Thursday, November 03, 2011

It's all about the Heart

I just got back from doing a retreat in Honduras and several of the women there had heard me speak before. It prompted a conversation that keeps replaying in my head. I was asked the question, "why are you so inspired by the God of the Old Testament?" It set me back a bit. I had never considered the God of the Old Testament to be different to the God of the New Testament. I think when we hold such a view we lose. On every front. We are left with an incomplete picture of God. We strip and diminish and dilute our understanding in an attempt to have manageable boxes to fit God in. This is God. The Great I Am. The Holy Uncreated One. Sovereign King. Redeemer. Revealer. Defender. Merciful One. My Kindness. Always has been and always will be.

It got me reflecting on some of the core beliefs I hold about the Old Testament:

1.I believe that the point of all scripture is to tell the story of God.

2.In that telling we discover a couple of central themes: God seeks relationship with humanity and desires to live among us; The condition of the heart has always mattered to God; God's presence is the key to spiritual formation; God is both just and merciful

3.The law was given for many reasons, but relationship and justice are two of the biggest reasons.

4.It is difficult for me to understand the ministry of Jesus without knowing the heart of God that has been revealed all the way through Creation, Exodus, Rescue and Restoration.

It is in the seamless reading of God's story and the seamless understanding of Covenant that I believe our eyes are opened to the mystery of a life with God.


Michele Fant said...

Thanks Arlene. I'm also drawn to the stories of the OT because they tell MY story. Abraham, Moses, Ruth, David, Elijah, and the rest are my family. I was grafted and adopted into an amazing family with a rich culture and histoy. The stories tell of people who were not perfect (so far from it) but our Father is good and loves us so much.

K. Rex Butts said...

When we divorce the New Testament from the Old Testament we are like a people who pick up a book and begin reading from the middle on while hoping to understand the whole story. All such attempts will fail to comprehend correctly and since the Bible is a story that invites the reader to participate in, a failure to comprehend the story correctly results in a failure to participate correctly.

Great post!

K. Rex Butts

Jim Martin said...

Arelene, I just saw this post that you wrote about a month ago. This is excellent! Glad that you posted this in response to the question that you received about the OT. Thanks.

Jim Martin said...

Sorry about your name! Yes I know how to spell it. My keyboard got ahead of my mind.