It was then that I began to have an hunger for the Word. I just couldn’t get enough. I set my alarm to get up early every morning before my husband and children so I could curl up in a corner by the fireplace and read my Bible. Very soon I began going to Bible study, and I loved learning all I could. For three years I attended Bible study at my church and learned a great deal about the New Testament. I had a curiosity about the Old Testament too, but no one seemed to be interested in teaching that. It wasn’t until I moved with my family to Hawaii, and began attending Bible Study Fellowship, that I finally had a taste of studying the Old Testament. And that opened a whole new world of understanding for me.
I knew and had responded to the truth that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, had humbled Himself to come to earth in a perishable human body and had willingly given His life on the cross for our sins. The New Testament taught me that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23) and so, to atone for our sins, Christ had to die. And He was the only one who could do that because He was the only sinless human being. But where did all this come from? Why did God make these demands?
As I began studying the Old Testament at BSF, I began to get answers to all my questions. I learned how sin had entered the world and how it corrupted the hearts and lives of people. I learned how God had chosen Abraham and his descendants to be His people and to become a nation through whom the whole world would be blessed. I learned how much God hated sin - about His holiness and how men and women, as sinners, cannot stand in His presence.
I learned how the people of Israel were called to make animal sacrifices, offering the blood of an animal as a substitute for their own sin and to expiate their sin, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement” (Leviticus 17:11). I learned how, on the night the Hebrew people were delivered from slavery in Egypt, God had commanded that each family sacrifice a spotless lamb and put the blood on their doorposts. It was the blood of that spotless lamb that saved their firstborn from death and set them free.
It was through all this that I came to understand why Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). And as I studied the Old Testament, I found there is so much more to help me understand and love God. The Old Testament is a picture of what God was to do for the world in the future. The Old Testament and the prophets all looked ahead to Jesus and what He would do. As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look (1 Peter 1:10-12). Many Old Testament prophecies even look ahead into our future and beyond.
A favorite part of the Old Testament are the Minor Prophets. They are not called “minor” because they are less important, but because they are shorter than the long prophetic books like Ezekiel, and Isaiah. For me, shorter makes them easier to grasp, understand, and apply to my life. I have learned many important truths from the Minor Prophets that have helped me know how to live for God and live a happy and productive life.
So in the upcoming weeks, I want to share with you some wonderful truths I have learned from the Minor Prophets. In each of the upcoming posts, I will share from one of the Minor Prophets, beginning with Hosea and working through to Malachi. I hope you will stick with me and take a peek into the lives of those prophets and the timeless truths they had to share. May God give you a hunger for His Word and a heart’s desire to understand it well.
I’ll be looking forward to seeing you in two weeks.
With love, because God first loved us,