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Devotional Thought: I Love to Tell the Story

One of my father's favorite hymns was "I Love to Tell the Story." Dad loved to tell the stories of how the person of Jesus Christ changed his life and the lives of so many he had come to know. Those stories filled his preaching and were an expression of his calling to spread the Gospel story. I too came to love the hymn, "I Love to Tell the Story." As a young child in Sunday School, my best friend and I would belt out that hymn, and others, at the top of our voices (practically shouting), much to the consternation of our Sunday School teacher. In later years, I have come to love telling the stories of the Old Testament expressing God's love and desire for genuine relationships.

I have come to recognize more and more that the "Old" stories in the Old Testament are not replaced by the New Testament, but actually provide the foundation for the New Testament. The prophets spoke of God doing "new things," and calling Israel to forget the past with its "old" things (Isa. 42:9; 43:18-19; 48:6-7). They spoke of a "new" covenant which they stated was not like the old one (Jer. 31:31-32). However, when this "new" covenant was described by the prophets, it pointed to the same "old" covenant: "But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days," declares the LORD, "I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people." (Jer. 31:33 NASB)

"The Law" here refers to the same old law which God had given them through Moses. The difference is that now that old law will be written on hearts. The final phrase here ("I will be their God, and they shall be My people") is a recognized expression referring to "old" covenants which God had made as far back as that with Abraham (Gen. 17:7-8; Exod. 6:7; 19:5; 29:45; Lev. 11:45; 26:12, 45; Deut. 4:20; 7:6; 29:13; 2 Sam. 7:24). Consequently, this "new" covenant is really the same "old" covenant made more effective through God's new intervention. The prophets state that God will do this by cleansing His people, giving them a "new" heart and a "new" spirit, and causing them to walk in the (same old) statutes and observe the (same old) ordinances (Ezek. 36:25-27). Once again, the prophet's word concludes with the formulaic expression which reflects the old covenants ("you will be My people, and I will be your God"; Ezek. 36:28).

The hymn, "I Love to Tell the Story" concludes with these words: And when in scenes of glory I sing the new, new song, 'Twill be the old, old story that I have loved so long.

Our new covenant in Christ does not replace the old, but rather brings to fulfillment God's original intentions expressed in the old covenant of the Old Testament.

- Dr. Thomas J. King
NBC Director Bible and Theology Core Program

Filed Under: Blog Published: 09/14/2018

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