I was a bit shocked to turn the page in my Bible on Monday and realize that we were in Matthew. When we started this journey 71 days ago, I had the attitude on Day 1 that I couldn't wait for the New Testament reading to begin. Initially, I wasn't looking forward to reading through the Old Testament. But soon I became immersed in the stories of God and His people - their journey together.
Now that we're in Matthew, I'm still going back in my head to the truths of God that the Old Testament reveals. It's so obvious to me that in order to be a healthy Christian, you have to be rooted in the God of the Old Testament... because He's the same God of the New Testament. I've often thought (and said) that the God of the Old Testament seemed distant and harsh to me. But I can firmly say that I no longer believe that.
Some things that I learned about God through our Old Testament reading....
- He wants genuine relationships with us
- He loves through discipline
- He cannot stand sin
- He requires holiness
- He offers a way to holiness
- His plan is perfect
- His heart is hurt, like a father, when we walk away from Him
- His love for us is at the center of all that he does
- He is always in control, even when things seem chaotic
- He is just
- He knows our heart and desires it
- He created perfectly
- God works through us, even with our imperfections
- He desires our praise
- He desires our heart
- He can use our failures
- His love never fails
- His love never ends
- His Word is life
For those of you who are Christians, especially those who have been saved for a long time, these truths are not ground-breaking. They are truths about God loved by His people. And although we may know them in our mind, too often we do not know them in our heart. We do not always live like we believe them.
I've learned that it is easy to be academic in our understanding of God. But that gets us no where. And God doesn't want that. The last 71 days have been heart-changing for me, and I pray that they've been that way for you, too!