What many non-Jewish Christians don’t get is that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. Oh, we say we get it, we say we believe it, but do we really? When it comes to a discussion of Torah, our words often reveal something entirely different – and we don’t even realize it.
Because we have distanced ourselves from the Jewish roots of our faith, we look down our noses at the Torah of God. I even had a dear lady, completely sincere and with a loving smile on her face and a look of pity in her eyes, misquote Paul as she informed me that the Torah is the law of sin and death.
We so often see the Torah as a bad thing that Jesus came and rescued us from. If that’s true, then it follows that since the ‘God of the Old Testament’ is the One who wrote the Torah, we must need to be rescued from Him as well.
On the surface, I’m sure you will agree that this is so far from the truth that it’s scary. But when we look at the Torah as a bad thing, we must look at its author as bad also. Didn’t Jesus say a good tree cannot produce bad fruit? So if God is good (and I’m sure we all agree His is), then what He gives us is good also. This includes His standard of right living – His instructions, His Torah.
Jesus also said, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father”. Look at that – Jesus referred to God as the Father. As a non-Jewish Christian, I always thought this was something unique to Jesus. That He came and gave us a new perspective of God. But as I’ve studied the Torah and read Jewish commentary, I found this is not true. Many of the Lord’s chosen people view Him as Father.
When we take the time to read our Jewish brethren’s writings, we walk away with a much different picture of the ‘God of the Old Testament’. He is no longer this vengeful, blood-thirsty God. On the contrary, He is merciful, gracious and long-suffering.
The God of the Old Testament is the same God of the New Testament. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He has a standard of right living that we are to strive toward on a daily basis. And when we cannot achieve what our heart longs to do for our Father, He made a way to atone for our failings. Why? Because God’s desire has always been to have a relationship with us.
God is all about relationship. Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and the people of Israel are all proof of this.
Jesus told us that the Torah, the first five books of the bible, can be summed up in two things – love God, love man. When we study Torah based on these two things, a loving relationship with our God and with man (who is made in His image), we clearly see that God is the same from Genesis to Revelation. His Torah speaks volumes of His love and His desire to be in a loving relationship with us.
As I study the month of Elul, from a Jewish perspective, I hear the echo of my Savior’s voice. So much of what is written about this time of introspection sounds like it came from Jesus’ own mouth.
I hope you follow along with me this month as I explore the subjects of repentance and reconciliation – the very theme of the month of Elul, the very theme of our Savior’s life.