I was having a conversation with a friend about God and the Old Testament when my friend responded, "Yeah, I don't even know why read the Old Testament anymore. We live by Christ so I say we don't waste our time in the Old Testament." I was honestly a little speechless after he made this remark. I think my response was something like, "Well, yeah we do!" But in the moment I was thinking inside, "Do we?"
On Thursday, Pat wrote a post entitled 3 Reasons for Teaching the Old Testament to Kids. Pat's post showed its importance. But I find myself asking, how often do I read from the Old Testament? How often do I meditate on OT passages? Many people are intimidated by the former covenant's sacrifices and prophecies and so they question its relevance. When pastors avoid preaching from the Old Testament for the same reasons, this is to the detriment of churches.
We need to be a people who love God's word. All of it. Not just the red letters. Not just the New Testament. All of it. I have been reading through the Bible in (what was supposed to be) 90 days. It is turning into a 180 days, but what I have seen sitting down and reading the Bible quickly is a 30,000 foot view. I see how God loves Israel and is constantly reminding them of his faithfulness in their story.
The Old Testament sets the scene for Jesus. I wish I could have been there to experience and hear Jesus on the road to Emmaus. Luke 24:13-35 tells us about two believers who were traveling along the road after Jesus' death. Jesus joins these two men but, "but their eyes were kept from recognizing him". The verse that sticks out is verse 35 when they say, "They said to each other, 'Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?" Remarkable! The men had not recognized Jesus in person, but they were stirred by seeing Jesus pictured and prophesied throughout Old Testament. I want that to be me. I want our kids to see and experience a fire within when we're teaching Old Testament stories. If I am not feeling that way about the Old Testament, how will my family?
If you are new to the Old Testament and you are looking for a couple of resources to help you out, here are two great ones.
- Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones. It helps break down Jesus in the Old Testament for Kids but is great for adults as well.
- God's Big Picture: Tracing The Storyline of the Bible by Vaughan Roberts
What tools have you found that have helped open up the Old Testament?