Approaching a new year its easy to look back and see what has happened to lead me to where I stand now. Looking behind I can see each and every step taken to bring to this specific moment of my life, in this specific place, at this specific time.
Its really no different when we take a look back at our spiritual heritage too. When we open up the Old Testament and read about the old covenant and study it, we can stand back and see how it has all lead to Jesus’ birth, life, death, resurrection and the forming of a new covenant with God.
God has slowly over time revealed more of Himself, more of His will and more of His kingdom to each of us. And in the same way He has revealed more to us under His new covenant (Hebrews 12:22-24) than He did to those under the old covenant (Hebrews 12:18-21). And with this revelation comes an even greater blessing, we can approach God as in the loving embrace of a father, no longer as a distant figure.
But that doesn’t mean that the old covenant had no purpose, in fact it is the complete opposite. The Old Covenant provided the foundations for our moral and ethical standards. The book of Genesis sets the stage for the rest of the Bible: Creation (1:1-2:25), the fall of man (3:1-3:24), God’s mercy (7:1-8:22, 19:17 – 33), and God’s covenant with Abraham (15:18).
We also learn about the nature of God in the Old Testament. We read of His holiness, His righteousness and His faithfulness. We see God show this nature through His interactions with Israel and the Prophets.
These interactions are the footsteps we see behind us that brought us to the new covenant. The sacrifices, the Law, the priests and prophets all point us to something exciting. They point us to the New Covenant in the blood of Jesus and the need for it.
Throughout the Old Testament one thread continues; mans inability to reconcile himself with God. The New Covenant takes the burden off of our continual sacrifice and puts it on Jesus, the final sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins.
With His sacrifice Jesus lifted the weight of the Law from our shoulders. He reconnected us directly to God, making it possible to live everyday with Him. Jesus built a bridge for us to cross the chasm that sin had rent between humanity and God. We abide in grace and mercy in the New Covenant, but our understanding of how great a gift that is would be impossible to comprehend without a grasp on the Old Covenant, and where it brought us to.