Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did.
1 Corinthians 10:6
There is a reason for the excruciating spiritual detail in the Old Testament. It is meant to serve as an instructive example to us. It is meant to show us the results of sinful choices. God reveals not only what people did, but how it affected their relationship with Him. This information is useful to help us navigate around the sinful choices they made... so that we might avoid them and the awful consequences of sin.
Many times the Old Testament is this vastly unexplored territory for many believers. In most churches, it gets little pulpit time. Preaching Old Testament narrative can be hard. But Paul certainly felt the freedom to speak to even Gentiles from its truths. One can argue that he had nothing else from which to preach. But he knew that the story of God with His people Israel was helpful for the present instruction of Christ's church. Even in the failings of Israel, there were clear warnings and principles for dealing with the results of sin among members of Christ's body.
I know that in biblical counseling, there are many times where the perfect metaphor or message on a particular issue comes from the Old Testament. All the vivid details are usually right there in black and white. Because human nature is the same everywhere, the application fits! God knew what He was doing when He chose to reveal Himself in the lives of people and have that revelation recorded for all to understand in the pages of scripture. The Old Testament is an irreplaceable treasure because it is the Word of God.
I have a goal in my teaching and training ministry. I want to be biblically ambidextrous. I want to be free to study and relate to both the Old and the New Testaments. There are strong doctrines, practical applications, and life-changing truths to be understand and lived out in ALL of scripture. And the New Testament promises growth in holiness to those who will heed the instruction of the Old Testament. That's reason enough to know my way around both testaments.
- Prepare your minds for action.
1 Peter 1:13