Lord's Day Liturgy

Not New and Improved

Sometimes you hear people making an exaggerated difference between the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament. They’ll say the OT revelation is of a God severe and hard, the NT revelation is of a God tender and warm. We know that this isn’t true. The NT anticipates God’s judgment and wrath with an explicitness the OT prophets barely dreamed of.

A good reading of the OT also knows better than to call the Lord cold or cruel. He is holy, and He judges sin, but He loves to point out that His steadfast love endures forever.

It really stood out to me a number of years ago reading through some of the Omnibus curriculum. When I was a kid in school, I thought reading was dumb. I was dumb. By the time I got excited about reading in college, I gave myself to the Bible and theology books, which is good, but unnecessarily narrow. By God’s grace we don’t have to choose steak or butter, we can spoon butter all over the steak (which is an illustration that breaks down).

Anyway, Omnibus I and IV are focused on Ancient civilization, from creation up to about the time of the NT. The curriculum includes some Old Testament books, but also the Iliad and the Odyseey and The Epic of Gilgamesh. We read the histories of Herodotus and Thucydides. And in all those non-Bible books, we read about the gods of men. The gods of men are unpleasant at best, brutal and obscene at worst. They can’t control themselves, they can’t be trusted, they can’t give an account for their behavior.

Yahweh/Kurios, the Lord, is sovereign and good. Yahweh says, “I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and show mercy on whom I will show mercy” (Exodus 33:19), and then He actually is gracious and merciful. The life and sacrifice of God’s Son demonstrated God’s love par excellence, but however different His character is from idols, it isn’t new and improved. Praise God!

How precious is Your steadfast love, O God!
The children of mankind take refuge in the
shadow of Your wings.
They feast on the abundance of Your house.
(Psalm 36:7-8)