I’m perturbed. Why do we Christians insist on treating the Old Testament as if it’s nothing more than children’s stories? Didn’t Paul tell Timothy that “[a]ll Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Tim 3:16)? Guess what; the only “scripture” Paul had to refer to at that point was what we call the Old Testament, but what he and everyone else of the time referred to as, oh yeah, the scriptures!
Just for a moment, let’s leave aside the fact that Jesus quoted the Hebrew Scriptures constantly and focus solely on the “Old Testament” simply for what it says. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is incredibly powerful. When His people need Him and they call on Him while in obedience to His commands, He will knock down walls (Josh 6:20), stop the sun (Josh 10:13), open wombs (1 Sam 1:20), confuse enemies (Josh 10:10, 2 Chr 20:22), and even save them from fire (Dan 3:27) and hungry lions (Dan 6:21). We Christians like these stories, but we treat them like children’s stories instead of the awesome tales of God’s power & might that they are. We seem to stop talking about them once we get past about age 12. Why do we do this?
I have a theory: we are divorced from the word of God. Because we are taught that the Law is fulfilled and nailed to the cross, we believe that the Old Testament doesn’t have a lot of meaning for us today. It has some nice stories but that’s about it. If what God said 4000 or so years ago isn’t meaningful any more, why would the miracles mean a whole lot? But they sure can get kids’ imaginations fired up, so we tell them the stories and then at some point decide that they need more “meat” than those exciting almost-mythological stories give them. It seems that “maturity in Christ” means reading the New Testament over and over again while trying to figure out what commands we’re supposed to obey, or what it means to “love your neighbor.” Who wants to figure that one out? “If you love me you will obey my commands, but since I’ve fulfilled the Law there’s really no way for you to know what you’re supposed to be doing. Good luck figuring out what love & obedience are!”
Maybe the reason we stop talking about the miracles of the Old Testament lies in our fear that if we get too involved in them we’ll discover that the rest of the Old Testament is actually still relevant, too. We’ll discover that when Jesus said, “Not one jot or tittle of this Law will pass away until ALL is fulfilled” (emphasis mine), He actually meant that the commands He was talking about obeying are listed in the Old Testament. If we get too involved in the miracles of the Old Testament, perhaps these 2000 years of theology about the Law being abolished will wind up being challenged in our minds, and we couldn’t have that, now could we? After all, what would happen to Christmas and Easter if we started digging into those festivals that God said His people are supposed to celebrate? What would happen if we started digging into the Torah and discovered that there’s nothing new in the New Testament?
Well, you’ve just read my story. What God did for His people in the Hebrew Scriptures lit a fire in me that caused me to dig deeper into ALL of scripture. If God is the same yesterday, today and forever, and I am grafted into the olive tree, then those things in the “Old Testament” are mine, too. That revelation started me on a journey of reading the Bible in a different order and a different mindset. Go ahead, read the New Testament in light of the Old instead of the other way around and you won’t see those miracles as children’s stories for much longer. You’ll get a revelation about our Heavenly Father that will make Jesus jump for joy, the revelation He really wanted you to have, the revelation that we’ve watered down for far too long. The word of God, ALL OF IT, is alive and well and living in you, and if you let it out of the theological box you’ve been told to keep it in, it still has the power to stop the sun, knock down walls, open wombs, and confuse enemies.
Go ahead, excite Jesus. Open up His Father’s Word, the “scriptures” Paul referred to, the word Jesus wanted to share with you from the beginning. His words weren’t new, they were the Father’s from the beginning. Start with those “children’s” stories and let them set your heart on fire like they did the first time you heard them. Trust me, you won’t regret it.