The Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: Old Testament 2022 extends invitations for each one of us to look in the Old Testament to find the Saviour and deepen our relationship with Him. Elder Jan E. Newman recently suggested, “Come, Follow Me invites us to look in the scriptures and the words of the modern-day prophets in order to find the Savior and hear Him” (“Teaching in the Savior’s Way,” Ensign, May 2021, 18). Elder Newman’s counsel encourages and inspires me to trust that the heavens are open for me to #HearHim. As I prayerfully study the scriptures with the Come, Follow Me resources, I can continue to be guided to walk along and follow Christ’s covenant path.
President M. Russell Ballard has taught, “It is a miracle that the Bible literally contains within its pages the converting, healing Spirit of Christ, which has turned men’s hearts for centuries, leading them to pray, to choose right paths, and to search to find their Savior” (“The Miracle of the Holy Bible,” Ensign, May 2007). Joseph Smith is an inspirational example of an individual who was prompted to pray through the power of Bible verses. Because he prayed with a faithful heart, he was led to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. We also can receive the powerful influence of the Holy Ghost through the words recorded centuries ago and preserved in the pages of the Bible.
Led by the Scriptures and the Holy Ghost
The Old Testament has been challenging for me. I read and often I do not understand. With sincere effort and study, however, I have been rewarded with insights that bless and strengthen my efforts to follow Jesus Christ. The Holy Ghost enlightens my understanding that the teachings and promises made to the children of Israel apply to me as I strive to follow the covenant path.
I have learned that the scriptures are survival guides that inspire and lead me. They guide me and help me navigate my daily challenges. I find myself asking, “How can the Old Testament be a survival guide as I study this year?” My survival is dependent upon my faith in Jesus Christ. As I seek to draw closer to the Saviour through my study of the Old Testament, I will be better able to face the challenges that will surely come.
I find great hope in the promise of these words in the Come, Follow Me introduction “Thoughts to Keep in Mind Reading the Old Testament”: “Maybe God preserved these ancient writings because He knows you and what you are going through. Maybe He has prepared a spiritual message for you in these words, something that will draw you closer to Him and build your faith in His plan and His Beloved Son. Perhaps He will lead you to a passage or an insight that will bless someone you know—a message you can share with a friend, a family member, or a fellow Saint.”
Increasing our Faith in Christ
The children of Israel are promised, “If … thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul” (Deuteronomy 4:29). A key resource for fulfilling this promise and increasing our faith in Jesus Christ can be gained through our study of the Old Testament: “If you seek greater faith in the Savior as you study the Old Testament, you will find it. Perhaps this could be the aim of your study this year. Pray that the Spirit will guide you to find and focus on passages, stories, and prophecies that will bring you closer to Jesus Christ” (Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: Old Testament 2022, “Thoughts to Keep in Mind”).
I am confident that my faith can increase in this coming year. My journal reminded me that my study of the Old Testament has increased my faith in the past. In 2006 I recorded these words: “As each lesson passes, I come to know more and more that the Old Testament is filled with the Saviour—He can be found everywhere if we can just look for Him. Seek and ye shall find.” I love the Old Testament for the precious treasures I can discover as I study, ponder, pray, and keep a personal journal. I look forward to finding many more spiritual blessings.
Coming to Know God through Studying the Old Testament
I have found the Lord in Exodus 14:14, “The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.” The Lord will fight for you. He will support you, encourage you, strengthen you, uplift you, guide you, teach you, chastise you, and do all things possible to fight for your place in His kingdom if you follow Him, stay on the covenant path, and strive to become like Him.
Job 42:3 states: “Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not” (emphasis added). These words teach me that the Lord knows our trials and afflictions. He might not tell us the why of those trials and afflictions, but through those afflictions we can receive blessings “too wonderful” for our understanding. This is faith with real intent—to trust in God’s “wonderful” guiding wisdom in the midst of our trials.
The constant and persistent love of the Lord is evident in this verse, “Wherefore I will yet plead with you, saith the Lord, and with your children’s children will I plead” (Jeremiah 2:9). Christ is our Good Shepherd and Advocate.
I am grateful for the opportunity to once again: “Come to know the God of the Old Testament in an intimate, personal, and powerful way. He is our Redeemer, and our goal for this course should be to be able to declare as did Job: ‘For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth’(Job 19:25)” (Old Testament Student Manual Genesis-2 Samuel , “Preface”).