When the second quarter of the school year began week, my 7th and 8th grade Biblical Studies class started a new study unit on Old Testament History. We utilize great material from Concordia Publishing House called Voyages: Exploring God's Word, which includes colorful student workbooks.
Such a course might sound a bit dry, or perhaps boring. After all, the Old Testament has a reputation for being law-oriented and irrelevant to today's world. However, my class's experience with the Old Testament doesn't support that stiff view of the Old Testament. Through the study of Scripture itself, we recognize that every story in the Old Testament presents threads of the Gospel and eye-opening relevance to both our personal life and society today.
The first two lessons in the unit were marvelous examples of this fact. In Genesis 1 and 2 we read about how God made and ordered the world that we live in. God didn't create and then just let go. He created in such a manner that our entire existence would have a pattern that was sustained by the design of God Himself: day and night; seven day weeks; a cyclical day of rest; time and seasons; partners fit for every species; marriage; and so forth.
In Genesis 3 we read of the fall into sin and can only imagine how disappointed God must have been. He took great care in creating the human race and providing an Eden-life for people. All that Adam and Eve needed to do was to fear, love, trust, and obey God the Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, above all things. Fortunately, God came back to the garden to speak to Adam and Eve, in spite of the fact that He knew of their disobedience and sin. And while He informed them of the consequence of their sin ("for the wages of sin is death") He also provided the hope of a deliverer, the seed of the woman (Genesis 3:15) Who would one day crush Satan's head.
In the meantime God continued to show His love to Adam and Eve. He gave them clothes made from animal skins. Yes, He killed animals to cover the humans. Almost like a foreshadowing of how His Son Jesus would someday die to cover the sins of all humans. [In Holy Baptism we "put on Christ."] And He would chase them out of that beautiful garden so that they could die a physical death and have the opportunity to receive new life in Heaven with Him someday. In other words, that they might live eternally with Him in everlasting bliss. Whatever else was to come along in their long lives, they would turn to God as the bringer of their redemption, and God would forgive and renew them in His grace.
Reading with Christian eyes, we see that Old Testament History is really an account of God's grace to the human race. It's our story. Thanks be to God for such a gift!