“Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction” (I Corinthians 10:11).
For several years now, my daily Bible reading has consisted of 2-3 chapters of the Old Testament, 2-3 chapters of the New Testament, 2-3 Psalms, and a Proverb. Something that has surprised me is that my love for the Old Testament continues to grow and grow and grow.
This is happening at a time that many churches are placing less significance on Old Testament study. I realize that we are New Testament Christians whose lives have been transformed and redeemed by the Gospel, God’s Good News in Christ. I understand that we now live under a dispensation of grace not the dispensation of the Law. Yet to avoid the Old Testament is to be greatly impoverished regarding a growing knowledge of God’s redemptive history, that which German theologians refer to as the heilsgeschichte of God.
When writing to the Corinthian church, the Apostle Paul emphasized that the Old Testament writings are lessons for New Testament Christians. Besides the verse that I quoted above, Paul, from the same chapter wrote, “Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did: (I Corinthians 10:6).
What do we see in the Old Testament that can be examples to us. Well, we see God’s chosen people move through great ebbs and flows of their corporate religious life. We see the results of their walking in obedience to God’s Law and experiencing as a result His incredible favor. We also see them turning their backs upon Him and receiving His judgment for their waywardness.
At this season in my life, where, my greatest desire is to finish well, I often study the lives of the kings of the Old Testament. Boy, if there were ever lessons to be learned about the consequences of walking or not walking with God, they are found in the lives of these men. This is part of what Paul was referring to as he said that the collective history of the Children of Israel is a primer for us in regards to how we should walk before our God.
So, please, do not ignore the Old Testament portion of your Bible, because along with the examples of Israel, you will also find, again and again, the person of Jesus, our Savior, Israel’s promised Messiah. Surprised?