50 Things I Learned Reading the Old Testament

At the beginning of my college career I came to a startling conclusion:  I was not well versed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  This had to change.  I worked diligently towards that end, and now can humbly say that I can share the Gospel with no inhibitions.  It was a needed revelation, but a terrible evidence of a horrible blind spot in my life.

This summer I came to a similar conclusion.  I did not know the Bible well.  Not just the Bible, but practically all of the Old Testament.  I knew almost zero prophecy.  I knew of David and some things he’d done.  Noah- check.  Jonah and the “whale”- check.  Adam and Eve- double check.  Moses-check.  Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat- check (and a little fun in there for the thespians reading).  OT- Check. —- OR SO I THOUGHT!  I knew practically nothing.  And if you’re honest, you probably don’t know much of it either.  Noah is not a childrens story.  Neither is Jonah…..

So with that said, it’s been a little over 2 months and I have finished the Old Testament. Do I recommend reading at my speed? No, I read abnormally fast.  But boy was it worth it.  This blog post is to cover some of my many observations throughout the Old Testament.  Please, get out a Bible as you follow along and look some of it up yourself!

To be simple, it’s just gonna be a numerical list.

1)  God is gracious, not just a disciplinarian in the story of the Garden of Eden.  See an extension on that here:  http://griffingulledge.blogspot.com/2010/08/grace-in-fall.html

2)  Noah and the Ark is no children’s story.  Amidst the happy giraffes, we see a terrifying picture of God’s wrath.  He destroyed the entire world!  He killed them all, and yet provided for the continuance of humanity through the sole faithful man left.  (The “not a children’s story” is a recurring theme”)

3)  This world has not changed much.  People get raped, murdered, cheat, steal, lie, and are full of pride.  One of the main differences in many of the Old Testament characters and us is simply that they didn’t sin on Facebook.

4)  God will get what he wants.  He sent such awful things upon Egypt that Pharaoh trembled, but then would harden Pharaoh’s heart anyway just to complete his purpose.  If you read the Old Testament and deny any part of God’s sovereignty, you had best have a very good reason.  I’m not sure that’s possible.

5)  Exodus is awesome and so relevant to us.  For example:  Moses spends a ton of time on the mountain with God, just him and God (think church camp) and when he gets back people are worshipping a golden calf.  They just don’t get it.  He breaks the tablets out of anger.  And a patient God simply makes new tablets and turns their hearts back toward him.

6) Exodus 33 is a beautiful story of intercession.  I now pray this prayer over Auburn.

7)  When we spend time with God, it shows (Ex. 34:29-34)

8)  This is a random recurring theme, but apparently Lebanon has great plant life.  We always hear about their beautiful trees and gardens.  Like every book, seriously.  Go trees of Lebanon!

9)  Leviticus is boring.  So is Numbers.  So why do we have them?  If you don’t read them, if you don’t know them, you can’t fully appreciate the gospel of Christ.  They are essential!

10)  Deut. 4:7 is beautiful

11)  Deut. 23:13 is funny, and yet serious.  (Makes grace seem all that much more important)

12)  Who made Deut. 25:11 happen?  The LORD thinks of everything.

13)  Judges 3:12-30 would easily be the coolest movie ever.  Cooler than 300 and cooler than Saving Private Ryan.  “I have a message to you from God”… dead.

14)  Barak is a Biblical name:  Judges 4.  Seriously.

15)  Gideon is the original 300.  And he didn’t lose at the end like the Spartans.

16)  Judges 15:15  Samson didn’t just have Delilah and knock down the temple.  He also killed 1000 men with the jawbone of a donkey.  Stud.

17)  Ruth is the Proverbs 31 woman.  It’s not a coincidence.  This is an inspired book.

18)  When we don’t think God is enough, he shows us he is i.e. Saul the king.  Saul was awful.  1 Samuel 9.  Awful.  Saul is the reason for Romans 13.  God should be enough.

19)  David and Goliath is not telling you that you can kill the “giants” in your life.  It’s about God’s providence and about Christ.  Not you.  It’s never about you.  Ever.

20)  David’s Mighty Men are who I want on my side… 2 Samuel 23:8-23.  Too legit.

21)  Solomon’s request for wisdom is amazing.  However, the Bible tells us there will never again be one as wise as Solomon outside of Christ.  And on top of that, Solomon still did some stupid things.  Which should tell you- we want Christ, not just wisdom or anything else.

22) 1 Kings 18:20, then keep reading on…. best line basically says “Where is your god at?  Is he on the potty?”

23) 2 Kings 2:23-24 DO NOT MAKE FUN OF BALD PEOPLE!

24) 2 Kings 18:4 –  we can take beautiful things as gifts from God and pervert them into idols.  God gave them the bronze serpent to save them from the snakes.  Hezekiah had to destroy it b/c the people wickedly perverted it into a thing of worsip.

25)  David kills a man.  Cheats on his wife.  Has enough sex with “not his wife” to make your head spin.  Is seemingly fully wicked (Ps. 51), and yet has forgiveness and is a “man after God’s own heart…” There is hope for us.

26)  Job’s friends are stupid.

27)  We say “God won’t give us anything we can’t handle…”  Untrue.  Book of Job- check it.  He won’t give us anything he can’t handle.  He gave Job enough to wallow in the dust ripping his clothes off with boils all over him until he saw God was all he had.

28) Job 38-41 is why I know not to question God irreverently.

