We are doing this mega series at Cornerstone right now called Alive.  Yesterday, Rusty preached on the Old Testament and the importance of understanding it in order to fully understand the New Testament.  Personally, I love the Old Testament.  I love to study it, because it is so amazing to watch God unfold His plan of salvation.  At one time I event thought about doing my Master’s studies in Old Testament, but I just couldn’t pull myself away from youth ministry.

I was having this conversation yesterday afternoon with an amazing group of girls as we began our study of Erwin McManus’ book Uprising.  So many people think that God is all about rules and the “Thou shall nots,” but really He is all about grace and mercy. Erwin says it so beautifully,

“God has been so misinterpreted.  He has been cast as the divine legalist, the eternal killjoy.  It’s as if God spends time in eternity designing straitjackets and molding shackles just for you….God is not a warden, He is a deliverer.  And so earnest is He about you freedom that He was willing to be taken captive and crucified on your behalf just so you could run free.” (Uprising, p. 11)

The entire Old Testament is the story of God’s grace. His deliverance. His hesed.

“Hesed” is the Hebrew word for mercy, and it literally means “the consistent, ever-faithful, relentless, constantly-pursuing, lavish, extravagant, unrestrained, furious love of our Father God.”  Man, if that’s not intense, I don’t know what is.

Throughout the Old Testament, Israel fails over and over.  It is a cycle they cannot get out of.  Israel breaks the Law–punishment comes–Israel repents–God forgives and restores them–Israel breaks the Law again–punishment comes…. It just keeps going on.  But, God never gives up on them.  He always forgives and restores Israel.  And, it’s not becuase they deserve it.  It’s becasue He LOVES them.  It gets me so excited, because this is my story, too.

All of this keeps bringing me back to Psalm 119.  I can’t seem to get it out of my head (which is probably a good thing).  All day yesterday the words of the psalmist were rolling around in my head, “Oh, how I love your Law!  I meditate on it all day long…How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (v.97,103).  The Law the psalmist is referring to is the Torah, the first five books of the Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Number, and Deuteronomy).  Those books have been so overlooked by Christians in favor of the New Testament.  But, we can’t ignore them.  They are the life-giving words of our Father.  Live in them and let them make you alive!

Just for some inspiration (and a little entertainment), here are some pictures from First Saturday this past weekend.  It’s the Word being brought to life!