Read the Old Testament (even the “scary” books). We say we want to know God, and we even go to His scripture to look for Him, but we sit in the same couple of books in the New Testament that we find easy to understand or that make us feel good. I love the Pauline Epistles. I love the New Testament. Thats where we meet Jesus! That’s where we see the work of God to finally save us from our sins, and it’s where the Holy Sprit teaches us to live as a result of that salvation. It’s glorious and an amazing place in redemptive history that we now stand, it’s the mystery that the people of the Old Testament and the prophets wished they could have glimpsed the fullness of (Ephesians 3:4-5). I will argue though, that the best way to know the God that saved you is to meet Him in all of scripture, not just the tail-end. The letters to the churches do great to instruct us in our daily lives, and they tell us that we should love others as we have been shown love (Galatians 5:14), but they don’t show us God in the way that He is shown in the Old Testament and the Gospels. The gospels are a great place to learn who God is because His fullness is presented in Jesus Christ (Colossians 2:9). In light of this, I have learned more about the character of God and why Jesus came to save me through my time in Ezekiel the past few weeks than in years of reading the stories of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Why? It is God directly speaking to His people! He is pouring His heart out, and telling us how He feels, how broken hearted and angry He is about sin, and what He is going to do about it. What shows you how much a person cares for you more than the emotions they feel in response to your relationship? God loves you with a fiery passion, and He hurts with a deep brokenness over your sin against Him (Ezekiel 6:9-10), and that is why He saves you. Do you realize how often in the Old Testament prophets God promises to save and atone for His people and free them from their heart-bondage to sin? Go read it! It’s incredible! I love God more as a result of reading the prophets because I am getting to see the dynamics of His personality and passions in a way that I don’t in the New Testament. It’s the same God, He hasn’t changed, we should desire to know all of Him.
My challenge to you is to engage with all of scripture. See His patience and mercy in the stories of the Old Testament. Learn to talk to Him in the Psalms. Listen to His heart for you and get to know His character through the prophets. See that character and heart in action in the Gospels. Learn to follow Him in response to the love He has shown you in the New Testament letters. If you say you want to know God, get to know Him in His word. It’s the way He has presented Himself to us, and it’s a story of the incredible things He has done for us. Let that Word draw you into a faith and heart-felt affection for Him.