29)  The book of Psalms is long, but beautiful….

  • Psalm 1= Jesus
  • Psalm 2:7-12 = John 3;16
  • Psalm 5:5-6 = God hates sinners.
  • Psalm 22 = the crucifixion
  • Psalm 51 = what repentance looks like.  Also, we are totally deprave.
  • Ps. 117 is the shortest, 118 is the middle of the Bible, 119 is the longest.
  • Ps. 146 – put your trust in God.
  • Ps. 149 -150 God likes music
  • There’s so much more I could say….

30) Just read Proverbs.

31)  Ecclesiastes- the richest man ever says “all is vain”… take his word for it.  Being rich is something you’ll be held accountable for.

32)  Song of Solomon is steamy.  and not for children.

  • girls do “not stir up or awaken love until it pleases…” be modest.  (SoS 2:7)
  • Sg. 4:16 is by far the steamiest.
  • Sg. 6:6… glad she has all her teeth
  • He says he can’t wait any longer, that they must get married and “have each other”… She says- grab the keys and get me to the church.  How awesome that God has given us this desire for another!

33) Isaiah 52:13-15 and all of Is. 53 is the Gospel.

34)  One of the ultimate shames for Christ was he was “with a rich man in his death”.  Lord, that we never be rich, but rather give it all away for the sake of Christ.

35) Is. 56 is about us. (one of the few about us)

36)  Is. 54:4…. if you don’t look it up, you’re missing out.

37) Jer. 6:14 Never let a pastor tell you you’re ok.  Only let others aid you to run to Christ.

38) Jer. 20:9 is how we are supposed to be about the Word of God.

39) Jer. 29:11 is not about you.  It was about the Exiles mention in verse 10.  His plan for you may be suffering, as it was for so many others in his will.

40) Daniel= God is sovereign over our awful times.  In a furnace, in a Lion’s den… that is true suffering.

41)  Here’s a funny one:  The large fish in Jonah 2:10 vomited him up upon the shore.  What if you were on the beach when the fish spit Jonah out…?

42)  Take time to read the minor prophets…. there is a beautiful picture of the gospel there:

  • Zephaniah 1:7
  • Zechariah 3:9
  • Habakkuk 3:2 and so many more

43)  You never want to hear God say, “Behold, I am against you…”

44) You never want to hear God say the word “Woe…”

45)  You never want God to have to remind you he is a jealous God.

46)  You never want God to say “Hear, all you peoples…” It always ends badly.

47)  You never want God to quote you… he does so for example:

  • Ps. 14:1 “…there is no God…”
  • Obadiah 1:3 “Who will bring me down to the ground?”

48)  You never want God to say “Behold…” It usually means ‘watch this, I’m going to stun you/discipline you/ kill you.

49)  I have learned you can not fully understand the Gospel without understanding the OT.  After all, the scriptures that Jesus and Paul were referring to were not the NT, but the Old.  Which means the Gospel is there…

50)  This is the most important.  I learned so much from the OT and will definitely read it again. I wasn’t sure how to articulate it.  But I don’t have to because Tim Keller already did… I’m going to quote him here.  I will just say this:  The Old Testament- all of it from Genesis to Malachi points to Christ.  It’s all about him.  It’s not like it happened, then he fixed it all.  Rather it is all about him and pointing us to him.

Tim Keller said:

Jesus is the true and better Adam who passed the test in the garden and whose obedience is imputed to us.
Jesus is the true and better Abel who, though innocently slain, has blood now that cries out, not for our condemnation, but for acquittal.
Jesus is the true and better Abraham who answered the call of God to leave all the comfortable and familiar and go out into the void not knowing wither he went to create a new people of God.
Jesus is the true and better Isaac who was not just offered up by his father on the mount but was truly sacrificed for us. And when God said to Abraham, “Now I know you love me because you did not withhold your son, your only son whom you love from me,” now we can look at God taking his son up the mountain and sacrificing him and say, “Now we know that you love us because you did not withhold your son, your only son, whom you love from us.”
Jesus is the true and better Jacob who wrestled and took the blow of justice we deserved, so we, like Jacob, only receive the wounds of grace to wake us up and discipline us.
Jesus is the true and better Joseph who, at the right hand of the king, forgives those who betrayed and sold him and uses his new power to save them.
Jesus is the true and better Moses who stands in the gap between the people and the Lord and who mediates a new covenant.
Jesus is the true and better Rock of Moses who, struck with the rod of God’s justice, now gives us water in the desert.
Jesus is the true and better Job, the truly innocent sufferer, who then intercedes for and saves his stupid friends.
Jesus is the true and better David whose victory becomes his people’s victory, though they never lifted a stone to accomplish it themselves.
Jesus is the true and better Esther who didn’t just risk leaving an earthly palace but lost the ultimate and heavenly one, who didn’t just risk his life, but gave his life to save his people.
Jesus is the true and better Jonah who was cast out into the storm so that we could be brought in.
Jesus is the real Rock of Moses, the real Passover Lamb, innocent, perfect, helpless, slain so the angel of death will pass over us. He’s the true temple, the true prophet, the true priest, the true king, the true sacrifice, the true lamb, the true light, the true bread.
The Bible’s really not about you – it’s about him.

We must remember this.  It’s about him.  And when we do, our faith becomes so much more precious, our Christ so much more beautiful, and our life so much more sacrificial.

Now go- read your Old Testament.


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