November 6 I Wednesday
“May my cry come before You, LORD; give me understanding according to Your Word. May my supplication come before You; deliver me according to Your promise. May my lips overflow with praise, for You teach me Your decrees.” —Psalm 119:169-171
The Bible is divided into the Old and the New Testaments. As we read the Word of God, the fifth unit of truth is the context given by whichever testament the passage is found in, because that has a tremendous impact on how certain things are to be interpreted.
For example, the Old Testament has about 613 commandments. The moral law of God—the Ten Commandments—applies for all time. Some laws, such as ceremonial laws, were abolished the moment Christ died on the cross. Others still are civil law, for the national life of Israel, which were not intended to extend beyond the times of the Old Testament. For instance, Leviticus 20:10 tells us, “If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife…both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death.” In our present-day, when we come across adulterers, we do not put them to death because we understand this to be the civil law of Israel, directed to a particular people at a particular time in history.
We have to understand the law within the context of the testament it is a part of.
I once had somebody who is a believer tell me that he believed the Holy Spirit had been withdrawn from his life. I told him, “When we believe, the Holy Spirit has been forever sealed in our hearts if we are a genuine Christian.” Then he pointed me to this verse, “Do not cast me from Your presence or take Your Holy Spirit from me” (Psalm 51:11). I explained to him, the context of that verse was written after David committed adultery with Bathsheba. The prophet Nathan convicted David of his sin and David wrote Psalm 51 because he was overcome with remorse and repentance. That line, “take not Your Holy Spirit from me” relates to Saul, his predecessor. When Saul messed up, the Holy Spirit departed from Saul. “Now the Spirit of the LORD had departed from Saul…” (1 Samuel 16:14). David was afraid
the Lord would take His Spirit, like He did with Saul, and pleaded for it to not be so.
Under the old covenant in the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit came into people for certain purposes at certain times and then He would withdraw. But in the New Testament, after Pentecost, the Holy Spirit comes to indwell and remain because of the work of the Lord Jesus Christ through the cross. “When you believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit…” (Ephesians 1:13). As we study the Word of God, may we interpret it in light of the testament that we read.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your truth I can find in the Old and the New Testaments. Lead me to walk righteously in You. Praise You!