The Heart of the Old Testament

BOOK REVIEW

5

TheHeart of the Old Testament

Youngblood’sbook TheHeart of the Old Testament 2nd Edition, isa puissant publication that seeks to provide an insight concerningGod in the Old Testament. Throughout the entire history of humanity,questions about God are the most incessant. Many individualsincluding theologians have disputed the manifestation of God.Consequently, a debate has consistently emerged with two factiongroups that include people who believe in God’s presence and thosethat refute this notion. This paper seeks to review the God revealedin the Old Testament through the perspective of Youngblood’s book.The scope of the paper will focus on what impresses me about God inYoungblood`s book.

Youngblood begins writing his book by introducing a mind blowingquestion of whether there is one God as described by the OldTestament. An interesting factor disclosed to me by the initialchapter is the idea that despite the disagreements depicted in theOld Testament to elude the notion that God is the only Supreme Being,he ultimately reveals himself to the Israelites as the only God.Youngblood (1998) divulges that monotheism was often challenged bymany incidents in the Old Testament. Such happenings had the abilityto influence the Israelites towards doubting their God. A case inpoint is their captivity in Egypt, a polytheistic nation in whichmost people believed in different gods. Such an environment wouldsway the Israelites to resisting the presence of one God. However,God divulges himself and walks them out of the state of captivity. He later gives them the Ten Commandments asserting ‘’ You shallhave no other gods before me’’ (Duet 5: 7 Exodus 20:3).Thecommandment was instant that Israelites were to have no other gods.One interesting factor I noted was that God was able to reveal thathe is the only God.

The sovereignty of God is another interesting aspect discussed byYoungblood. The supremacy of God makes him have authority therefore,he can do whatever he pleases. I have talked to individuals whobelieve that the notion the Lord does what he delights can beperceived as dictatorial. In my opinion, however, I think that themanner in which Youngblood depicts the God of the Old Testament asSovereign is believable and motivating. Youngblood discusses asignificant aspect of God’s sovereignty which is creation. TheAlmighty chose to create man in his own image. As a result, he hasthe authority to do whatever he desires with his creation(Youngblood, 1998).

Inthe Old Testament books, the word faith is a rarity, only used on afew occasions. Youngblood, however, in his analysis of the concept,substitutes and encourages different meanings of the topic of faith.Youngblood explains that faith in itself can be described as both abelief and way of life. Thought-provoking elements are howevernoticed in the Old Testament. Believers are urged to strengthen theirfaith. Unconditional belief in God is seen as beneficial tobelievers. The Israelites, according to Youngblood trusted and hadfaith in God but in certain circumstances looked to other kingdomsand communities in which little faith existed. In turn, this led totheir downfall and realization that it is only through strong faithand dependence on God that all can be delivered.

Youngbloodalso lays emphasis on the adage that faith had no meaning if keptfaintly and practiced without any belief or heart. Dependence onsecondary gods practiced by kings of both Israel and Judah provedcostly and portrayed God in a negative light. He goes on to maintainthat faith must be practiced at all times. A good example of strongand everlasting faith is that of Abraham. Youngblood emphasizes thefact that he (Abraham) had explicit faith in God that he left hiscountry, friends, and family and settled in a land completely unknownto him. It can be stated that Abraham acted in such a manner due tothe guidance of God. His faith too was tested when God ordered him tosacrifice Isaac his only son conceived during old age. Otheroutstanding leaders who exemplified true faith, trust and belief inGod included Moses and David. When Youngblood pinpoints David, apicture of him slaying Goliath a giant said to be over 10 feet tallarmed with only a sling comes to mind. David at the time was just buta young boy, but his faith in God saw him through (Youngblood, 1998).

Iwas also impressed by how Youngblood depicted God in the OldTestament as a redeemer. The book projects the manner in which Godactively took part in the redemption of the Israelites. Foremost, thedeliverance of the Israelites from captivity in Egypt portrayed thatGod was indeed a liberator. Youngblood further discloses that Godredeemed the Israelites by intervening in the many battles theyfought. The redeeming attribute of God is significant.

Conclusion

Theabove discussion has presented various aspects that were appealing tome after reading Youngblood’s book. I must confess that the bookprovides an affirmation of the fact that God is the only true God andhis sovereignty should not be doubted despite the existence manycontroversies. The book is also prolific in building one’s faith.

