Bible Society of South Africa
Gerhard Lindeque

Jesus in the Old Testament - Day 1

God’s picture book

Bible text(s)

The LORD our Shepherd

1The LORD is my shepherd;

I have everything I need.

2He lets me rest in fields of green grass

and leads me to quiet pools of fresh water.

3He gives me new strength.

He guides me in the right paths,

as he has promised.

4Even if I go through the deepest darkness,

I will not be afraid, LORD,

for you are with me.

Your shepherd's rod and staff protect me.

5You prepare a banquet for me,

where all my enemies can see me;

you welcome me as an honoured guest

and fill my cup to the brim.

6I know that your goodness and love will be with me all my life;

and your house will be my home as long as I live.

People think in images. The Bible helps us to form a picture of God, not in the sense of what God looks like, but what God is like. It depicts God’s relationship with us as people. The problem is that, sometimes, there is information in the Bible that can make us form a wrong image of God.

The image of God as our shepherd, in the famous Psalm 23, is very comforting. This tells us something about God’s care and protection. It brings us peace. It means that we can rely on God with confidence and we don’t have to worry about the future. In the same psalm, we see the image of God as a gracious host.

Things went wrong, however, during Israel’s exile and especially during the three hundred years that passed between the Old and New Testaments. Since then, people portrayed God as a judge who punishes. This view of God is also reflected in some Bible passages. During the rise of Judaism, this misrepresentation of God reached a peak with the Jewish leaders’ emphasis on keeping the law.

Jesus, however, came to change this image of God. Jesus Christ is God in human form. He came to show us how God really is. This is why we should read the Bible from back to front. We must start with the New Testament and learn what Jesus Christ came to teach us about God. It is only when we have come to know God through Jesus Christ that we can go back and look for God in what we read in the Old Testament.

Over the next few days, we will try to find some of the images of God, which Jesus Christ came to show us, in the Old Testament and ask about their meaning for our lives.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.16.20
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