This afternoon, I finished my final lecture in the subject entitled Old Testament Survey. It was a very long 29 lectures, with so so much information within the teaching, but I loved every minute of it. Once again, I am riding that feeling that I haven’t taken everything in, but as I’ve said before, I have learnt that it sits in there and digs in deep (The roots of my tree planted by the water are going in deep), ready for me to draw on it in the future when I need it. :0)
One fun part was memorising the minor prophets. The point was made that we remember things best when we teach it to ourselves in the silliest fashion. I don’t know how this is going to come across on paper, but here goes…
Imagine a hose (Hosea).. now imagine a jewel (sounds like JOEL) pushing it’s way through the hose. It flies out the end towards a target, but misses it … a miss (Amos). Now imagine a whale … makes you think of… (Jonah). The whale has an eye patch … Oh, bad eye (Obadiah). The Whale now steps up to a microphone (Micah) and clears his throat (Nahum). He’s nervous… he needs to have a cup-a-tea (Habakkuk). Look into the cup of tea and you’ll see a car, a particular car… a Zeffa (Zephaniah). Zoom in on the car and you’ll see a rather unattractive lady is driving .. a bit of a hag to be honest (Haggai). She isn’t valued by others, she’s ‘not work a Zack’ (Zechariah). This whole thing has been quite the malachi (Malachi).
I told you it was going to be silly…. but it actually works.. I doubt I’ll ever forget the canonical order of the minor prophets again. ha ha !!
I also came to realise how much Veggie Tales taught me in the years that I inflicted my children with their DVDs. A lot of Sunday school teaching can give quite a brushed over teaching of the well known bible stories. eg. Cute little Ark’s with giraffe heads sticking out the windows and monkeys hanging off the sides. Within the teaching of the book of Jonah, many probably do read the story and believe that he didn’t want to obey God’s directive because he was scared of the Ninevan people… because they were wild, rough and troublesome, when in fact he himself did not have a clean heart towards them. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to go because he thought they wouldn’t listen to him… he didn’t want to go in case they DID listen to him. Jonah KNEW that God was a good, gracious and merciful God and that he would forgive them of all wrong and bless them. Jonah didn’t want them to be blessed, so he ran away…. literally in the opposite direction. And, well, you know the rest of the story.
Another fascinating thing that I gleaned from OT survey (particularly in the book of Judges, but also in most of the minor prophets) was the cycles that the people of that time went through.
I think I’ve said it before, but I would strongly recommend bible college to ANYONE who is keen to grow in their walk with The Lord. I had already developed a love for bible study over the last few years, but this is just like that.. on steroids… LOVE IT !!!! I think the biggest take-home from the OT is God’s faithfulness. It’s just awesome to sit back and soak in that knowledge…. KNOWING that He is so faithful, merciful, trustworthy,true.. and so much more. It really does make you feel that you can handle anything that life throws at you when you have that knowledge on-board.
Historical content is something I love delving into. There’s just so much to be gleaned from the OT, but when you marry the historical content up with the story, the depth of learning expands amazingly.
I know a lot of us have maps and charts in the back of our bibles, but memorising those maps and charts can hugely magnify your depth of learning. Knowing how close, or far, people travelled can add an entirely different dimension to what you are reading. We all know that the Israelites wandered in the wilderness for 40 years when it was, in fact, an 11 day journey, but it really brings it home exactly how CLOSE they were to the promised land when you consult the map in conjunction with reading it.
I could really go on & on, but I’d really rather sign off here, hopefully having stirred up a little bit of additional interest in the Word, but particularly the OT.. Dive into it peeps, it’s beyond rich in it’s content. If you aren’t able, time-wise or financially, to be able to commit to a year of bible college, there are great bible studies that can start you off. Beth Moore does a fantastic study on Daniel, Esther, Deuteronomy … to name just a few.
Within my own church, you can attend Bible College one evening a week and complete two subjects over the course of a year, so see if there’s something in your area that offers something similar. You’ll grow in so many ways… not just in your personal walk with The Lord, but in your marriage, friendships, work-life, family relationships etc etc.