I used to think the Old Testament was boring. Well, except parts of Genesis and the book of Judges. While my eyes still glaze over at the genealogies, the more I study, the more my appreciation for the Old Testament grows. There are so many connections between the Old and New, so many passages that can only be understood fully if you understand the Old Testament roots. There are up to 500 Old Testament references in the book of Revelation.
Besides that, the Old Testament can show us the character of God more fully, not only his uncompromising righteousness, but also his grace, his lovingkindness and willingness to forgive his people over and over.
A particular passage in Isaiah has been resonating with me for a couple of months now:
“Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters;
And you who have no money come, buy and eat.
Come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without cost.
“Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
And delight yourself in abundance.
(Isaiah 55:1,2) NASB
What a wonderful picture of the grace God planned to offer through his son Jesus. What a wonderful expression of his abundance. It is only in the last week that I realized this is also (possibly) one of the Old Testament references in Revelation.
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.
(Revelation 22:17) NASB
I’ve come across a couple of quotes recently that I felt also connected with the passage in Isaiah:
“We are bankrupt – we have nothing with which to pay. To show grace is to extend favor to one who doesn’t deserve it and can never pay it back.”
— Allen Webster, “Salvation Is Free But It Is Not Cheap”
“Pleasure without God, without the sacred boundaries, will actually leave you emptier than before. And this is a biblical truth, this is experiential truth. The loneliest people in the world are amongst the wealthiest and most famous who found no boundaries within which to live. This is a fact I’ve seen again and again.”
— Ravi Zacharias
And that, to me, is what Bible study is all about, and what makes it so exciting, not just reading the pages in a book, but learning more about the character of God and what he wants from us, internalizing it so that when something comes up (whether in further study, in other reading, or events in our lives) we can make those connections.