But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8 NIV).
Friend to Friend
I slid the tater tots into the oven as our thirteen-year-old bounded down the stairs. When he saw his dad in the easy chair by the fireplace with a Bible laying open on his lap, he said, “I already did my Bible reading this morning.”
“What did you read?” I asked casually. Asher opened his mouth to answer only to realize that he didn’t actually remember. So he closed his mouth, turned on his heel, and darted back up the stairs to retrieve his Bible from his bedside table. A few minutes later, we were seated together at the kitchen counter, the pages of Exodus 22 splayed open between us.
“Oh, that’s right,” he said. “Look, I wrote in the margin, God is a God of justice.”
I asked him to tell me what he meant by that, and my youngest read aloud from his Bible, skipping from one highlighted phrase to the next, “If a man steals an ox . . . he shall repay five oxen for an ox. . . . If a man . . . lets his beast loose and it feeds in another man’s field, he shall make restitution from the best in his own field and in his own vineyard.”
Asher summed it up, “Basically, it’s an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. God is strict about consequences. He’s all about justice.”
“Yes,” I said slowly, “God is absolutely all about justice. But He’s also 100% about mercy and grace.” I silently asked God to use His Word to inspire my words as I turned to Romans and read aloud, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (5:8).
While the passage Asher read that morning lays out some good neighborly ground rules for how to treat one another’s belongings, every passage, every story, and every chapter in every book of the Bible has the power to point our hearts and minds to the redemptive work of Christ.
The Old Testament prophecies point to the New Testament Messiah. The first covenant requires the new covenant, sealed not in the blood of an animal sacrifice but in the blood of Jesus. The Levitical priests, who interceded on behalf of the people, were but a foreshadow of Jesus, our forever High Priest. The Passover lamb was another picture of Christ, the eternal “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). And since we cannot perfectly keep the long list of laws laid out for us in the Old Testament, we need our Savior to perfectly pay the debt for our ongoing list of shortcomings and sins.
Exodus 22 is about more than wandering oxen, trampled vineyards, and broken borrowed tools; it’s about the price we must pay for doing wrong, whether on purpose or unknowingly. While these verses revealed to Asher that our God is all about justice, my desire is that we all discover that God is also all about grace. That’s the gospel message, the good news, and it’s tucked throughout the Scriptures.
Of course, it is possible to read the Bible and miss the gospel. Likewise, it is possible to read the Bible and not know the God of the Bible. Pastor James Merritt once wrote, “The primary purpose of reading the Bible is not to know the Bible but to know God.” Every Bible story, every chapter, and every verse points us to Christ. So here’s your invitation: Read The Bible to Know The God of The Bible.
Lord, I want to know You! Reveal Yourself to me as I read Your Word today. I eagerly ask You.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
How is your time in God’s Word these days? Are you reading it to know more or to know God more? Leave a comment and share what you’re reading in the Bible right now.
More from the Girlfriends
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