Nancy Guthrie has written a new One Year Devotional series – Discovering Jesus in the Old Testament. I missed Cyber Monday, but if you are looking for something for yourself or a stocking stuffer for a loved one, this is a good choice. Nancy drew me in immediately in the introduction as she recounted a life history in the church is which the Old Testament seemed basically file folders of separate moral lessons with little overlap. Do this. Don’t do that. Be like Joseph. Don’t be like Saul. The stories were taught as life lessons or faith lessons but didn’t speak into the whole message of Scripture. For so long in my own life, I didn’t know what to think of Jesus telling the men walking the Emmaus road with him in Luke 24, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”
Over the years, I’ve started filling in the gaps, primarily by sitting under preachers who have taught me Exodus, I Samuel, Jonah, and Ruth through the lens of the gospel. Second, I’ve learned to look up cross references when they are mentioned in my study Bible. When I read a prophesy in Isaiah, then notice the the cross reference to Luke in which Jesus says, “Today this is fulfilled in your hearing,” I have learned something incredibly important about both that OT prophecy and Christ himself. Scripture stops being a disjointed set of moral lessons and starts being the coherent, connected message of God’s good plan for his children from creation in Genesis to the marriage supper of the lamb in Revelation.
If you would like help making those connections, Nancy’s book is a good starting point. Note that it is not a commentary or Bible study. It is a devotional with short, succinct thoughts. I am early in my reading of it, but so far, I’ve been provoked to think about how the creation of woman from man (“bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh”) is directly linked to Christ’s relationship with his church, his Body in the New Testament, especially Ephesians 5. I’m meditating anew on the intimate nature of this relationship after seeing that connection. I also gained insight from reading the story of Cain and Abel in terms of Hebrews 12:24–“ to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.” What message apart from Christ does the blood of Abel speak? And what infinitely better word does Christ’s blood now give us? I had never before made that connection.
The message of each devotional may seem redundant because it’s gospel, gospel, grace, grace, and a little more gospel. Christ this. Cross that. But…um…that’s the point. God started preaching the message of Christ immediately after the fall of man. If you are in need of some simple, gospel saturation (and aren’t we all), this may be a good resource for you.