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  • Writer's pictureElias Paulino

Four Lessons from the Old Testament: Part One

Updated: May 18, 2023

"Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God."– Matthew 4:4

The Bible is a compilation of sixty-six ancient books that covers around 4,000 years of recorded history, and is divided into two categories; Old and New Testament. Very recently, but after many years of failing to read the Old Testament fully, I can finally say that I have, and what a fascinating experience it has been. I personally love the Old Testament. This entire section of the Bible, which has 39 books, its filled with so many stories of ordinary men and women that through their faith and obedience to God, shaped history, challenged kingdoms, performed miracles and wonders, and even set standards and practices that still influence our lives and world today. Through this blog, I'll like to share the four lessons that I learned from reading the entire Old Testament (OT) that really touched my heart and helped me develop a broader understanding of who God is. These lessons are as true and as practical today as when they took place hundreds and thousands of years ago. If you take these lessons, meditate on them, ponder on how they can affect and influence your life today, you too will find the hidden treasures that they hold.

Lesson #1: God hates false worship

I want to start on this lesson by saying that, "hate" is such a strong negative word that my wife and I do not use it in our vocabulary. If you were to be around us, and use this word to describe something like, "I hate rainy days," instantly and automatically my wife or I would tell you not to use that word to describe something you do not like or enjoy. We instead use the word "dislike" better. Now, why am I saying this and how is this related to God? Because God truly hates false worship. There is no other word to best describe, truly reflect and transmit exactly how God feels about false and fake worship. I can literally feel the weight, the fear, and the anger of God just by thinking about how much He dislike the malpractice of worshiping fake gods and gods that are not real and are man-created gods.

The most recurring theme in the entire Old Testament—and I literally mean in every one of those 39 books—is how much God's chosen people engaged in idolatry. I was literally astonished, surprised, confused, and amazed on how much Israel, year after year, generation after generation, got involved in false worship. At first, I couldn't believe it, let alone understand it. Never in a hundred years, I would of imagen that the central theme of the entire Old Testament is about God dealing with the false worship and idolatry of Israel. After reading this whole section of the Bible, it made total sense why the very first commandment God gave Israel was, "You shall have no other gods before Me,"(1). God was setting the most important thing first. God wanted to show Israel what was the number one priority for Him and for the people.

So what is false worship and idolatry and why God hates it so much? False worship and idolatry is when people have faith and show adoration to something or someone other than God. To keep things very simple here, one of the reasons why God hates this practice so much is because worship is always related to the heart and it shows your affection, respect and love towards the person being worshipped. God is a God that promises to bless people, prosper people, and enrich people, but how can He distinguish if you really care for Him and love Him for who He is and not because of the things He gives you? Our ability to worship Him only, shows Him that we truly care and love him. I do not have the time in this blog to dive in into all the specifics, but please learn this truth about life, worship is always tied to life or death. God explicitly told Israel, that their ability to enjoy a full and rich life was tied to their worship to Him only. The consequence of following other gods would be death and destruction. "See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the Lord your God,"(2) and "I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God"(3). When I was reading through the OT, I could clearly see this truth arise again and again. Every time the nation of Israel went through a period of destruction it was always tied to their false worship. Every time they had a period of abundance and life it was tied to their worship to God. And so God has "set before you life and death... therefore choose life."



(1) Exodus 20:3 (NKJV)

(2) Deuteronomy 30:15 (NKJV)

(3) Deuteronomy 30:19-20 (NKJV)

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