As an immature believer, I questioned why studying the Old Testament was necessary. After all…
Aren’t we living under a better covenant?
Shouldn’t the study of Jesus be our primary focus?
What do the people of the Old Testament have to teach me that can’t be learned from the people in the New Testament?
Doesn’t this make the Old Testament obsolete?
Boy was I wrong!
The Old Testament (OT) compared to the New Testament (NT):
39 to 27 books
929 to 269 chapters
23,145 to 7,957 verses
602,585 to 180,552 words
Granted. Some of the Old Testament no longer is applicable thanks to the atoning sacrifice of Jesus.
The whole council of God is beneficial for your personal and spiritual transformation. Something Paul emphasized to the elders of the church at Ephesus.
“I know that none of you to whom I have preached the Kingdom will ever see me again. I declare today that I have been faithful. If anyone suffers eternal death, it’s not my fault. For I didn’t shrink from declaring all that God wants you to know.
So guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock— His Church. Purchased with His own blood. Over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as leaders.
I know that false teachers, like vicious wolves, will come in among you after I leave. Not sparing the flock. Even some men from your own group will rise up and distort the truth in order to draw a following. Watch out!” Acts 20:25-31
One of the things I look forward to on the other side of eternity is meeting the men and women of the OT. Imperfect individuals memorialized by Papa. Men and women who experienced…
dysfunctional homes and relationships
despair and hopelessness
Just like many today!
Women and men who walked by faith even though the Holy Spirit did not live in them. Yes, He would rest upon them from time to time but never resided in them 24-7.
The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see.
The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors. Set them above the crowd.
By faith, we see the world called into existence by God’s word. What we see created by what we don’t see.
By an act of faith, Abel brought a better sacrifice to God than Cain. It was what he believed, not what he brought, that made the difference. That’s what God noticed and approved as righteous. After all these centuries, that belief continues to catch our notice.
By an act of faith, Enoch skipped death completely. They looked all over and couldn’t find him because God had taken him. We know on the basis of reliable testimony that before he was taken he pleased God.
It’s impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that He exists, and that He cares enough to respond to those who seek Him.
By faith, Noah built a ship in the middle of dry land. He was warned about something he couldn’t see and acted on what he was told. The result? His family was saved. His act of faith drew a sharp line between the evil of the unbelieving world and the rightness of the believing world. As a result, Noah became intimate with God.
By an act of faith, Abraham said yes to God’s call to travel to an unknown place that would become his home. When he left he had no idea where he was going. By an act of faith he lived in the country promised him. Lived as a stranger camping in tents. Isaac and Jacob did the same. Living under the same promise. Abraham did it by keeping his eye on an unseen city with real, eternal foundations. The City designed and built by God.
By faith barren Sarah was able to become pregnant, old woman as she was at the time. She believed the One who made a promise would do what He said. That’s how it happened that from one man’s dead and shriveled loins. There are now people numbering into the millions.
Each one of these people of faith died not yet having in hand what was promised but still believing. How did they do it? They saw it way off in the distance. Waved their greeting. Accepted the fact that they were transients in this world. People who live this way make it plain that they are looking for their true home. If they were homesick for the old country, they could have gone back any time they wanted. But they were after a far better country than that— heaven country. You can see why God is so proud of them, and has a City waiting for them.
By faith, Abraham, at the time of testing, offered Isaac back to God. Acting in faith, he was as ready to return the promised son, his only son, as he had been to receive him. This after he had already been told, “Your descendants shall come from Isaac.” Abraham figured that if God wanted to, He could raise the dead. In a sense, that’s what happened when he received Isaac back, alive from off the altar.
By an act of faith, Isaac reached into the future as he blessed Jacob and Esau.
By an act of faith, Jacob on his deathbed blessed each of Joseph’s sons in turn. Blessing them with God’s blessing, not his own— as he bowed worshipfully upon his staff.
By an act of faith, Joseph, while dying, prophesied the exodus of Israel and made arrangements for his own burial
By an act of faith, Moses’ parents hid him away for three months after his birth. They saw the child’s beauty, and they braved the king’s decree.
By faith Moses, when grown, refused the privileges of the Egyptian royal house. He chose a hard life with God’s people rather than an opportunistic soft life of sin with the oppressors. He valued suffering in the Messiah’s camp far greater than Egyptian wealth because he was looking ahead. Anticipating the payoff. By an act of faith, he turned his heel on Egypt, indifferent to the king’s blind rage. He had his eye on the One no eye can see and kept right on going. By an act of faith he kept the Passover Feast and sprinkled Passover blood on each house so that the destroyer of the firstborn wouldn’t touch them.
By an act of faith Israel walked through the Red Sea on dry ground. The Egyptians tried it and drowned.
By faith the Israelites marched around the walls of Jericho for seven days, and the walls fell flat.
By an act of faith, Rahab, the Jericho harlot, welcomed the spies and escaped the destruction that came on those who refused to trust God.
I could go on and on, but I’ve run out of time. There are so many more— Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, the prophets. Through acts of faith, they toppled kingdoms. Made justice work. Took the promises for themselves. They were protected from lions, fires and sword thrusts. Turned disadvantage to advantage. Won battles. Routed alien armies. Women received their loved ones back from the dead. There were those who under torture refused to give in and go free. Preferring something better— resurrection. Others braved abuse and whips, and yes, chains and dungeons. We have stories of those who were stoned. Sawed in two. Murdered in cold blood. Stories of vagrants wandering the earth in animal skins, homeless, friendless, powerless. The world didn’t deserve them! Making their way as best they could on the cruel edges of the world. Not one of these people, even though their lives of faith were exemplary, got their hands on what was promised. God had a better plan for us. That their faith and our faith would come together to make one completed whole, their lives of faith not complete apart from ours. Hebrews 11
This faith anticipated the eternal reign of Papa’s Kingdom. King Jesus restoring the earth to its original form— Eden. Papa’s children no longer enslaved by physical or spiritual death. Evil once and for all destroyed.
Ignore the OT at your own peril! For Genesis to Malachi is a treasure trove of hope and wisdom. Preparing Christ’s Bride— His Church for His return and the end of this evil age.
Be a voice crying out in the desert, “Clear a way for the Lord Make a straight highway in the wilderness for our God. Every valley will be raised. Every mountain and hill will be lowered. Steep places will be made level. Rough places will be made smooth.
Then the Lord’s glory will be revealed, and all people will see it together.
The Lord has spoken.” Isaiah 40:3-5