Sunday, February 14, 2016

Reading the Old Testament: Keeping the Scriptures--and God--in Perspective

It's been a few years since I've read through the entire Bible. One of many times I've read through it since I became a Christian in my early 20s. I've read letters here and there between readings, but it's important to read through the entire collection of books and letters once in a while to keep the entire plan of salvation and teachings/encouragement in perspective. And to do so using a solid translation of the original text. Last fall, I read the New Testament in ninety days using my Olive Tree app to keep me on track. On January 1st, I started using the same app to help me read through the Old Testament.

To date, I've read Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, a good chunk of Numbers, and several Psalms. And because I don't intend to neglect the entire NT, I read Luke.

Since I am once again reading God's dealings with humanity, I am once again reminded at the very high standard God holds for Himself. A man who gathered sticks on the Sabbath was stoned, though the congregation had no idea what the penalty for violating that sacred day would be. Disbelief, complaining, lack of trust, lack of faith, all sins along with stealing, committing adultery, and various sexual sins among others. It is impossible not to sin against God.

It strikes me that so many today blow off actions, thoughts, and behaviors with a casual, "Don't worry, God understands," or "God is love. He would never chastise you for something like that," or, "He knows the intentions of your heart."

And yet, we're told God is immutable, unchanging. The same sins that were sin thousands of years ago are sin now, and the punishment is the same. If He had not provided the perfect Mediator, the perfect Lamb that paid the penalty for those sins, we would be lost in this life and the next.

I'm so grateful He constantly reminds people He is, "The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty." And then He proceeded to prove it. I am no less a sinner than those mentioned in those ancient documents, but He has shown His mercy to me. I'm thankful for the reminder.

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