There’s a phrase you sometimes hear referring to middle-America – fly over country. This is born out of the (wrong) attitude that the really important stuff goes on on the east coast in places like New York and Washington and the west coast in places like Los Angeles. All the places in between are unimportant.
In some ways the church has treated the Old Testament like “fly over country” in recent years. We parachute in at the Creation then get airlifted out only to drop in again at the Exodus or the story of David and Goliath. But besides the most famous and beloved stories, much of the rest of the Old Testament is treated as either unimportant or irrelevant to New Testament believers. One consequence of this approach is that we see the Old Testament as a collection of stories teaching a moral lesson rather than as one seamless Story of the history of God’s redemption of His people.
It was this unbalanced approach to the Old Testament that led David Murray to write his new book Jesus On Every Page. He had two main goals for the book: to show that all of the Old Testament is all about Jesus Christ and to do so in a way that the average believer can understand and apply.
In my opinion, he succeeded in both. Starting with the second of those goals, David Murray is a good writer. He writes in a style that flows logically and is easy to follow. He uses word pictures and illustrations effectively to bring home his points and he’s quick to point out his own areas of weakness and struggle. It’s clear he’s not out just to show how smart he is but to help his readers learn. This is the same style I found helpful when I read his book on preaching a year or so back.
On the first point, the book is equally successful. The biggest strength of the book is Murray’s multi-faceted approach to the topic. As he points out, there are a lot of books about one or two ways to see Jesus in the Old Testament but none that do what he’s done – present an overview of ten different ways. Some of these ways I’d read about before, Jesus in the Old Testament Characters, for example, but others were less familiar to me such as discovering Jesus in Proverbs or in the Old Testament Law.
I was especially challenged by his discussion of Jesus’ Old Testament appearances. I am familiar with the idea that Christ appeared to people occasionally prior to His incarnation, such as in Genesis 18 when the Bible says the Lord appeared to Abraham concerning Sodom and Gomorrah. However, I’d never heard Murray’s point that God “speaks to sinners only through the channel of His Son in both the Old and New Testaments.” He teaches that every direct interaction of God with man is through the son. Meaning, for example it was the second person of the Trinity who was the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night during Israel’s wilderness wanderings. I don’t necessarily disagree but would like to explore this concept more.
One area I particularly appreciated was his treatment of Song of Solomon. He does an excellent job showing that Song of Solomon is not an anomaly but is also focused on Christ and is part of the seamless story of redemption that is the Old Testament. This is a welcome contrast to so much teaching on Song of Solomon today that treats it as nothing more than a Christian Kama Sutra.
I highly recommend this book. Our church is doing an Old Testament overview starting in the fall with our adult Bible study classes and I plan to use it both as a resource as I prepare to teach and as a suggested small group study for those in the class to supplement the teaching.
You can purchase the book several places, including at Amazon.com:
Jesus on Every Page: 10 Simple Ways to Seek and Find Christ in the Old Testament
Disclosure: I was provided a review copy of this book free of charge.