Why the Pentateuch is Important
(We are currently taking the students through the first 5 books of the Bible, the Pentateuch. I originally posted this on my personal blog a couple of years ago. Today I'm finding it is just as relevant and real as it was when I originally wrote it.)
Every year we go through the Pentateuch.
Every year I watch God create something out of nothing.
Every year I listen as He chooses a nation to be His own.
Every year I read the stories of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses.
And every year, through their stories, I’m reminded of who God is, because revelation of His character is the point of their lives.
It’s amazing how quickly, how easily I forget. It’s incredible that I can go through these stories, and one month, one week, one day, or even one hour later…I forget. I doubt. I lose sight of the goal, of the One who makes the world go ’round.
Throughout the Pentateuch, what I see is consistent. God chooses, God saves, God makes the impossible possible, and the people mess up. They forget, over and over again all that He has done, all that He has promised, all that they have seen and heard. They choose to believe in their own strength rather than the power and supremacy of God.
And yet…God remains true to who He is. He is faithful to an unfaithful people. He accomplishes and fulfills the purposes and promises He has set.
Not because the people deserved it.
Not because they always believed Him.
Not because the people were good.
God does this because He loves His people. He is not obligated, He is not bound to them, He doesn’t need them.
But He loves them.
Love, when stemming from the One who defines it, changes the way life is lived. It’s no longer lived with “me” at the center, but with “Him” and “they” as the focus. Love takes doubt and smashes it against the foundation of the great I AM. The great I AM cannot be boxed in, cannot ever be fully described or fully known, and yet is ever the same. Love destroys hate, defeats death, casts out fear, and dies for the loved.
And yet I forget all this. So easily. So often. So completely. In the moments, days, and weeks when I’m not feeling well and I start to act like the Grinch, or I feel overwhelmed and start running around like the rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, or I feel as though my life has no meaning and become the Eeyore who sees nothing but gloom and doom – in these times I forget the Gospel. I forget what God has done in the stories of the lives of the people in the Bible I study every day. I forget the faithfulness that God has shown in my life.
And that’s what the Pentateuch does for me. It’s one of many reasons it’s so important to study, to know, to love. The command to remember.
Remember who God is: The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Remember what He’s like: How did He treat the people He chose?
Remember what He’s done: What did He do in their lives?
And finally, what has He done for me?
A life filled with joy is a life filled with Jesus and remembering all that He’s done with and for me. It’s a life that knows, in the words of JJ Heller, “what love really means”.