My wife has a room in our barn she calls Inventor’s Paradise. It is a collection of extraneous, broken and discarded items she uses to repair whatever needs to be fixed on our property. It’s a great resource for jerry-rigging minor repairs or creating something completely new out of old treasures. Each piece in her assortment of junk had once been an important piece of equipment; sometimes an old tool, perhaps a broken piece of furniture or even a section of used plumbing. No matter how important they once were, they all have been reduced to a jumble of bits and pieces, each waiting in the wings to, once again, become useful.
Likewise, many Believers view the “Old” Testament as little more than an Inventor’s Paradise of scripture. Although once important, the ancient verses of Torah are now considered, by many, as unconnected bits of wisdom; arcane instructions for those long dead, serving no cohesive purpose in the daily lives of modern Christians. At best, the scriptures are taken out of context, becoming handy devices for creating truths never seen before by the chosen people of God.
Indeed, most Old Testament scripture is often used as little more than filler for sermons wholly concerned with New Testament stories, creating endless versions of Jesus that would be unrecognizable to the Jewish prophets who heralded His arrival. The Lion of Judah has been transformed into the gentle Jesus, the Just-Add-Water Jesus and the soft-spoken effeminate Jesus.
The loving gracious God of the Old Testament, who long before Christ’s birth forgave sinners, has been transformed into a ruthless tyrant, slaughtering thousands of innocents. Indeed, the Living God who forgave His own children’s constant sin is now portrayed as a narrow minded bigot, creating meaningless statutes that He held His subjects to, out of fear.
Such distortion comes mostly through ignorance of Old Testament scriptures. The Tanakh is not a collection of old sayings to sort through to fill out a sermon, or an antique shop to browse through, looking for some rare find.
The Tanakh, however, “…is able to make you wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” In fact, “All Old Testament scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
When Paul wrote these words, he was clearly referring only to the Old Testament scriptures, because the New Testament had not yet been written.
The Old Testament is far more like a modern hardware store than my wife’s Inventor’s Paradise. Within it lies all the building materials needed to build your dream house. The Old Testament has what it takes to lay a foundation, upon which can be constructed a home for the Holy Spirit, filled with all the necessary appliances.
With the materials found within Yahweh’s ancient wisdom, God can fill your home with peace, joy and righteousness. He, Himself, is the master builder who uses His Torah to create a place in which He eats with you and stands guard over you as you sleep. In Ezekiel 16 you will meet the lover of your soul.
Yahweh’s Word can fill your heart with love as He creates within you a temple for His Holy Spirit. As you read the Old Testament, you will find the tools you need to accomplish the purposes of your life, He will use Proverbs to fill your barns with abundance and Psalms to fill your life with meaning. In Isaiah 53, He even provides the only door large enough for Him to enter, if you are willing to let Him in.
The next time you go shopping for essentials, try the Old Testament. It has everything you could possibly need or imagine.