If you have been keeping up with your Daily Bible Reading using F. LaGard Smith’s wonderful tool, The Daily Bible In Chronological Order, this week you have finally reached the New Testament! His study notes throughout are a great help, and I especially appreciate his comments on the time between our Old and New Testaments.
We have several studies going on right now in the Old Testament, including our men’s Wednesday night class that is looking at “The Story of the Old Testament” based on material from Dr. Glenn Pemberton, formerly of Oklahoma Christian and now a Bible faculty member at Abilene Christian University.
What exactly are we to do with our Old Testament? We know that the Law of Moses is not enforced today—haven’t been to too many services where we had animal sacrifices on the altar or called on people to make the trip to Jerusalem for the Passover feast or other events. But there is much to be gained. The apostle Paul puts it this way: “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4)
The Scriptures give us hope! Reading these wonderful stories of the victories and struggles in the lives of people of faith throughout the history of humanity gives us a great sense of the love and faithfulness of our great and merciful God, as well as a call to be faithful ourselves as we seek to serve that same God.
There is a difference, however, as Paul points out: “So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.” (Galatians 3:24) What a great blessing to live on this side of the cross! What a great blessing to be able to read those grand stories of God’s work with His people and His world, knowing that those things all led to the birth, life and teachings of Jesus Christ the Son of God, and particularly His death, burial and resurrection!
And now in our reading we are getting into that incredible story of the love of God seen in the most sacrificial and tangible way—God Himself becoming flesh. I hope that every week and possibly even every day you are reading a part of this glorious message. John gives us this witness: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men…The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth…For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:1-4, 14, 17)