Thursday, May 28, 2015
In making good on my promise to myself to read the whole Bible, Genesis to Revelation, with as much vigor and enthusiasm as I have read fictional works, I have discovered a love for the Old Testament. This is exciting to me because I bought into the whole concept of "We live under Grace". I bought into "No longer bound by the law". I know some will shake their heads and scoff at me for being so... honest. The fact of the matter is, I am not alone. I am not the only one who has bought into the idea that sounds something like this...
"The Old Testament does not have as much bearing on me and my life as the New Testament does. So...I'll just focus on the New Testament."
I mean, let's face it, The New Testament is easier to digest. I can read through it and see nothing but God's unfailing love for me... and I like that. I find so much comfort in God sending His son to pay for my sin...that He loves me enough to pay the price for me...that I am valuable enough to Him for it to matter where I spend eternity. This is all true and I cling to it every moment of every day.
Taking the love of God displayed in the New Testament without the just-ness and judgment displayed in the Old, I get a skewed idea of who God is and of what HE is about. I run the risk of believing that God is all about me and what I want. I can buy into "cheap grace", believe the "Prosperity Gospel" and even believe that God would let some sin go unpunished. If I only look to the God of the New Testament, I can believe that God is more like me (after all, I relate so much to the Human-ness of Christ) and less like...well...God.
The Old Testament teaches me of God's patience, but it also teaches me that when God's patience runs out, He is swift and thorough in His punishment. I can read the New Testament and believe that God is all about me, but The Old Testament reminds me that God is really all about God. In light of the Old Testament, even Christ's Death and Resurrection are to bring God glory. (But that is a post for another day)
And the truth of the matter is, I need Christ Jesus and the absolute love of God portrayed in the New Testament, but I also need the God who parted the Red Sea, the God who killed the first born in every home in Egypt that didn't display blood on the door as instructed. I need the God who destroyed Sodom and who turned Lot's wife into a pillar of salt. I need the God who flooded the earth and destroyed all who inhabited it. I need the God who spoke and the world came to be. I need a big huge, mighty, powerful God who takes sin and rebellion seriously. I need God With Us, but I also need the God in the burning bush.
Understanding God's power and justice and the seriousness with which He punishes rebellion and sin helps me to appreciate God incarnate all the more. Having a better understanding of God's standard of obedience helps me understand just how much I really do need Jesus to intercede for me.
The Old Testament teaches me that God takes sin and rebellion seriously and He punishes thoroughly and severely. And understanding that His patience does eventually run out reminds me that there are many who need to be introduced to Jesus.