Three awesome stories from the Old Testament
The Old Testament is definitely not boring!
How well do you know the Bible?
I like to think I know the New Testament pretty well, but I really struggle to get my head around the Old Testament. The Bible is so big and spans so much of history! I often neglect studying the Old Testament because it’s so confusing.
But as Christians, we should be devoting ourselves to studying ALL of God’s word regularly.
Why read the Old Testament?
The Old Testament is important because it describes the history of God’s people, the Israelites, in the generations leading up to Jesus. These people were chosen by God to be his special nation, set apart from the rest of the world and demonstrating his power to all the other nations. He gave them laws to follow, but he also gave them the promise that one day, someone would come to save them from their enemies once and for all. Of course, we know that that person was Jesus, and he doesn’t save us from our earthly enemies, but from something much greater - the sin that prevents us from having a relationship with God.
We can learn so much about our creator and saviour from reading the Old Testament, and we learn how we should act in response to his grace and greatness. Here are some weird, wacky and amazing stories from the Old Testament that should inspire you to get reading!
The enemy commander with leprosy
In 2 Kings 5, you can find the story of Naaman, a commander of an army in a kingdom opposing Israel. At this time, Elisha was a prophet in Israel. Naaman contracted the horrible skin disease leprosy. Elisha had a reputation of being able to heal people, so Naaman’s wife’s servant, a captive from Israel, suggested he pay Elisha a visit to get healed.
So Naaman visited Elisha and was instructed to wash himself seven times in the Jordan River. At first he is skeptical, but then he tries it out and lo and behold, he’s healed!
But the story doesn’t end there! It gets even crazier, and God’s grace and power is shown even more! Open your Bible to 2 Kings 5 right now and check it out.
The Israelite queen in Persia
The book of Esther narrates an incredible story of a woman of God who showed great courage. Esther was an Israelite exile in Persia, who was married off to the king after he decided his first wife, Vashti, was not right for the job. Esther had an uncle, Mordecai, and Mordecai also found favour with the king when he overheard two young men plotting to assassinate the king, and informed Esther. Both Esther and Mordecai were honoured for their role in protecting the king. However, it wasn’t long before things turned sour for them, and for the Israelites in Persia. After Mordecai refused to pay honour to a high-ranking political advisor named Haman, Haman convinced the king he should be allowed to exterminate the Israelites from the Empire! It was up to Esther to save her people…
This book of the Old Testament is really fascinating, because it is the only book in the Bible where God is not explicitly mentioned. However, Esther’s faith is evident throughout the story, and God’s care for his people is clear. Check out the book of Esther for a dramatic and encouraging read!
The talking donkey!
In Numbers 22, you can find the story of Balaam and his famous talking donkey. At this point in the history of Israel, the Israelites are camping on the plains of Moab. The Moabite king has heard about how powerful they are, and he is afraid, so he sends a man named Balaam to curse Israel. But God comes to Balaam. God tells Balaam not to go, but Balaam sets out on his donkey.
God becomes very angry, so sends an angel to block Balaam’s path. Balaam, however, can’t see the angel - only the donkey can! And it is terrified. Balaam beats the donkey three times to try and get it to keep moving, but it won’t. At that point, God opens the donkey’s mouth, and it asks Balaam why he keeps beating it!
From that point, God’s power is revealed, and Balaam realises his sin. Read the whole of the story in Numbers 22!
The Old Testament is weird sometimes, yes, but it’s also awesome. You can clearly see God’s greatness throughout all the recounts, and his wonderful character is constantly on display. What a gift the Bible is!