I was flipping through my son’s baby Bible and got to thinking that the editors of those books have a hard job. They have to narrow down 66 books and 1000 pages to 20 pieces of cardboard. How do they choose which stories make the cut?
And looking through the book, there are some pages about Jesus’ miracles and His resurrection of course, but most of the stories in that book are before Jesus. They focus on all the Old Testament stories you learn about in Sunday School.
You learn a lot about the Old Testament in kids’ classes, but for some reason, as we get older, it seems like we study the Old Testament less and less.
Our classes are about Paul’s letters or they’re about some topic like grief or discipleship. All those things are good to study and learn about, but it’s not very often that as adults we sit down to learn about David and Goliath or Noah and the Ark or Jonah and the fish.
I think there is a temptation to juvenilize the Old Testament, to think of the Old Testament as irrelevant or, even worse, oppressive. We’ll say the Old Testament is the story of God’s wrath, but the New Testament is the story of God’s grace, so to point people to Jesus, we shouldn’t focus too much on those first 39 books.
In essence, it’s like we’re saying the Law and the Old Covenant was a mistake God made that needed to be corrected by Jesus.
It’s little wonder why the OT gets relegated to kids classes and songs with singing vegetables.
But let me tell you right now: God’s Law was not a mistake. God doesn’t make mistakes.
There may be parts of the Law that make you uncomfortable. The Law covers hard topics and modern ears don’t always like to hear its answers, but the way to understand those hard-to-hear answers is not just to say, “Well, God replaced the Law because He doesn’t believe those things anymore…”
The Law was not a mistake.
If the people who received God’s Law heard you say that they would rightly call it blasphemy. The Law was not an unwanted burden for them.
Instead read how the people under the Law talked about it:
Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper. – Psalm 1:1-3
Moses finished speaking all these words to all Israel, and he said to them: “Set your hearts on all the words which I testify among you today, which you shall command your children to be careful to observe—all the words of this law. For it is not a futile thing for you, because it is your life, and by this word you shall prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to possess.” – Deuteronomy 32:46-48
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. – Joshua 1:8
The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; – Psalm 19:7,8
I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth More than my necessary food.– Job 23:12
Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies; For they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, For Your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients,
Because I keep Your precepts.– Psalm 119:97-100
Seven times a day I praise You, Because of Your righteous judgments. Great peace have those who love Your law, And nothing causes them to stumble. Lord, I hope for Your salvation, And I do Your commandments. My soul keeps Your testimonies, And I love them exceedingly. – Psalm 119:164-167
You will not find one example in all of the Old Testament of anyone complaining about what a terrible burden it was to be living under the Law.
Instead they said that the Law:
Was their delight
Made them like trees planted by streams of water
Was their life
Led them to prosperity and success
Refreshed their souls, made them wise, gave joy to their heart and light to their eyes
Preserved their life
Is sweeter than honey to the mouth
Should be treasured more than daily bread
Is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path
Is holy, righteous, and good
God’s people didn’t hate the law. They weren’t weighed down by the law. They didn’t think it was a mistake.