During my daily connection time with my Savior, God has led me again through His Old Testament. Before I dive into the Gospels, I wanted to take a moment to meditate and reflect on the first 39 books of the Bible.
Here are my first five takeaways from the Old Testament:
1. God wants a real, personal relationship with me.
When God created the first people, He would walk side-by-side with them in the garden in the cool of the day. That was just the beginning. Throughout the Old Testament, God spoke directly to men and women, outlining His plans and directions. God made it clear that people were His priority, and He longed to have a vibrant, intimate relationship with them. He calls Moses His friend and David a man after His own heart. He walked with Enoch straight to Heaven; He held the forces of nature inside the fiery furnace with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego; He met Daniel in dreams; He sent a chariot to bring Elijah home to Heaven. Just as God had personal relationships with these people, so He also desires for me to be just as close to His heart.
2. God is all-powerful and in control.
With His spoken command, the universe was formed and our planet was created. Through obedient men, God sent plagues unlike the world has ever seen to bring Pharaoh and all of Egypt to their knees; parted the Red Sea so His people could walk across on dry ground; collapsed thick city walls with shouts of praise; defeated army after army in ways that were impossible to mere humans; closed the mouths of lions; moved the nations according to His plans, allowing some to rise and some to fall; and revealed the end of times through prophecy that has and will be perfectly fulfilled. God has proven again and again that He is sovereign and the ultimate authority of all, and my life in return must bow to Him.
3. God provides for His people in truly miraculous ways.
God caused bread called manna to fall from the sky, water to flow from rocks and clothes to never wear out while His people wandered for 40 years in the wilderness. God’s interventions for the people of Israel as they first were set apart are still revered and spoken of in awe to this day. He allowed a boy to defeat one of the most powerful warrior giants of the day with a slingshot, He washed away armies, He overturned oppression with a small posse carrying clay pots and torches and sounding horns. God caused a donkey to speak and changed curses to blessings. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
4. God wants to use me, showcasing His strength in my weakness.
Again and again, God chose to use people who wouldn’t naturally be picked first for the team. Take for example Jacob, Joseph, Gideon, David, Rahab, Ruth, Samuel and Esther. God took people who were not the strongest or the oldest or the wisest or the wealthiest, and demonstrated His power through them. Nations were formed, people were saved, kingdoms were united and battles were won because God’s strength was altogether evident through their weaknesses. When I am obedient and put my life in God’s hands, there is no limit to the ways God will use me in His Kingdom plan.
5. Teaching and instilling God’s truth in my children is critical.
As a mom, it is heartbreaking to see how so many heroes of Scripture utterly failed when it came to parenting or their children turned their back on what had been demonstrated in their homes. Isaac and Rebekah played favorites with their children to devastating results. The father of the nation of Israel played the same game, and his children turned on Joseph, selling him into slavery. David’s children did as they pleased, and a horrible rape in the family tore them apart and precipitated an insurrection by his oldest son to steal the crown. The sons of the first High Priest Aaron were instantly killed when they burned incense they knew was unholy. Another priest, Eli, had evil sons and God raised up a new prophet because of it (Samuel). The wisest man who ever lived, Solomon, fell away from God at the end of his life, and during his son’s reign, the kingdom was torn in two. So many good kings were followed by children who instituted awful evil practices and idol worship. These examples remind me of why God urged parents to pass on all the commandments He had given while at Mount Sinai as recorded in Deuteronomy 6:7-9, “Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.” I want to do everything I possibly can to instill God’s principles and a passion for His Word in the hearts of my children. The Old Testament makes clear the consequences when that does not happen.
Stay tuned for part 2 of my Top 10 takeaways from the Old Testament!