Reference

Youngblood,R. (`1998). TheHeart of the Old Testament. Baker Publishing Group.

The Heart of the Old Testament

TheHeart of the Old Testament

TheHeart of the Old Testament is a book written by Ronald Youngblood. Itis a clear outline of Youngblood’s view and approach to the OldTestament. He pinpoints the nine primary themes of the Old Testamentin an attempt to indicate the similarity that exists between the Oldand New Testament. According to Youngblood, the irrelevance accordedto the Old Testament is not entirely accurate. The nine themesaddressed by Youngblood include sovereignty, monotheism, election,redemption, faith, law, theocracy, election, and sacrifice.Throughout his book, Youngblood describes God giving him traits asportrayed in the Holy Scriptures. The book is straightforward andeasy to read regardless of one’s age, culture, and lifestyle.

Thetheme of monotheism as described by Youngblood defines God as theonly living God “…God, and there is no other” (Isaiah 45:22).Many forces of the universe oppose the existence of God, buteventually, everyone believes that a higher power exists (Youngblood,1998). Youngblood presses that the relevance of God’s presence bothin theory and in practice is something that no ideal Christian candeny. The story of how the Israelites were aware that God existedthrough their temptations is used to enforce the theme of monotheism.While living in the foreign lands, the Israelites became highlytempted to copy their bad neighbors who created idols and bowedbefore them. The book, however, states that God is above all creationas he is the creator and hence deserves the title “Eternal God.”No tangible or intangible object can be likened to God. Even theoriessuch as pantheism, materialism, or polytheism cannot adequatelyexplain the greatness of God. In the Old Testament, God is the solepower, and his supremacy goes before everything else.

RonaldYoungblood attributes unyielding faithfulness to God. In the OldTestament, (Exodus 34:6) God declares himself as one who abounds intruthfulness. The scriptures reveal faithfulness as one of God’ssuper traits as he acts according to his basic personality. InPsalms, David affirms the fairness of God also stating that hisdecrees are just (Ps 33:4). In verse 36 David refuses to put limitsto the exceeding faithfulness of God. David went through a lot ofsuffering and was prosecuted out rightly. His story reveals thedepths to which God’s authenticity can go, and his acknowledgmentof the fact God was faithful through it all was a real testimony ofthe great works of God.

Youngblooddescribes God as sovereign which means that he is the supreme, andultimate legal authority in the whole universe. By sovereignty, theauthor implies that nothing can exist outside or be viewed as notbeing subject to his authority. The trait is seen right from thestory of it in Genesis. God was passionately involved in the processof creation, and he loved his creation so much that right after thefall of man he planned to redeem the human race. The story of Joshuain the scriptures also points to a God who rules above earthly kings.The Israelites were afraid of entering Jericho under the leadershipof Joshua, but God had already delivered the city into their hands.The Israelites were able to fully rely on the providence of God andin the process his sovereignty was seen.

Theact of redemption is told in the story of Moses and how he freed theIsraelites from being persecuted by the Egyptians. God is consideredas the mighty deliverer in the book of Exodus. The work ofdeliverance fulfilled his words in Exodus 6:6 where he promises theIsraelites through Moses that he will redeem them with hisoutstretched arm from slavery in Egypt. The book of Exodus also setsthe stage for the deliverance of sins by Jesus Christ at the cross.God delivered the people so as to form a community of believers whowere entirely his. (Exodus 6:7). In the ancient times, all thecommunities had their gods, but the Israelites were God’s chosengeneration whose lifestyle entailed obedience of his decrees andcommands. From the story of redemption we see a God who does notabandon his people but after deliverance forms an ongoingrelationship which was his sole purpose for the Israelites.

WhenGod gave Moses the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai, he poses as ajealous God who expects obedience from his people. He was angered bythe fact that the Israelites worshiped the golden calf in the absenceof Moses. The Law was meant to guide the lifestyle of his chosenpeople, and his jealousy is seen from the way he punishes sin. “Youshall not worship any other gods for I, the Lord your God, am ajealous God” (Exodus 20:4-5). The Israelites were God’spossession. Through the prophet Hosea God sees Israel as His wife andjust like any other man, he gets jealous when his wife cannot beinclusively loyal to him. “For they provoked Him with their highplaces, and aroused jealousy with their graven images” (Psalms78:58).

References

Youngblood,R. (1998). TheHeart of the Old Testament: A Survey of Key Theological Themes.Baker Academic.