I like to read the Best Seller List to see what kind of books people are buying. Many are fiction. Others are biographies—they’re some of my favorites. Most deal with various issues of life in the 21st century. But there’s one book on the Best Seller List that dates back more than four thousand years—yet people still read it today. Of course, it’s the Bible. Amazing, isn’t it, that people still read a book that was written so many years ago!
Now, most of us tend to read the New Testament more than we do the Old Testament, since it contains the life and teachings of Jesus Christ and how to apply His words to our lives.
Some reason, “Why bother to read the Old Testament? Wasn’t it replaced by the teachings of Jesus?” The Bible itself tells us why. In the book of Romans, Paul wrote, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4). The very next verse calls God “the God who gives endurance and encouragement.”
You see, when we read the Old Testament we learn principles about God–about His character and how He deals with us human beings. Because the writing of the Old Testament covered a period of about 1400 years, and the events go back hundreds of years before that, we see God’s faithfulness over a long, long period of time. Over the centuries He kept His promises. He supplied the needs of His people. What He said would happen came true. This encourages us to keep trusting God through our own problems. Knowing that He is a faithful God helps us to keep going when the going gets tough.
Need a fresh injection of hope today? For a change, read the Old Testament and you will see the God who gives endurance and encouragement (Romans 15:5)—and hope.
Other than endurance and encouragement, what is God giving you today?