I have a confession to make. I have a hate/love relationship with reading through the Old Testament…Mostly hate. There, I said it out loud. I can finally get that shame off my shoulders! Each year I read through either the Old Testament or the New Testament in a different version of Bible. I look forward to reading the New Testament and its insights, theology, and wonderful story of hope and God unfading love. But the Old Testament? Not my favorite year. Oh, part of it I love, but most of it…?
Let’s be honest. Much of reading the Old Testament for non-academics is like going to the dentist. You know you need to do it, but you dread every moment being there. However, after it’s all said and done, you know you did the right thing. Ever read through the Pentateuch (5 books of law; I just wanted to sound smart) and enjoy anything more than Genesis and, and, okay, just Genesis? Do you wake up every morning to a yearning to read through Jeremiah, Lamentations and Ezekiel? I know Song of Solomon is supposed to be really sexy, but until I get all those ancient, foreign contextual references, it’s just a lot of gazelles running around.
Then there are those moments I hit a passage and think, “Wow! Why hadn’t I caught that before?” Right in the middle of having my teeth pulled out without Novocain in Ezekiel, I ran across the passage about the watchman of Israel and the still very real connection to the spiritual leaders today. Every now and then I hit one of those passages that remind me not to let my eyes glaze over as I read through the Old Testament.
The writer of Hebrews says the Old Testament is recorded for our benefit, our learning from their mistakes, an understanding of God’s big picture love for his people and the promise of the messiah. Yes, there is much to learn from reading through the Old Testament. You just need to work harder to see the messages in our world today.
I challenged our church to read through the New Testament and journal for this next year. What I mean by that is to ask questions, write insights and look for answers to the questions as you read the passages each day. What if I were to try to do the same thing with the Old Testament? I would definitely have more questions!