Reading Reflections: The Heart of the Old Testament

In preparation for a class I am teaching for Belhaven University, I read Ronald Youngblood’s The Heart of the Old Testament: A Survey of Key Theological Themes (Baker Academic, 1998).  Here are some lines which caught my attention:

“For the people of God in the Old Testament period, practicing the presence of God was life itself” (p.10).

“The monotheistic ideals of Israel’s religion characterized it from the earliest days. Israel’s Creator God is portrayed in majestic grandeur in the very first verse of Genesis. His existence is assumed rather than argued. He is placed outside the universe and above it as its Creator” (p.12).

“God monopolized Abraham to the extent that he had neither time nor room for competing deities, whether real or imaginary” (p.13).

“As one of the great themes close to the heart of the Old Testament, the sovereignty of God needs to be reaffirmed by people individually and collectively in our own day. If the deification of a man–however powerful he might be–was a temptation to the pharaohs of ancient Egypt, the humanization of God is no less tantalizing a tendency in our modern scientific age. Current patronizing references to God are appalling and blasphemous, to say the least. To call God ‘the man upstairs’ or ‘the someone up there who likes me’ is to display a deplorable lack of understanding concerning His nature” (p.20).

“Our creatureliness at the hands of an all-wise Creator should temper our tendency to complain about the circumstances in which we sometimes find ourselves” (p.22).

“One of the themes of the book of Ruth is the glorious concept that the arms of God’s love are not so short that they cannot enfold a Moabite maiden” (p.35).

“God and His creatures do not come to the conference table as equals” (p.43).

“Every time we try to squeeze God into preconceived theological molds we think in terms of a deity that is something other, and therefore less, than the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord is greater than our fondest imaginings” (p.75).

“The Old Testament is full of accounts of men and women who believed in God, who committed their lives to Him, who depended on Him in times of victory and joy as well as in times of defeat and sorrow” (p.91).

“Only in the one true God does faith find a trustworthy refuge” (p.93).

“Fastened to a rude cross on a rugged hill outside a rebellious city, Christ became the ultimate object of faith for a dying thief as well as for countless men and women and boys and girls who have since followed in his train” (p.99).

Good stuff!  The book was worth my effort and time.

What are you reading this month?

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