Having a 10-day vacation from March 27 to April 5, I decided to catch up with my Bible reading. No out-of-town nor out-of-the-country has been scheduled. No summer getaway. No meeting with friends. I even deactivated my Facebook account. Nothing but me inside the house, just reading and writing.
I am bound to read 6 books of Old Testament, from Exodus to Judges. Knowing what the books are all about, I get bored even before starting one.
I am not a fan of history. This subject is my lowest since elementary days. As much as I do not remember the important dates, my attention span is limited to the names of the men of the 12 tribes of Israel. Good thing they took the census of males only, not including the females and children.
I am not into action as well, such as wars, captives, territorial fights, etc. Of all the action scenes, I only find the red sea part thrilling. Maybe because I’ve seen it in a movie? I’m not sure. It’s just that imagining the scenario makes my heart beat fast when the sea went back on its original form and killed the Egyptian army. It’s a nice story.
Most especially, I am not a creative person. Even though I squeeze all the creative juices I have in my entire being, I could not comprehend the creation of the tabernacle, the altar, the tent of meeting, etc. Why does God need to be so detailed about it? Why do I need to care about the measures, the colors and the materials needed in building it? I do not know. But I kept on reading it.
I am reading the Old Testament and it is so boring, I thought.
Nothing is accident. God lead me to read the Old Testament. He wanted me to read it again. Little did I know that I am already soaking in it. I am interested in it. I am loving it. I am learning and realizing important things about Him and about life in general.
God is so merciful and slow to anger. He is abounding in steadfast love. Yet there are many instances that the wrath of God fell on Israel. Many were killed. Fact is that the people whom He delivered out of slavery in Egypt were the same people that perished in the wilderness and were not able to see the Promise Land. Even Moses. Why? Is it because God is not merciful and He is easy to anger? I don’t think so. It is because people are stubborn in nature and their evilness is so extreme that the merciful, loving and slow to anger God became angry. When they have nothing to drink, they rant. Then God showed springs of water. When they have nothing to eat, they rant. Then God poured out manna. They always blame the Lord and say that it’s better to die as slaves in Egypt than in the wilderness. Join me in gearing at this moment to our present lives. Believers and non-believers alike are subject to troubles. The difference is that we know that we have God whom we trust. Someone who will not leave us nor forsake us. Are we like the Israelites who are choosing to be slaves of our own habitual sins and irrational thoughts when we experience troubles? Do we tend to be angry with God and justify that He doesn’t love us since He’s not doing something in our difficult situations? Remember that in John 16:33 when Jesus said, “In this world, you will have troubles. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
We are living in freedom. Actually, in abused freedom. The old laws are pro-lethal injection. Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, life for a life. The adulterers are bound to die. Not honoring your mother and your father is a great sin. Those who practice magic arts and sexual immorals are sentenced to death. Stoning is basic. Though I am not sure if these are still present in other countries, comparing to the laws of the Philippines, the laws in the time of Moses are all extreme. Today, stealing in private companies and government offices are all present. Adulteries and sexual immoralities are somewhat accepted as being natural in the modern world. Still not moral, but who cares? Everyone is doing that, so what’s the matter? Justifications and excuses are always available. Everyone can even debate about it. Neglecting the people around you and not comparing yourself to others, are you abusing the freedom that God has given you? If you are living in the time of Moses, how many times will you be stoned to death? Repent.
The cross made a big change as I look forward to the New Testament. Jesus, indeed, is the lamb. Have you read about the sin offering, the guilt offering and so many kinds of offering where you need to prepare a number of lambs without blemish, goats, rams, cattle, donkeys, etc? Depending on what you have done, you have to present yourself with these burnt offerings to receive forgiveness and to claim yourself clean? That’s a lot of work to do. But Jesus made it alone, once and for all. He took all the shame, all the blame and all the sufferings on that cross. He became the lamb – an offering for our sins in the past, present and future. He alone is the only way to salvation. No one is good enough to save himself on the wages of sin, which is eternal death, and no one is bad enough that Jesus could not save him. Again, He died for ALL. Why don’t we stop at this point, close our eyes and thank the Lord for what He has done on that cross more than 2,000 years ago?
I agree, the Old Testament might be boring. But it gives us the overview of the greatness of God from the time He created the world and He chose you and me. The Old Testament perfectly describes the need of Jesus – not just on the cross as our Savior, but also in our lives as the Lord of every aspect of our being.