The God of Yesterday, Today, & Forever
by Melissa Schaser, Pastor of Congregational Care
October 7, 2019
I remember the first time I read the Old Testament. I started with Genesis, and I was fascinated by the creation story and the characters I met in its pages. But before long, I started to wonder about some of the stories I encountered. The characters I upheld as models fell short over and over again, I encountered long lists of names that seemed tedious, and I could tell the cultural norms at work were vastly different from life today. So, I stopped reading. Looking back on that time, I now see how much I was missing out on.
The story of the Old Testament is complex. It is an ancient narrative involving specific cultures and complex characters. But at the heart of the Old Testament is the God we worship: A God who is powerful, loving, and who desires to be in relationship with us. Reading the Old Testament certainly presents challenges. However, if we allow the challenges we face in reading the Old Testament to stop us from engaging with it, we can easily lose sight of the God we worship and the will that He has for us.
Throughout the Old Testament, God moves—He engages with humanity in active, intentional ways. God creates us, loves us, claims us, and calls us into relationship with Him. The Old Testament first tells us how God creates the world and humanity to be in relationship with Him. We then watch as God claims a people for His own and frees them from slavery and oppression. God instructs His people on how to have a healthy relationship with Him and with one another. God forgives, heals, and welcomes them into His family. And over and over again, God tell us that He hears His people when they call to Him. This is the God that we meet in the pages of the Old Testament.
This same God sent His Son into the world to demonstrate His love for us. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus lives out the will of His Father. He heals, teaches, rebukes, and loves those He encounters. And Jesus does all of this, because, as He says: “I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father” (John 8:31). Jesus came into the world as God’s very own Son so that we may know and love God our Father even more deeply. Jesus also tells us, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness” (John 12:44-46). Jesus knew that all He did and all He said reflected the glory and will of the God who had been faithfully walking with His people since the very beginning of creation.
Over the course of the coming weeks, we will focus our minds and hearts on the God who we meet in the pages of the Old Testament. We will see how God actively pursues a relationship with humanity and faithfully walks with us in every season of life. We will also see how every action that God takes toward humanity is demonstrated in the life of Jesus, God’s Son.
God desires to be in relationship with us, and He meets us right where we are. Perhaps you are in a season of joy and abundance. If so, praise God. We will celebrate how God provides for us out of the riches of His love. Alternatively, you may be in a time of uncertainty and wandering. We will see how God hears us, shows up for us in times of darkness, and guides us into His marvelous light. We hope that you will join us and that together we will come to know and love the God of yesterday, today, and forever.