Have you ever wondered what the Old Testament—especially the Old Testament law—has to do with your Christian life? You are not alone. Some Christian leaders believe we should cast off the Old Testament now that we have the New. Carmen Joy Imes disagrees. In this warm, accessible volume, Imes takes readers back to Sinai, the ancient mountain where Israel met their God, and explains the meaning of events there. She argues that we’ve misunderstood the command about “taking the Lord’s name in vain.” Instead, Imes says that this command is about “bearing God’s name,” a theme that continues throughout the rest of Scripture. Readers will revisit the story of Israel as they trudge through the wilderness from a grueling past to a promising future. The story of Israel turns out to be our story too, and you’ll discover why Sinai still matters as you follow Jesus today.
“Israel’s laws are the fences within which life can flourish. They make possible a distinctive way of life so that other nations can see what Yahweh is like and what he expects. The law was never the means by which Israel earned God’s favor. The Israelites were saved the same way we are—by grace through faith. But their obedience expressed their covenant commitment, or allegiance, to Yahweh. And it kept them in a position to experience the benefits of the covenant relationship.” (Page 35)
“At Sinai, Yahweh claims this nation as his very own and releases them to live out their calling. That calling is to bear Yahweh’s name among the nations, that is, to represent him well.” (Page 51)
“This law is a gift. It’s good news. Yahweh speaks. And he sets up boundaries so that his people can experience the joy of living in freedom.” (Page 36)
“Remember—the Israelites had already been rescued from Egypt when they were given the law. God did not say to them, ‘Do all these things and I will save you from slavery.’ He saved them first, and then gave them the gift that goes with salvation, instructions on how to live as free men and women. Moses and the psalmist both realized that they were better off for it. They realized that true freedom requires clearly communicated boundaries. They recognized the grace of God’s law. It was a gift!” (Page 35)
“In the case of Israel’s covenant, only one deity can ensure the covenant faithfulness of both parties: Yahweh. For that reason, both copies of the treaty will be placed in the most holy place of the Israelite tabernacle, under God’s watchful eye. The duplicate tablets indicate that both parties—Yahweh and Israel—are bound by the covenant between them.” (Page 42)
Warm, witty, wise, and winsome; theologically rigorous, rhetorically convincing, and pastorally helpful, this book is not to be missed. Taking the reader through the narrative of the exodus, Carmen Joy Imes shows us that it is our story, not an arcane, ancient document as dry as last year's bird nest. The genre of Law speaks today. You will see the name Carmen Joy Imes regularly in the future as she continues to bless the church with accessible and edifying scholarship.
—Jeffrey D. Arthurs, Haddon Robinson Professor of Preaching and Communication, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
Rarely do we encounter scholars who are able to distill the essence of complex notions and recast them in forms that are both accessible and compelling for lay readers. Carmen Imes’s skills in this regard are extraordinary. In the academy, people who have read her published technical monograph on bearing God’s name have been quick to celebrate the stellar quality of her work. In this volume Carmen introduces lay readers and serious students of Scripture to her major findings through writing in engaging and persuasive prose—with plenty of ideas for application. For readers who long to recover the life-giving message of grace in the Torah, this book will be a great place to start.
—Daniel I. Block, Gunther H. Knoedler Professor Emeritus of Old Testament, Wheaton College
Carmen Joy Imes is helping us to relish once again the wondrous depths of truth and challenge that are there for us Christians in that great epic narrative of Old Testament Israel—whether those stories are familiar to us already or not. . . . I trust that reading this book will give you a deeper and more biblical understanding of what it ought to mean to bear God’s name, and not to bear it in vain.
—From the foreword by Christopher J. H. Wright, author of The Mission of God
In the Logos edition, this digital volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Scripture citations link directly to English Bible translations, and important terms link to a wealth of other resources in your digital library, including tools for original languages, dictionaries, encyclopedias, commentaries, and theology texts. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.
Steve E Rice