The Old Testament: More Than Stories

In 2020, I was confronted by the fact that my knowledge of scripture was surface at best. Having gone to church my entire life, I had relied heavily upon what had been preached to me and not what I had read for myself. My theology wasn’t just weak; it was nonexistent. My Bible had been kept tucked safely on the shelf–only pulled out for church and the occasional reference. That all changed that in the Spring of 2020 when the Holy Spirit ignited an unnatural desire in me to study God’s word. Prior to this, I’d always despised reading books. Yet, there I sat, nose in scripture. The Holy Spirit can indeed perform wonders. I decided to start in an area I knew least about–the Old Testament. For me and sadly probably for many young Christians, the Old Testament had been reduced to a series of short Sunday school stories that emphasized our need to believe and obey God. As for the Old Testament law, it was just an old set of rigorous rules understood by few today and only applicable to Old Testament Israelites. I was led to believe that the Old Testament was better off oversimplified and our focus directed largely to the New Testament. Boy, was I in for a surprise? In Luke 24, Jesus has something to say about the Old Testament that suggests it has great purpose and significance far outside an assortment of adolescent stories.

25 Then Jesus said to them, “You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures. 26 Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?” 27 Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
Luke 24:25-27 NLT

god’s covenant

Looking back in the Old Testament in the book of Exodus, the Israelites were living in slavery in the land of Egypt and the groans of their affliction were heard by God and God recalled His covenant with their ancestors: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God had promised these three men that they would have countless descendants from a multitude of nations, that these descendants would possess the land of Canaan forever, and that these descendants would be fruitful and God would be their God forever (Genesis 17:4-8). This was an everlasting covenant that began with Abraham and was then confirmed down through Isaac and Jacob (Genesis 17:19). What exactly had Abraham done though to deserve the blessings of such a covenant?

6 And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith.
Genesis 15:6 NLT

Abraham had done nothing to earn the justification God had granted him. It was through Abraham’s faith alone that God had deemed him righteous and forgiven all of his sins. We know that Abraham’s sins were justified because of what we read in the New Testament. Jesus tells us that Abraham did not die in his sin, but lives eternally (Matthew 22:31-32). When Abraham placed his faith and trust in God, God committed His unfailing love to Abraham as well as his descendants. There was one condition to this covenant though, they had to remain faithful and obedient to God.


9 Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands.
Deuteronomy 7:9 NLT

How could God guarantee the love and obedience of Abraham and his descendants? Was God promising something He couldn’t deliver. Where did that leave God’s sovereignty if His covenant hinged on the love and obedience of human beings enslaved to their own sinful nature? The answer can actually be found hidden in the unfailing love mentioned in the same exact verse we just read in Deuteronomy. In Genesis 24:27, God committed His unfailing love to Abraham. What exactly was God’s unfailing love? Let’s take a look at the book of John.

17 For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ.
John 1:17 NLT

The Old Testament descendants (the Israelites) had been given God’s perfect standard for holy living–the law (Galatians 3:23). In contrast to the holiness of God’s law, the sins of Israel were made blindingly evident and their guilt undeniable (Romans 3:19-20). The law not only revealed Israel’s sin, but caused their sinful nature to take root and propegate (Romans 7:5). Ultimately, the Israelites succumbed to the curses contained within the law (Daniel 9:5-11). When all hope seemed lost, God’s unfailing love came in the man of Jesus–the Son of God. Jesus brought certainty to the fulfillment of God’s covenant. Jesus’ preordained life, death, and resurrection fully atoned for the sins of the world, but only to the benefit of the faithful (Galatians 3:25-26). Abraham and his descendants were justified by their faith–not by their obedience to the law.

We could go one step forward here to look at how human’s enslaved to sin exercise faith, but I’ll save that for another post. I’ll be sure to link it here once its written.


Through faith alone in Jesus alone, the faithful become the rightful heirs and descendants of Abraham; and therefore, inherit the promises of God’s covenant (Galatians 3:7, 3:29). These faithful descendants are not limited to Abraham’s direct lineage, but are from a multitude of nations–Gentile nations. Jesus declared this in Matthew and Paul reiterated it in Galatians.

