“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4, ESV).
I think that we often forget that the “Old Testament” was the Bible of Jesus’ day. There are a lot of portions of the Older Testament that can be boring and tedious reads. I think that the biggest hurdles for us to overcome are perspective and context.
Often our perspective is not so much looking back as looking down. It’s so easy for us to develop an inflated sense of value and status, since we have received “greater revelation.” Some even use this position to look down on our spiritual ancestors, the Jews. But doing so devalues the culture and heritage of our Lord. When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness He set an example of using the Word as a means to endure. But we would be remiss to ignore that He was quoting the Older Testament.
We also have difficulty understanding the context of most of the Older Testament—and, if we are being honest, the Newer Testament as well! We find it difficult to understand the importance of the genealogies, and books like Numbers. This is precisely because we don’t seek to understand. I’ll be the first to admit that I often get the “zombie stare” when I get to some of those sections. There is treasure there to be found if we will do a little digging!
Our verse in Romans explains that the Bible of Paul’s day, the Older Testament, was written for our instruction. That means that there are things we can learn! We can learn, like Jesus, to use God’s Word to rebuke the devil, give us strength to fight and endurance to continue. We can also find encouragement in the Scriptures, and there find hope.
It is my prayer and intention that, in the coming days, when Skipping Stones switches to a new-and-improved format we will be able to see God’s Word more clearly, in the proper perspective and context, and fall in love with it all over again.
Blessings on your day!