Let the Word Speak!

Old Testament

The first part of the Bible, the Old Testament, often confuses us.  Even the most recent parts of it were written 600 years before the New Testament, and other parts are from thousands of years deeper in the past.  While the world culture during the New Testament showed influences of Greek and Roman thought that are still prevalent in our culture today, the thought patterns in the cultures of the Old Testament predate Greek culture, and are foreign, unfamiliar, even primitive and barbaric to us.

The God of the Old Testament often seems to be very different to us, too.  The same God that in the New Testament knows every sparrow and dresses the wildflowers is the same God in the Old Testament that commands his people to kill all the men, women, children, and livestock of the cities that they attack.  How can this be?  I am certain I don’t have all those answers, and I will never know enough about those times to fully understand.  I do believe, though, that it is the same changeless God that spoke to Adam and Eve, that guided Moses through the wilderness, that called Hosea to speak the unpopular truth, that sent his Son Jesus to earth, and that speaks to us every day.  I also believe that so much of what we don’t understand about the Old Testament has to do with what God’s people at that time didn’t understand.  We have the Bible and thousands of years of inspired teachings and writings to help us know God, while the ancient Hebrew people had the five books of the Law, true and false prophets, and overwhelming cultural pressures that worked against God’s Way.

There is so much in the Old Testament that is spiritual food for us, even with all these differences and challenges to understanding it.  There are even references in the Old Testament that draw God’s people to face their misunderstandings of God’s Law–as in the repeated plea for the people to recognize that a repentant heart is the true “sacrifice” God wants, and that all the Law passages on sacrifices are not the “solution” but merely a way of leading the people to repentance.

I’ve chosen to break out two of the sections of the Old Testament into separate headings: the Psalms and the prophets.  Other passages will be included in this section.

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