When I was a little girl, my mom would wake me up every Sunday morning. She would dress my in a frilly, 90's-style dress, with a pair of white, lacy socks. Then, she would cart me and my sister off to church in our green car. When we got there, I would go down to the church basement and sit on the brown, carpeted floor.
I remember the children's songs we would sing. I remember some of the kids I would play with. I remember the name of my teacher (Miss Julie) and the layout of the room really well. But unfortunately, I don't remember hardly any of the Bible stories. Particularly, the ones out of the Old Testament.
After I got married, I realized that my memory of many of the other Old Testament stories was extremely cloudy. But, I honestly didn't care that much. I believed that the God of the Old Testament was mean and cruel. I believed that the Old Testament stories were too old, boring, and outdated. I believed the Old Testament wasn't even needed. In fact, I didn't understand why the Bible even had it in there! I believed that there was no need to read it, as long as I understood the life of Jesus and the truths of the New Testament.
I was so, so wrong.
Years later, the Old Testament is now my absolute favorite! I love sitting down to read it. In fact, more often then not, when I need comfort or help, I turn to the Old Testament far more than I do to the New.
What changed was the fact that I stopped believing that God was mean and cruel. Instead, I discovered how loving and kind He really was. I fell in love with the God of the Old Testament.
When I was at my job at the factory, I used to download audiobooks and podcasts to listen to, since I was miserably bored. One day, I saw a dramatized reading of the Bible for sale. I decided to give it a shot.
That one purchase changed my entire life.
During work, I would take out my earbuds and listen to the Bible for hours at a time. I discovered that the Old Testament wasn't boring or outdated at all. It was fascinating. It was filled with stories of a merciful God who helped and cared about sinful people time and time again. The Old Testament showed the true character of God. He wasn't mean at all. Everything He did was for the benefit of all peoples.
I listened through the entire 100 hours of the Bible in 4 weeks.
I am so thankful to God for that experience. I absolutely hated my time at the factory, but I was given the most special gift during my time there. I was able to truly discover who God was.
You see Friends, the Old Testament is important. It shows the real character of God. We too often hear other people's wrong opinions about God, or focus on the fantastical stories of Jonah and the fish, and brush off everything the Old Testament has to offer. It's what I did for years. When we do this, we are ignoring a wonderful gift God gave us: the fact that we are able to learn about Him and His character and why He does what He does. (I will even argue that without the Old Testament, we could never really understand why the New Testament even exists.)
I encourage everyone reading this blog post to take some time to read the Old Testament. Start with Genesis. It is such a fascinating book of the Bible. Read it in a version you can understand, such as the NIV, the NLT, or the AMP. Or, read through the Psalms. The Psalms are an excellent and easy way for you to discover more about God's character.
Friends, if you truly want to follow God, you need to understand His character. That is why the Old Testament is so important. If you don't read it, you will miss truths like these:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. - Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV)
The Lord is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in him. - Nahum 1:7 (NLT)
[Daniel] urged them to ask the God of heaven to show them his mercy by telling them the secret, so they would not be executed along with the other wise men of Babylon. That night, the secret was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven. - Daniel 2:18-19 (NLT)
But the Lord watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his unfailing love. He rescues them from death and keeps them alive in times of famine. - Psalm 33:18-19 (NLT)
The eyes of the Lord are in every place, watching the evil and the good [in all their endeavors]. - Proverbs 15:3 (AMP)