Saturday 21 Oct 2017
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
John 6:49 -50

Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die.

 

A day of reckoning

Because of the violence against your brother Jacob, you will be covered with shame; you will be destroyed forever. On the day you stood aloof while strangers carried off his wealth and foreigners entered his gates and cast lots for Jerusalem, you were like one of them. - Obadiah 1:10 — 11

Perhaps one of the reasons why we find the Old Testament and indeed the book of prophets hard to read and deal with is the directness with which their messages speak to us eschewing all manner of political correctness. Doing so not only by revealing our failings to us but also reminding us that there are consequences and a day of reckoning, a day when the Judge of the universe has set aside when he would demand accountability from his creation.

If there is one thing the Old Testament readily reminds us about, it is about our sinful nature, its failings and the consequences resulting from it. The directness and the frankness with which it addresses the fallen condition of mankind make mankind to tremble and to a large extent despair, not only by the consequences of their failings but also his helplessness at making the changes required of him. Perhaps this is exactly what the Old Testament and especially the laws were meant to induce in us, to help us see and come to terms with our human fallen condition. This is done not to bring us under condemnation but rather to produce a desire for repentance, one arising from godly sorrow.

Now while that day may seem far off and the prospect of it scary such that we are not keen or comfortable to be reminded about it, the truth remains there are certain truths which these messages still impresses upon our collective minds, the aim being to prod such minds into repentance. The key note here being, God does not delight in the death of a sinner, rather he delights and indeed heaven rejoices over every repentant soul that turns away from the path leading to His impending wrath. This is done with the understanding that God did not create us for his wrath but rather as objects of his great affection.

It is almost customary for people to lament about the evil and the decadence in the society, with some even going far to heap the blame on God. yet the same are not favourably disposed to the very laws of God and the rebuke coming from it which points out to us  the root cause of sickness that plagues the world of the mortal man as a result of the fall. Love thine neighbour as you love yourself is one of the greatest laws of God, one along with others which in our sinful nature we probably do not give much heed to....but we see the consequences as highlighted by the message of the prophet, pointing out in the process both the evil which results when the law is violated as well as the displeasure of the Creator.

How may I benefit from reading the Old Testament? The answer lies in the spirit of humility one which begins by coming to terms with what the scripture already revealed about mankind, one which says that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. One which says not one person is righteous before God. In doing this we also must keep in mind that our failings is being revealed not to bring us under condemnation, we already are and we see the evidence of that all around us, there is more than enough of that to convince the most sceptic of all. Rather when we read these verses we do by understanding that the whole purpose of having our failings and guilt revealed to us is to provoke us to repentance and turn us to the saving grace that is revealed to us in the gospel of Jesus Christ!