11 And I tell you this, that many Gentiles will come from all over the world—from east and west—and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Matthew 8:11 NLT

8 What’s more, the Scriptures looked forward to this time when God would make the Gentiles right in his sight because of their faith. God proclaimed this good news to Abraham long ago when he said, “All nations will be blessed through you.”
Galatians 3:8 NLT

What an awesome thought to ponder that the same covenant established with Abraham descended down through the generations to greet us–Gentiles? We, the heirs comprised of both Jews and Gentiles, were brought into God’s new covenant.

THE Holy Spirit

This new covenant was different than the first. Jesus had paid the penalty for the sins of the world and saved us from the curses of the law (Galatians 3:13), but then also promised to send us the Holy Spirit (John 14:16, John 16:7, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Our obedience to God’s commandments was no longer a prerequisite for our salvation, but a product or fruit of our salvation.

11 May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.
Philippians 1:11 NLT

This fruit (obedience) is produced by and through the work of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us (Galatians 5:22-24). As believers, any holy, obedient act we perform is not of our own merit, but is the work of the Holy Spirit in us.

25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.
Galatians 5:25 NLT


The Old Testament and the law had purpose that reached far beyond the Old Testament and certainly deserves its place in our redemptive story today. From this quick study, we can see why the Old Testament was referred to as a shadow of things to come (Hebrews 10:1-4). The law was good and holy, but the sinful nature of mankind required offerings and those offerings were imperfect. Jesus was the spotless offering God required.

11 Under the old covenant, the priest stands and ministers before the altar day after day, offering the same sacrifices again and again, which can never take away sins. 12 But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time.
Hebrews 10:11-12 NLT

Once you understand the Old Testament, I’ll warn you; it is easy to then fall into one of two misguided schools of thought. First, there is legalism. This is the idea that we must still be obedient to the Old Testament law in order to attain salvation. A common defense for this position is Matthew 5:17. While I am not saying this verse is erroneous (because it isn’t), it does require some context though as Jesus goes on from there to remind us that we can not earn our salvation (Matthew 5:20). When we try to earn salvation through following the law, we are living in our flesh (our sinful nature) and this will only result in us being bound to sin, bound to the curses of the law, and ultimately bound to death.

21 But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. 22We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.
Romans 3:21-22 NLT

On the flip side of this misguided coin, we find antinomianism which is the belief that Jesus set us free from having to follow any law. This goes a step too far in the other direction. While Jesus fulfilled the law for us (Matthew 5:17), believers are still called to live holy lives through obeying God’s commandments.

23 Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them. 24 Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me. And remember, my words are not my own. What I am telling you is from the Father who sent me.
John 14:23-24 NLT

3 Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome.
1 John 5:3 NLT

We can see that these two extremes–legalism and antinomianism–have failed to contextualize scripture. Anytime we cherry pick scripture, we’re at risk of denying its inerrant and consistent qualities. Paul brings some much needed context to the issue of obedience in Romans.

1 Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? 2 Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? 3 Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? 4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.
Romans 6:1-4 NLT

15 Well then, since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not!16 Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.
Romans 6:15-16 NLT

If we agree that all scripture is perfect and congruent, then we must recognize that simply because obedience is not a requirement for salvation does not then imply that obedience is altogether nullified. We have been called to live new lives–obedient lives only made possible through the grace of God and the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2:8-9).

17 Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you. 18 Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living.
Romans 6:17-18 NLT

Paul says we have a choice to make as believers. We can keep sinning or obey God. We can follow our sinful nature or choose righteous living. We can wither away or bear fruit (Luke 8:4-15).

13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.
Ephesians 6:13-18 NLT

May we bear fruit, friends.

