in the first place.
I suppose this list could be longer. I’m just shooting from the top of my brain and I just woke from a nap so my brain is barely working.
The OT is a barrel of fun and loads of good. If you have been ignoring it like I have for many years, I’d recommend a reverse course.
Read your Bible.