Imagine a new couple. They’ve just begun dating and like most of those early dates, they have begun investigating who the other person is, while trying to give a good sense of themselves in the process. Now imagine that one person in this budding relationship halts conversation every time the other person begins speaking about anything that happened prior to the first date: “Nope! Not interested in that. It’s not important. All that is important is what has happened from the time we met.” Any such relationship is bound to have a major disconnect. How can you really come to know someone if you are not interested in their history? Their family? Their formative life experiences? What seems absurd in terms of dating is no less relationally defunct when it comes to relating to God.
How important is it to understand the Old Testament? Many churches seem to avoid the Old Testament books, treating them almost like a second-rate revelation. This is a tragedy of missed opportunity and causes a deficit in Christian education. The works of the Old Testament are the Bible that Jesus read, the scripture he studied, and the words he employed in his teachings. In Christianity, we hold that God is immutable(unchanging) which means God is the same entity throughout all of existence. What you read about God in the first chapter of Genesis is true of God in the last chapter of Revelation. His story did not begin with us, His history is bigger than what happened in the first century. Much of what happened in the birth of the church can only be fully appreciated in light of God’s interaction with His chosen people. If we want to know what it is like to be God-dealing-with-humans, if we want to understand what makes God angry, if we want to appreciate God’s plan for national obedience and governance, God’s thoughts about individual and community responsibility, and the heart of God toward those who love Him, those indifferent to Him, as well as those who hate Him; then we must become students of God’s story with his chosen people (the Old Testament). Do not disdain the history of the one you claim to love! This month we will visit the prophet Hosea to witness God’s heart toward a disobedient people. We will see disappointment, compassion, judgment, and hope. (Go ahead and read Hosea chapters 1-3 to prepare yourself for this week’s message).