Timely Even Today


Think the Old Testament is too ancient to teach you anything? Better think again.

Although the words, time, and culture of the Old Testament are very different from today, you may be surprised at how much you can learn from the Old Testament. With some prayerful study, you can find principles in the stories of the Old Testament that can apply to your life today. Here are just nine of many examples:

  1. 1.

    Joseph of Egypt fled from temptation (see Genesis 39:12). Fleeing temptation is always easier than sinning and repenting.

  2. 2.

    Joseph forgave others, even his brothers who had sold him into slavery (see Genesis 45). Do you forgive others, especially those in your own family?

  3. 3.

    The Lord provided manna each day to feed the Israelites (see Exodus 16:15). The Lord has also provided many things to nourish our spirits: prayer, scriptures, the sacrament, temples.

  4. 4.

    Exodus 28 specifies how Aaron and other priesthood holders should dress. The Lord asked them to dress in a certain way to remind them of important parts of their worship. When you go to church or to the temple, how does the way you dress affect your reverence and worship?

  5. 5.

    Much of the book of Leviticus is about sacrifice and its blessings. Your sacrifices—of time, talents, or money—will bring you the blessings of heaven.

  6. 6.

    From Samuel’s example, we learn the importance of listening for and recognizing the Lord’s voice (see 1 Samuel 3:4–10). As you learn to recognize and follow promptings from the Holy Ghost, your life will improve.

  7. 7.

    Young David’s choices showed that he believed that “there is a God in Israel” (1 Samuel 17:32–51). Your choices testify whether or not you believe in God.

  8. 8.

    Daniel went against the king’s command and was found praying (see Daniel 6:11). How often are you found praying, even when it seems hard?

  9. 9.

    Naaman learned that power comes when we obey the prophet (see 2 Kings 5:1–14). Following the counsel of today’s prophets and apostles will bring the Lord’s power into your life too.

King Nebuchadnezzar cast three Israelites into a fire. But when the king looked into the fire, he saw “four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire … and the form of the fourth [was] like the Son of God” (Daniel 3:24–25). As you look into the Old Testament, you can see God walking with His children. Their experiences can teach you how to be a better son or daughter of God.

Listening to the Spirit (above left), praying even when it’s difficult (above), and following the prophet’s counsel (below) are just a few of the lessons we can learn from the Old Testament.

Left: Joseph of Egypt, by Michael T. Malm; illustration by Ted Henninger; right: Boy Samuel Called by the Lord, by Harry Anderson; Daniel before King Nebuchadnezzar, by Simon Harmon Vedder; Naaman Cured of Leprosy, by Paul Mann