When I read the Old Testament I feel like I am reading about another world in many ways. The culture and values are a little strange to me. It is a world where idol worship, immediate judgment, and domination are common. Politically I see nations mostly ruled by kings. However, some things are not different. Evil and hate. Love and kindness.

I have written before about how much I am enjoying a book by Philip Yancey called Searching for the Invisible God. In one of his older books titled The Bible Jesus Read Yancey helps to put things into a little more perspective for me.

... I find the Old Testament to be, above all, realistic. When I view a play like Macbeth or King Lear, or a movie like The Godfather or Saving Private Ryan, I encounter a world of evil, violence, and revenge. I feel moved by those experiences because I recognize my world, violet in the playgrounds of Chicago as well as on the battlefields of Europe and Asia. Kids shoot each other at school, terrorists blow up airplanes and buildings, cops pound on handcuffed prisoners.

The Old Testament portrays the world as it is, no holds bared. In its pages you will find passionate stories of love and hate, blood-chilling stories of rape and dismemberment, matter-of-fact accounts of trafficking in slaves, honest tales of the high honor and cruel treachery of war, Nothing is neat and orderly. Spoiled brats like Solomon and Samson get supernatural gifts; a truly good man like Job gets catastrophe. As you encounter these disturbances, you may recoil against them or turn away from a God who had any part in them. The wonderful quality of the Old Testament is that it contains those very responses as well! God anticipates our objections and includes them in his sacred writing.

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