God is going through a period of challenging me on pretty much everything right now, and yesterday it was His Word. Literally – the Bible, more specifically, the Old Testament.
My view has always been that the Old Testsment has some great stuff in it, but it’s too complicated to actually read. I’ve always thought it was very dry, all about history and rules, most of which are irrelevant because Jesus made a new covenant in their place.
I think a lot of people feel the same. Jesus’ teaching is throughout the New Testament, and it’s direct, and concise. Salvation comes through knowing Jesus. So, arguably, as a Christian, life transformation comes from the New Testament, not the Old, so it sometimes seems pointless to look back beyond Matthew.
However, in history lessons in school (I hated history lessons so maybe that is a reason I struggle with this concept…) we were told that we have to look at the past for it to shape the future. So we don’t make the same mistakes. So that we know where we’ve come from. So that we appreciate what our ancestors did for us to live as we do now.
I think that is why we the Old Testament is important. There are examples of God being so close to people in the Old Testament it’s almost unbelievable (faith – hallelujah!), but we can learn from that! There’s stories in the Old Testament that help us to understand why we should live a certain way. There are rules in the Old Testament, and although Jesus came and made a new covenant – the ultimate sacrifice – so that we no longer have to check off from a list things to please God, we still need some of the rules. They help us to live. The Ten Commandments are still important, God still doesn’t want us to do any of that – He hasn’t changed. Jesus makes that clear that He didn’t come to abolish the Old Testament, but to make an easier way for us to have a relationship with God – the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Yesterday I was at a conference for 18-30 year olds. That’s the age group who are often regarded as a lost generation when it comes to church. No longer Sunday School age so aren’t being forced by parents, and don’t want to go to church out of choice. But this is so not true! There is a revival. And I believe this revival is consistent throughout the ages – because God is faithful throughout the ages.
18-30s get put in this bracket of “maybe we don’t want to teach them the Word because they’ll lose interest in Jesus”, but it’s when we get INTO the Word that we FIND Jesus and form a RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD.
At this conference, three of the messages were based solidly in the Old Testament. Messages aimed at a “generation who aren’t interested in God”. It was pretty epic. Friendship, drawing close to God, waiting for your time – all things that Jesus talked about in the New Testament, but you can learn about in the Old Testament too!
Just because He wasn’t on earth in human form, in Old Testament times, doesn’t mean Jesus isn’t throughout the books and stories. So if it’s Jesus that gets you excited, you can find Him in every book – just look for Him! It’s a cliche but it’s true – it’s not just history but His story.
I’m excited that a group of 18-30s were given the teaching, the understanding, and the encouragement to look to the Old Testament as well as the New. It wasn’t even mentioned. I don’t think it was even planned between the speakers. But it’s made a difference to me.
I am so thankful to have a God who challenges me daily. To test me and to grow me. I am thankful that He is awakening this love of His Word inside me, because that kind of love is life-changing.
*afterthought* I just posted this and Sara Groves – The Word came on shuffle, it’s so relevant. The lyrics are: the Word works, the Word is and the Word will be. Have a listen!