Why Should We Study the Old Testament?

Psalm 111:2 provides an infallible answer to that question.   “Great are the works of the LORD, studied by all who delight in them.”

The Old Testament is absolutely jam-packed with historical accounts of the mighty works of God.

  • Creation
  • The flood and deliverance of Noah
  • The dispersion of people from the tower of Babel
  • The call of and covenant with Abram
  • The rescue of Lot
  • The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah
  • The miraculous birth of Isaac
  • The protection of Hagar and Ishmael
  • Jacob’s dream of a ladder reaching to heaven
  • Joseph’s rise to power in Egypt
  • The burning bush of Mount Horeb
  • The plagues, the Passover, and the Exodus
  • Pillars of cloud and fire
  • The parting of the Red Sea
  • Bitter waters made sweet
  • Bread from heaven
  • Water from rocks in the wilderness
  • Thunders, lightnings, and quakings around Mount Sinai
  • The Law, the Tabernacle, and the Priesthood
  • The earth opening its mouth and swallowing the household of Korah
  • Balaam being taught a lesson by his donkey
  • The conquest of Canaan
  • The raising up of judges to deliver the penitent people of Israel
  • The tender provision for and healing of Ruth
  • The birth of Samuel to previously barren Hannah
  • The toppling of the Philistine idol Dagon before the ark of the covenant
  • The rejection of Saul and anointing of David as king
  • The unprecedented wisdom granted to Solomon
  • The intense glory and presence that filled the Temple
  • Withholding rain, reversing death, and sending fire from heaven through Elijah
  • Powerful demonstrations of divine sovereignty over the kingdoms of men
  • The striking down of 185,000 Assyrians in a single night
  • The providential uses of Esther, Ahasuerus, Mordecai, and Haman
  • The challenging answers from a whirlwind to Job
  • The overwhelming manifestations of divine glory to Isaiah and Ezekiel
  • The messages of judgment and hope from weeping Jeremiah
  • The humiliation of Nebuchadnezzar
  • The prophetic dreams and terrifying visions of Daniel
  • The parabolic use of Hosea and Gomer to demonstrate the heartache of spiritual adultery
  • The locust infestation prophetically applied by Joel
  • The words of Amos, two years before the earthquake
  • The pronouncements of judgment against Edom from Obadiah
  • The disciplining of Jonah and the compassion shown to penitent Nineveh
  • The offer to gather, protect and forgive as a Shepherd-King through Micah
  • The dark oracle of Nahum against Nineveh
  • The straightforward dialogue about justice, sovereignty, and judgment with Habakkuk
  • The “day of the LORD” implications preached by Zephaniah
  • The restoration and rebuilding promises provided to Haggai
  • The prescription for discouragement and despondency delivered through Zechariah
  • The prophetic call to awake from cynicism and complacency via Malachi

“Great are the works of the LORD, studied by all who delight in them.”

God, in his wisdom, has provided thousands of years worth of history to be studied.

The more we study the great works of God, the more we delight in the God behind the great works.

The more we delight in the God behind the great works, the more our present perspective is impacted and our future trajectory is shaped.

With “whole hearts” (Psalm 111:1) we are moved to say with the psalmist:

  • Praise the LORD!   I will give thanks to the LORD. (Psalm 111:1)
  • Full of splendor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever. (Psalm 111:3)
  • God is gracious and merciful. (Psalm 111:4)
  • He provides food for those who fear him; he remembers his covenant forever. (Psalm 111:5)
  • He has shown his people the power of his works. (Psalm 111:6)
  • The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy. (Psalm 111:7)
  • Because God is trustworthy, I will faithfully respond in uprightness. (Psalm 111:8)
  • Holy and awesome is his name! (Psalm 111:9)
  • The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. (Psalm 111:10)
  • Walking in God’s wisdom will provide insight to the meaning of my life. (Psalm 111:10)
  • God’s praise endures forever! (Psalm 111:10)

“Great are the works of the LORD, studied by all who delight in them.”

Are you suffering from a lack of genuine thankfulness?   Does God seem distant?   Do you feel despondent?   Have you been walking in selfish shortsightedness?   Has it been a while since you were blown away by the awesome holiness of God’s name?   Have you been stumbling through life like a fool?   Do you feel lost?   Does daily life seem to lack meaning?   Do you yearn to praise and depend upon someone or something greater than yourself?

If so, how long has it been since you studied, delighted in, were impacted and shaped by God’s mighty works preserved in the Old Testament?

One comment

  1. These were not just written "for our learning," but that we "might have hope." Romans 15:4 – "For whatever things were written before were written for our learning,that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope." So often the last part of this verse gets left out of sermons. But, the OT is truly a source of hope. Thank you for your admonition, Jason.