Engaging with God in the Old Testament

For many Christians, the Old Testament remains a mysterious and seemingly irrelevant book (p. 23). Those living during Old Testament time could only worship God in the temple. They worshiped according to the Law ordered by God. Only the high priest could approach God on behalf of the people. By paying close attention to this system helps the New Testament believer understand the heart of God.

After Christ, a person could meet with God anytime and anywhere. However, up until that time, a person had to meet God at a holy place. There were key places to meet with him in ancient times. God made covenants with man at specific places. Those who followed could go to those places and know they were holy. The Old Testament is filled with stories of such events in the history of the nation of Israel. The worship of God’s people in the Bible is distinctive in that it is regularly presented as the worship offered by those who have been redeemed (p. 26).

For many the word redeemed fits in the New Testament rather than an Old Testament. It obviously holds meaning throughout Scripture though. Through faith, an entire nation could be redeemed. God spoke to people throughout history, but chose to do it in different ways. With God there is order. Out of that comes a system of how to worship Him. He gave a system of sacrifice for His worship. God chose specific people to teach the system of worship. God provided specific places for His worship. Worship usually took place in the temple in Jerusalem.

This is challenging book. I found myself struggling to get into it. It is heavily grounded in Scripture. I understand that it must, but I am not used to reading books that incorporate so much from the Bible. I commend the author for his time and study of the Word of God to do this book. Not that God needed any help on teaching His people to worship, but Peterson obviously helped repackage the subject of worship.

I must admit that I grew up on the New Testament. I knew the Sunday school stories from the Old Testament, but not much past that until I got to college and took classes like Old Testament Survey. It’s sad that I wasn’t taught how to worship God through the Old Testament. I understood you praise God with the Psalms, but that was about it.

I have learned that the Old Testament can help any New Testament believer how to worship.


Peterson, David. Engaging with God: A Biblical Theology of Worship. Downers Grove, IL.: Intervarsity Press. 1992.


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