The Inconvenient Call to Homeschool

My husband and I are both homeschool alumni; so early on in our relationship, we were in agreement that homeschooling our own children one day was definitely on the table. We’d personally experienced so many of the benefits that homeschooling had to offer: one-on-one learning, customized curriculum, strong family bonds, preparation for the real world and adult life, and most importantly the ability to learn in a God-centered environment. Fast forward several years and our oldest daughter was finally ready for school, but somehow we’d convinced ourselves that she’d probably be fine starting off in the public school system–maybe just to attend elementary school. What could go wrong? She’s just learning the basics after all. If I’m being honest though, I breathed a giant sigh of relief knowing the pressure was off of me at least for a few years. So, we bought all the supplies and first-day essentials and off she went to kindergarten. It was fine–no major issues. I let her teacher and the school know I was always available to help out and volunteer; but to my surprise, no help was needed. I attended as many PTA meetings as I could and while they were enthusiastic about fundraising and fun runs, there wasn’t much talk about what was going on academically inside the classrooms. I had thought I could help prep craft supplies or staple things together for teachers, maybe read some books to the kids. The school seemed to have it all handled though–no need for parents to be overly involved. It wasn’t what I had expected. It all felt vanilla. A description that seemed to tug at me daily and then COVID-19 happened. That’s when my husband and I’s lukewarm acceptance of vanilla crumbled.

Was our daughter learning at school? Yes. Was she retaining the information? Seemed so. Did she have a love for learning? No–far from it. Besides her youthful desire to make friends and play dodgeball, she had absolutely zero interest in learning. Outside her lack of academic curiosity, we recognized adult topics were finding their way into schools and in front of younger and younger students. While exposure to certain things is unavoidable, we had willingly allowed schools to take the lead on these mature topics, while hoping Sunday school and discussions around the dinner table would be sufficient in curating her impressionable little mind. Voddie Bauchman summarizes this well.

If you send your kids to Caesar for their education, don’t be surprised when they come back as Romans.
Voddie Bauchman

All of this weighed heavy on me. About this time, COVID-19 came along and I watched first-hand as my daughter struggled through distance-learning. My husband and I were done making excuses.

The fact is no one knows our children better than we do–even if they have degrees and accreditations. We’d surrendered the opportunity to teach our daughter out of convenience. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to discredit the wonderful, dedicated teachers and schools that are out there and I certianly realize homeschooling may not be the right answer for everyone. I do hope though to bring encouragement to the parents out there that don’t feel their children are receiving the education they should or feel they’re being left out of the learning process, and yet are overwhelmed by the seemingly insurmountable undertaking of homeschooling their children. Don’t let the world convince you only they are capable of successfully educating your children.

4 “Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. 5 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. 6 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. 7 Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up8 Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. 9 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Did you catch that? Instructing our children never stops. Moses tells us that we are to talk or instruct them whether at home or away and from the moment they wake to the moment they go to sleep. If you’ve felt God calling you to pursue the homeschooling route, know that God can and will uncover a path forward for you and your family. God never said we needed to receive some type of special training first (but certainly if you feel led, do so). God gave us our children and He wanted us to raise them, guide them, train them, teach them. You will never regret being the one that gets to introduce your child to all the things they get to learn and show them just how perfectly all of them fit within the framework of God’s word.

If you have questions, I am by no means an expert (having just gotten the ball rolling myself), but I will gladly share what I can and cheer you on your journey. I would highly suggest taking the simple step of joining the Homeschool Legal Defense Association. They offer not only legal defense for homeschooling families, but also provide information about how to legally homeschool in your specific state and can walk you through the process. This is a great starting point. From there, you can find other homeschool families through either the HLDA website, local churches, or through homeschooling groups on Facebook or other social networks. Ask around and get opinions on different curriculum, day-to-day schedules, and other local homeschooling resources. Pray for direction and let God fill in the gaps.

