Understanding the Context
We need to understand that there is really nothing old about this Testament because all of it is still relevant in modernity and links beautifully with the New Testament. Without the Old Testament or correctly known as the Hebrew Scriptures, the New would be irrelevant, not least exceedingly difficult to understand.
Psalm 23 is situated in the Old Testament. During more than 40 years of ministry, many people have related to me that diving into the Old Testament is a risky and scary thing to do, so it must be avoided like the plague! They say the main reason for this is that it seems to be a lot about getting rid of people, wars, and exiles all in God’s name. When we try to weigh up a loving God with the stories of violence we find it difficult to make sense of it all, which creates many more unanswered questions and makes it easier for us to avoid the whole book. Moreover, most of us would rather shy away from all the horror of the OT to concentrate on the good news of the gospel in the NT, which is quite understandable. The problem with avoiding the Hebrew Scriptures is that it limits our understanding of the Gospels of Jesus Christ, who he is, and why he came.
Jesus of Nazareth knew, used, and quoted the Hebrew Scriptures. He understood the law and obeyed it in daily life and taught and interpreted the law in the way that God had always intended. Jesus taught nothing brand new he simply explained the law as God intended it to be implemented, with love being the focus. Jesus’ re-interpretation had nothing to do with killing but had lots to do with turning the other cheek and loving one’s enemy. It never had anything to do with selfishness but has everything to do with feeding the poor and hungry. It has nothing to do with keeping strict laws, or with an eye for an eye vengeance system. Conversely, Jesus’ re-interpretation of the law has everything to do with forgiving and loving everyone. Luke 11:2-4 (NIV) Forgive our trespasses and we forgive those who have trespassed against us. In other words. We forgive those who have hurt us. Jesus turned popular belief on its head displaying the way of love – which has always been God’s way of doing things.
If we approach the Hebrew scriptures/Old Testament at face value without applying the eight principles, the lessons will be easily misunderstood. This ancient book is full of God’s love, justice, grace, and mercy towards all, and Psalm 23 is within the OT and echoes God’s love. The OT sets the stage for God to show humanity, who he is, how he feels toward us, and the plan for saving the world. The OT heralds the coming Messiah – Jesus Christ and the NT confirms him. It is there we see the beginning of time as we know it, and the ending of time in the prophetic (foretelling) writings. The Hebrew scriptures help us to touch base with God and the New Testament helps us to know God intimately.
Knowing Jesus is Knowing God
All the books of the Old Testament have links to the New, which demonstrates to us that knowing Jesus is knowing God. Through the birth of Christ, the cross, and the resurrection, we can enjoy a relationship with Jesus. If we are acquainted with Jesus Christ, then we are acquainted with God who is our humble Creator as well. We in fact dance with the Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in celebration of the universal beauty and diversity of all creation of which you are an integral part. Jesus said, if you have seen me, you have seen the Father -John 14:9-14, also, the Father and I are One (unity) in John 10:30. Therefore, when we come into a relationship with Jesus, we also come into a relationship (unity) with God who is the Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. To go one step further – God lives in you! Colossians 1:27 To them God has chosen to make known among all peoples the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
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Paula Rose has a Bachelor of Pastoral Counselling and Theology, Vision Christian University, USA Master of Arts In Counselling & Professional Development, specializing in Spiritual Abuse The University of Derby, UK.
BACP Life Coaching Course, Bristol, UK, and a life member of (ISFP) The International Society of Female Professionals.
Paula Rose Parish is a Pastor, Author, and founder, of Hope. Faith. Love. She studied at the University of Derby and received a Master of Arts in Counselling in Professional Development. Over the years Paula Rose has served as a pastor, chaplain, counsellor, coach-led workshops and retreats, and spoken worldwide on Christian spirituality. Author of over 100 articles and two books, Paula Rose continues to write on the spiritual life. Paula Rose is adding a string to her bow and is presently reading Health and Wellness. She has four grown children, five grandchildren, and lives in South Wales, UK.
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