When offering suggestions to new believers or curious seekers as to what to read first in the bible, Christ followers tend to suggest the New Testament. The truth is that the New Testament is what delineates Christianity from the other major religions, and, tends to be a little easier to digest than the wrath we so often find in the Old Testament books.
And, the truth is, we miss a vital perspective of our salvation when neglected.
Before Jesus, God’s people travelled to the temple to worship. They brought their sacrifices, faithfully practiced cleansing rituals, and adhered closely to Levitical law. When they sinned against God, it was blatant as it was external – creating and worshiping false gods, and sacrificing to them instead of Jehovah, sometimes even of their own children.
Today, when believers receive Jesus as their Savior, He takes residence inside their hearts – becoming a part of who they are. While a blessing to have full access to the power of the Holy Spirit at any given time, humankind also can tend to muffle His voice with the daily things of life, and instead of building tangible idols visible to the eye and easy to identify, we allow emotional and psychological idols to develop in the invisible caverns of our hearts.
To the same degree of power we now have to walk in fullness and freedom …
…. so is the danger of the secrecy and potential destruction of our often secret sin.
When I spend time in the Old Testament, I discover a heavenly Father intent upon doing all He can to redirect the footsteps of His children. As a mother who is firm in keeping her toddler away from hot stovetops and sources of electricity, so is our God when condemning sin that keeps us from the death of hell. When I read the words that to some seem so harsh, I experience the sense of urgency God must have had as He saw His people leading everyone else in a direction from which there is no return.
I see a grace that is in some ways vastly deeper than our earthly version of the grace of the New Testament. And a greater revelation of just how much our God wants to preserve us.
The most brilliant thing about the relationship with Christ is the opportunity to spend a literal lifetime pursuing the active, ever present, never changing but multi-faceted heart of God. What speaks to me may not to you, or just might not today. One thing we can count on, however, is that He promises that His Word does not return void – it will always do what it is designed to if we let it ….
Allow His Word, all of it, permeate your daily experience. Dive into the pages of the bible daily and discover your world as you never have before.
Even the dark side …