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Why I STILL read the Old Testament

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Because it’s juicy. 

Maybe for its colorful characters or maybe for its juicy stories.  (I mean there’s a man who becomes king, sleeps with the wife of one of his soldiers and after finding out she is pregnant, puts him on the frontline to be killed, only to lose the child shortly after.  Now if that doesn’t sound like a drama-series, I don’t know what does.  Forget Lucious and Cookie!)  My main attraction to the Old Testament, however, is learning the personality of God.  I enjoy reading about His power and His love.  I’m always surprised by His patience and equally surprised by His wrath.

Because some things never change.

Many things have changed since the Old Testament (the role of women, the practice of polygamy, the legality of slavery, etc.) and for this reason some people doubt its relevance.   However, more times than not, the stories are very compelling and reflect the woes even in today’s society.  In the cases where I don’t see the significance, I reconcile it by trying to grasp the difference between cultural customary laws and comprehensive principles.  In this way, I fully understand laws that outcast lepers or forbid the consumption of pork don’t apply to me, while laws concerning tithes or sexual immorality very much apply then, now, and always.  In the New Testament, Jesus explains many of these differences to the Sanhedrin, who could not seem to part with the tradition of the old and embrace the freedom of the new.

Because it shows me God.

It’s the Old Testament that teaches me the nature of God. It teaches me that He is an ever present Father.  And His presence is accompanied by countless thoughts about me (Psalm 139:17-18).  His presence is accompanied by an invested interest in me (Jeremiah 29:11).  His presence is accompanied by an immense love that is deeper and wider than mountains (Isaiah 54:10).  I learn this from Jeremiah.  I learn this from the Psalms of David.  I learn this from Job and countless others who witnessed the sovereignty of God firsthand.  The New Testament introduces Jesus and the formation of the church but it’s the Old Testament that shows us just how desperately we need a Savior.

Because I never want to forget where we came from.  

And because of this Savior, we no longer need to sacrifice lambs, doves, pigeons, and goats.  We are no longer expected to present grain and peace offerings.  We no longer need a levitical priest to be our mediator.  We no longer fear making a careless mistake when approaching God and pay the price of death for our ignorance.  We have been freed from the bondage of sin and tradition but are still subject to the God of both the Old and New Testament.  And as Hebrew 13:8 says He is the same yesterday, today, and forever more.  To know Him then is to know Him now and always.


– Sarah

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