I love Come Follow Me, our yearly course of study. It is a tool that assists in remembering what is the most important, the core, the focus of our lives - Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Redeemer.
My study this year has added line upon line to my testimony that Jesus Christ is central to all human history and to our individual lives. The Old Testament is evidence of God’s unfaltering, constant love.
Elder M. Russell Ballard has taught, “The Holy Bible is well named. It is holy because it teaches truth, holy because it warms us with its spirit, holy because it teaches us to know God and understand His dealings with men, and holy because it testifies throughout its pages of the Lord Jesus Christ” (“The Miracle of the Holy Bible,” Ensign, May 2007).
What did you learn from the Old Testament about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ?
From Elijah we learn that blessings can come when least expected
The experience of Elijah and the widow, recorded in 1 Kings 17, is inspirational to me. Elijah was sent to a place with a brook and fed by the ravens during a drought and famine. He was a prophet and the Lord watched over him. Then the brook dried up. Even the Lord’s prophet was subject to the conditions of the earth.
Elijah was directed to seek out a certain widow. I believe this widow was given the opportunity to be blessed by giving service to the Lord’s prophet. Her willingness to give of her scarcity resulted in the Lord blessing her with flour and oil during the famine.
Elijah was also in the right place at the right time when the widow’s son died. He was there to raise the son from the dead. The interaction of Elijah with the widow and her son would likely not have happened if the brook had continued to provide water. The adversity of the brook drying up was the first of many dominoes in the life of Elijah, the widow, and her son. These steps led to opportunities to serve, to be blessed, and to witness miracles. Out of small things came that which was great (Alma 37:6).
From the children of Israel leaving Egypt we see that the Lord is in the details
The promise of the Lord to the children of Israel is a testament to me that afflictions will end and one day be forever gone. In Exodus 14:13 we read: “The Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more for ever.” What a promise!
Not only was the Red Sea parted but the ground was dry (Exodus 14:21,22). Without dry ground they would have trudged through mud slowing their progress. It required two miracles or a multi-step approach to this situation-parting of the sea and drying the ground. Perhaps my situation also requires a multi-step approach by the Lord. Step by step, line upon line, one healing, one miracle at a time.
From Old Testament figures we receive personal, even individual messages
The study of the Old Testament has allowed me to see the Lord’s presence in the lives of Moses, the children of Israel, Noah, Isaiah, Malachi, Esther, Rachel, Deborah, and so many more. I have been able to learn that Jesus Christ is central to all human history and miraculously, in my individual life.
I heard someone describe the scriptures as “letters from home.”
My letter from home (The Old Testament) this year has included messages of knowledge, comfort, and encouragement to me from my Saviour:
“[You are] more precious than rubies” (Proverbs 3:15).
“For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee” (Isaiah 54:10).
“I know your sorrows; and I am come down to deliver [you]” (Exodus 3:7-8).
“[The Lord] is at my right hand” (Psalms 16:8).
Both the Old Testament and New Testament testify of the Saviour’s Coming
The people of the Old Testament testified of the coming of the Messiah and they waited with anticipation just as we prepare and wait for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
Our study now transitions to the New Testament where we study evidence that Jesus Christ did indeed come as He promised. Come Follow Me participation confirms this truth as we study, pray and listen to the witness of the Holy Ghost. We can trust that He will come again.
Elder L. Tom Perry, past member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, stated that the New Testament “is the centerpiece of scriptural history, just as the Savior Himself should be the centerpiece of our lives. We must commit ourselves to study it and treasure it!” (“The Sabbath and the Sacrament,” Ensign, May 2011).
I love the New Testament and remember having a small pocket-sized copy as a young person. The words of Jesus Christ were printed in red ink and leapt off the page into my heart.
The New Testament is not a biographical sketch of the mortal life of Jesus Christ but testimonies of His divine mission. The Joseph Smith Translation adjusted the title of each Gospel to include the word testimony, as in “The Testimony of St. Matthew” to emphasize this fact.
‘“What seek ye?’ Jesus asked the disciples of John the Baptist (John 1:38). You might ask yourself the same question-for what you find in the New Testament this year will greatly depend on what you seek” (Come, Follow Me-For Individuals and Families, New Testament 2023).
I’m looking forward to my “letters from home” contained in the New Testament. The Come Follow Me course will be one tool that I will use each day to find time for the Lord.