For those on the journey of reading through the Bible chronologically this year we've made it through the Old Testament this past weekend!
It has been interesting to read this as a continuous story once again. Each time I do different themes seem to emerge. I think I caught a different glimpse this time than I have in times past.
It is becoming more and more popular these days to hear people referring to the Bible as irrelevant, as a book written to specific people groups thousands of years ago with no practical purpose today other than perhaps a quaint set of moral guidelines. Interestingly enough the stories in the Old Testament seem to revolve around a similar theme.
The nation of Israel was lead out of Egypt on a journey complete with an amazing set of miracles proving that God was indeed with them and fully in charge. God gave Moses His laws on the mountain...the equivalent of the Bible for His people...and, as the story goes, they rebelled.
Read through any of the prophets, through Chronicles and Kings and you'll see a constant combat between those who think that God's laws are no longer relevant, hence they turn to other gods, and those who seek to reestablish the law that was delivered to Moses. Nearly every one of the prophets calls the people to "remember" what God has done. There really isn't any "new" teaching once the law is given, no changes in policy or procedure, no additional requirements, just a call to go back to following it.
In fact it seems to me that almost the entire old testament, after the giving of the law, is the story of God's call to His people to return to Him. Sometimes they do and there is peace, sometimes they partially do, more often they don't until they are finally exiled.
At the end of the story of the Old testament they are back in Jerusalem and again they are called by godly leaders to remember, repent, and return to the Lord...and His word.
Amongst all the crazy genealogies, the complex and detailed laws, the long lists, the poetic flair of the minor prophets, there is a single thread that is constant throughout:
Remember who I AM.
Repent of your forgetfulness.
Return to Me.
A simple message and one we shake our head at when we heard it over and over again through nine months of reading through the Old Testament.
But clearly a message that echoes through the ages and needs to be heard even more loudly today.