The Old Testament. Where does your mind go when you hear those words? I know for years my first thought was, “Ugh, it’s so old and boring.”. But over the course of my life, two things have had a great impact on the way I perceive the Old Testament. The first was a college professor, Dr. Bob Laurent. His enthusiasm for the OT helped me to at least crack it open and do a little more exploring. Yet it has only been in the last year that I have “caught” the same enthusiasm for words written thousands of years ago that my professor possessed.
It all changed when I started utilizing The Bible Project website and the companion Read Scripture app. These resources feature videos that finally helped me to make sense of the legalese of the OT and that has started the most amazing journey of truly beginning to understand the Bible, especially the truth that it is a roadmap for our journey with Christ.
I beg of you, take time to explore these resources. If the Bible just seems like a boring collection of hard to understand verses then these videos may be the start of a life changing journey, just as they have been for me.
On that note, let’s head to Deuteronomy 17:2-7.
“If there is found among you, within any of your towns that the Lord your God is giving you, a man or woman who does what is evil in the sight of the Lord your God, in transgressing his covenant, and has gone and served other gods and worshiped them, or the sun or the moon or any of the host of heaven, which I have forbidden, and it is told you and you hear of it, then you shall inquire diligently, and if it is true and certain that such an abomination has been done in Israel, then you shall bring out to your gates that man or woman who has done this evil thing, and you shall stone that man or woman to death with stones. On the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses the one who is to die shall be put to death; a person shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness. The hand of the witnesses shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.”
Let’s clarify: I’m not advocating stoning anyone, but there is truth in this verse for us today. Here’s the Gardner Paraphrased Version: If you find in your life anything that is evil in God’s sight, you must be diligent to purge it, lest it take root in your life and begin to destroy you from the inside out.
God didn’t want the people to stone those that turned against His Commands because he loved violence, he simply wanted his people to remain as clean and pure as possible. He was encouraging the Israelites to remove anything from their midst that did not bring glory to God.
What does your own life look like? Is there a sin that keeps rearing its ugly head? Has more than one person called you on a behavior that is not an example of Jesus? Then it’s time to purge that thing from your life. It’s time to put it to death so it doesn’t take root and begin to consume even more of your life; get rid of it, take it out with the trash, kick it to the curb.
God didn’t give the Israelites a crazy list of laws and statues because he wanted to make life hard for them, he did it because he wanted them to look different from all the other cultures. He wanted them to be set apart, to achieve a higher standard, to live in a way that declared, without question, that serving God was the most important part of their life.
And that, my friends, hasn’t changed one bit!!