Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
A parent who believes "the everlasting gospel," doesn't want to be misled into "the mark of the beast." She sincerely wants to "follow the Lamb wherever He goes," longs to receive the "seal of God," and is burdened for her near-teen daughter who loves to read. They've been reading the Bible. Yes, also books about the Bible, but they've been reading the Book itself, and that includes the Old Testament.
The child is curious, she doesn't want anything held back. But they're confused: sometimes the true God comes through as kind and merciful, forgiving, and loving; but there are also times where He seems hard, threatening severe punishment on His people who seem bent on rebelling against Him. Much in the books of the Old Testament prophets seems frankly difficult reading for a sensitive child.
But how can one understand the way God so often threatens His people of old? Why that seemingly endless conflict? Why the almost constant unpleasant tension between God and His people? Actually, you don't see it until you come to Exodus 19. In Genesis there's a pleasant relationship between God and His people, for example, God making those fantastic promises of "blessings" to Abraham and his descendants, and His tender dealings with Isaac and Jacob. He writes His holy law on their hearts.
Then suddenly, a change: He must write it on tables of stone amid thunder, lightning, trumpet blowing, earthquakes, and a fearful death boundary around Mount Sinai. And almost from then on, rebellious people slipping back into pagan worldliness right into the Book of Malachi, until finally we get to Matthew where they crucify their Lord of glory.
What happened in Exodus 19? The people themselves formed the Old Covenant (vss. 4-8), whereas Abraham had believed the New Covenant. The New one is the one-sided promise of God; the Old is the "faulty" promise of the people. That's why a major portion of the Bible is the "Old Testament" (or covenant), leading us back to where Abraham was to be "justified by faith" under the New Covenant (Gal. 3:24). Let's make the New Covenant clear to our children!
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: May 1, 2001.
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