"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."
And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."
I absolutely love the Old Testament. This was not the case the first time I picked up a Bible with the intention of reading it. In fact, the very first time I decided, really decided, to plow through the whole Book, I did not even believe a word it said. Not a single word. I only knew at the time that I had reached the end of me and yet my heart kept pumping and my life plodded on. So I cried out to a God I did not believe in, hoping that if He was real, He would show Himself to me.
He did. But that is a story for another day. . .
Thinking back on that first, painful journey through the Old Testament, it amuses me to see clearly now what was hidden to me then. As I know now, the entire Word of God is a revelation of Him: His nature, His plans, His ways, and His character. As such, Jesus Christ is in it from the very beginning straight on through to the end. Naturally, the first time I read it, I did not see this because I didn't even believe in Him, much less know who He really was! As I have grown to know Him, it has become a favorite pastime to search for glimpses of Him when I read or listen to my audio Bible, especially in writings penned before He was born.
For example, I was excited the first time I realized that He is directly referred to as early as Genesis 3:15 as well as awed to understand that God's plan for redemption was voiced within heartbeats of the first sin. I will always wonder if, when "the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision" in Genesis 15:1, it was that the same Word that John wrote about when he penned, "In the beginning, the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning?" (John 1:1).
Then there are the many pictures of redemption, sacrifice, and holiness: the faithful remnant preserved in the Ark; Abraham's willingness to sacrifice the son of the promise; God's provision of a substitute; Joseph who suffered unjustly then was raised up to rule; the Passover and the blood of the Lamb that marked them as exempt from destruction; the deliverance from slavery into freedom. . there are so many, and these phrases barely brush against the whole.
Many glimpses I merely wonder about -- whether the bread and water fed to Elijah during his despair when Jezebel was threatening him (1 Kings 19:6) was a symbol of the Bread of life and Living water who sustains us... and I could go on, but I won't. If you haven't read it this way, I don't want to spoil the story for you!
The fact of the matter is, the more I learn and understand about the Lord Christ, the more completely I love Him. As some of this head knowledge has trickled down to initiate massive changes in the state of my heart, I have found that He is truly my all, my reason for being, and my greatest source of comfort. I have begun to see that ultimate surrender is also ultimate freedom, for when I let go of the need to control my circumstances, I am freed in ways that are difficult to explain. In the main, I am free from worry and anxiety. When they begin to creep up on my, I often realize that my mind is fixed, not on God, but on whatever problems began to stir these emotions. When I can rectify that and fix my mind once more steadfastly on Him, I find His promise to be true: He really does keep in perfect peace the one whose mind is steadfast, because she trusts in Him (See Isaiah 26:3). By letting go of my rights, I am free from my own foolish whims and moods. By letting go of my schedule, I find I am free to do His will which turns out to be more fulfilling than what I filled my time with before!
Not that I have mastered these things, mind you. I have, however, achieved them for brief, wonderful moments in time and am thoroughly hooked. Just as I find joy in the revelation of my Savior in His Word, I find great joy in the revelation of Him in my plain, unremarkable, mundane life.
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14