In Search of Utopia

Capital Hill Occupied Protest (or CHOP) was established June 8, 2020 in Seattle, Washington in response to the murder of George Floyd. The protest was comprised of a few different groups, but predominately the Black Lives Matter movement. Initially, CHOP was described as a “festival of love” and even encouraged by Seattle’s mayor. The initial demands of CHOP were the following: the dismantling of the police department, the abolition of ICE, reparations, a phased-end to imprisonment, the removal of Confederate statues, anti-bias training for educators, rent control, free college, and a decentralized election process. Other demands included funding for socialized medicine, public housing, and the naturalization of immigrants. In regards to healthcare, they sought more black nurses and doctors to aid black patients. Overall, it was an extensive list of socialist policies. Since we have a free election system in which we vote for policy makers (who, in turn advance our desired policies), the demands became less about advocating for policies and more about condemning opposing views.

Six months later, CHOP still stood holding tight to its small piece of earth. A place where the public was free of restrictions and laws and could live largely as they chose. In theory, this place should have been the tangible embodiment of every socialists dream where the unseen arm of government only inserted itself to provide basic human necessities like portable bathrooms. It should have been utopia, right? We could assume that within CHOP a harmonious collective anxiously awaited the day their perfectly crafted demands transformed the world. Yet after less than a month, the “festival of love” crumbled. Leaders shouted demands and profanity through bullhorns, arguments broke out in barricaded city streets, visitors and local residents with opposing views were harassed, litter was abundant, theft and damage to private property abounded. And as of June 30th, there had been 5 shootings resulting in 2 deaths within the boundaries of CHOP. So what went wrong?

We seem to find the same human dilemma that has always existed—imperfect people. Well-intentioned maybe, but still teeming with flaws. People of rich and poor upbringing, religious or secular perspectives and varying political foundations having all committed unimaginable wrongs alongside remarkable rights. We all have a heart and mind capable and wired for the darkness: jealousy, hate, vengefulness, deception, etc. And in the midst of our imperfection, we fight fervently for causes we’re sure will change the world. And as a result of our hypocrisy, the division only grows deeper. Are we fighting for the right cause(s) or is there something (or someone) fundamental to all of this that we’ve rejected? Society would have us believe utopia is possible and that we all have the power to achieve greatness. The examples are endless: ‘Yes, we can’, ‘You are enough’, ‘Believe in yourself’ and so on. Is this just positive thinking or is this a standard we’ve set that we can’t possibly achieve? Let’s take a look at what else our society likes to tell us.

Science and facts have become a focal point in America. Society encourages us to put away silly books like the Bible and faithfully follow a sea of scientific experts. While science is a beautiful construct that somehow exists from seemingly nothing (seemingly), it is not a series of facts; it is a series of proven theories. We forget this sometimes. For centuries, scientific theories have been undone and rewritten with each new discovery, but the truth that God reveals in the Bible will never be undone. Scripture is the same today as it was yesterday and will be tomorrow. The life and purpose of God’s son Jesus will never be altered, added to, or taken away from and it works in perfect harmony with the world as we know it today. The Bible tells us that God gave us life. God wanted us to live not as robots or slaves, but as His children. Adam and Eve desired precisely what we desire today; to live as we choose, independently and without authority. So we turned our back on God. He could have abandoned us or perhaps done away with us all together; but as a Father, His love for us wanted us redeemed. That redemption came through the death and resurrection of His son, Jesus. Jesus’ perfect, sinless life was given so that we could be saved and His resurrection confirmed that death was conquered. Realizing and accepting the gracious gift of Jesus’ sacrifice is our salvation. This gift ensures that we don’t simply return to dust at our death, but to infinite life with our heavenly Father. This is the only utopia. But in place of biblical truth, our society has adopted a popular mindset called “your truth.” Society no longer recognizes specific wrongs and rights, but instead a subjective creation of whatever we individually believe to be right. This ever-changing meandering Goliath of thought convinces us that we need nothing more than ourselves, our perspectives, and our desire to feel good and right. With science and subjective truth at the helm, our soul purpose becomes a futile quest to live our “best life” before we are reduced back to dust and for the majority of us almost entirely forgotten after a generation or two. I don’t know about you, but that seems like a very meaningless existence. Could it be that there is something more? Have you ever honestly considered it? Perhaps you should.