Too many Christians see mission as a primarily New Testament theme. Ask them about God’s mission in the Bible and they eagerly jump to the Great Commission or Acts 1:8. While they affirm that the Old Testament provides Christians with important events and truths about God that help us understand the New Testament, when it comes to the mission of God, they see the Old Testament as practically obsolete and certainly less important than the New Testament. In overlooking the Old Testament, they miss out on a fuller and deeper understanding of God’s mission and the mission of His people.
We need both the Old and New Testaments to understand God’s mission and the mission He gives His people. The mission of God’s people differs significantly in certain aspects from the Old Testament to the New, and yet, I believe there is much in the Old Testament that can instruct and encourage the church to greater faithfulness and effectiveness in its mission. While many passages in the Old Testament are instructive for the church and its mission, arguably, none are as helpful as Israel’s time at Mt. Sinai.