What we believe about God and the good news of Jesus Christ begins with Genesis and ends with Revelation because we believe that every part of scripture is essential. Each part of the Bible points to essential truths about God’s character and his plan for redemption. Therefore, all scripture, old testament and new testament alike, are relevant for the lives of Christians today. Old testament accounts aren’t just good stories for children. They also hold significant value for Christians.
Many Christians hold the belief that the old testament is insignificant for us today because we are no longer under the old law, but that simply isn’t the case. All of the seemingly unconnected stories in the Bible hold relevant truths for us and give us insight into God’s character and our human condition. Here are some examples:
The account of the 6 day creation shows God’s power and sovereignty over creation. It is his first display of power recorded for us to see. We also learn in the book of John that Jesus, the Word, was present at creation and that it was through him that all things were made.
Additionally, the creation of man and woman on the sixth day gives insight into the way God views human life. We see that it is superior to all other life on earth as it is unique and created in the image of God.
We also know that at creation the world was in a perfect state and that sin was absent.
It wasn’t long before the perfect creation went awry. When the woman was tempted and gave into the serpent’s temptation to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, sin entered the world. The consequence for this sin was that death entered the world and became the fate of all men. This is there we get the doctrine of original sin. Because of Adam and Eve’s sin, death now reigned, and man would need saved from the proliferation of sin through death. The fall points to mankind’s need for a savior, ultimately pointing to Jesus and his ability to reconcile us to God again.
However, we also see elsewhere in the Bible that this fall of man was not outside of God’s plan. It was planned since before the creation of the world that mankind would need a savior and that Jesus Christ planned to come to this earth to be a sacrifice for sin once for all.
Through Abraham, God began to prepare a people for himself that he would call his own. God called Abraham, and he obeyed, though he was far from perfect. While God promised Abraham that he would make him into a mighty nation, Abraham was childless. God did make Abraham into a mighty nation, but he did it in such a way as to make it clear that Abraham himself did not build a nation for himself but that God did the building.
God’s sovereignty and power in creating a nation from Abraham is clear throughout Abraham’s story. When God asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, it appeared that all hope of becoming a great nation was gone for Abraham. But through this story, we see a picture of what God would one day with his own son. However, whereas Isaac’s life was spared, Jesus’s life was sacrificed. We also see in Abraham’s story that he was far from perfect but that God counted him as righteousness because of his faith.
Over time, Abraham’s family did grow, but they became captive to the Egyptian people. What was once a friendly relationship between the Hebrew people and Egyptians turned into slavery for the Hebrews. However, God raised up a leader, Moses, who would deliver his people out of slavery. This deliverance is symbolic of our delivery from sin in the new covenant when we are saved.
The Promised Land:
Due to disobedience, God’s people had to wait 40 years in the desert after being delivered from Egypt to reach their destination. As Christians under the new covenant, we also wait for a promised land, namely heaven, and rely on God’s provision and leading in the mean time.
Israel’s Cycle of Peace and Captivity:
God’s people, Israel, struggled to remember His goodness to them and often turned to idols instead of trusting him. They broke their end of their covenant with God, becoming and adulterous people. However, God demonstrated his commitment to them by always saving them in due time. God was faithful to his people when they led adulterous lives, even though they had to pay the consequence of their sin. We see in Israel’s story that the struggle to stay faithful to the Lord is real but that God is gracious and faithful to teach us how to be faithful to him.
These are just a few examples of how old testament accounts point us to the glory of God and to the work of Jesus on the cross. Our personal experience is not all that different from the collective experience of the Israelites because we still have the same heart struggles that they did all those thousands of years ago. But, our God is gracious and delights in showing his glory through his kindness and faithfulness to us.