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  • William T. Howe Ph.D.

January 25, 2021

Daily Reading: Exodus 22-24


Exodus 23:13

And in all things that I have said unto you be circumspect:


"We are a New Testament Church; the Old Testament has no bearing on us today." That is what the man said. I was young and I respected the man, so for years I struggled with what he said. Even to the point of not teaching from the Old Testament in my Sunday School classes. I would use some illustrations from the Old Testament, but always maintained a barrier in relation to its teachings as being outdated, passed over, or set aside. Later, someone even said that the practical teachings of the Book of Proverbs were not effective today. Man was I confused. Then I learned. I learned that I was wrong, the man was wrong, and the one who spoke about the book of Proverbs was wrong. All it took for me to know that I was wrong was one phrase. That phrase changed my understanding. What was it?


"The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed; the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed." I don't know who it was, and I've heard it many times since, and have quoted it myself. It is so true. Over the years I learned more. Things like, "The Old Testament is physical wherein the New Testament is spiritual." Or "If you believe a New Testament teaching make sure you can find it in its seed form in the Old Testament, if you can't you best shy away from it." To me today, the Old Testament contains God's heavy hand of justice unabashed, wherein the New Testament contains God's hand of justice in a woven glove of love, grace, mercy, and peace.


Therefore, consider the Old Testament command to be circumspect. This is a multidimensional word containing two interesting aspects. One is that of being careful, being wary, or not taking unnecessary risks. The other is the idea of maintaining a 360-degree perspective. Circumspect then is an Old Testament command that warns of being casual, inattentive, and not considering the whole, just a part. Before explaining more, consider this same command is repeated in the New Testament book of Ephesians, chapter 5, verse 15: See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise. There are only two usages of this intriguing word, one in the Old and one in the New Testament. Once again, the Lord proves that His Word, cover to cover, is relative in any age.


So, what does it mean to be circumspect? Ask 100 preachers and you will probably receive 100 various answers. Some say it is focusing on a task in front of you while watching your back, or sides for danger. This includes considering one’s course of action for the task ahead, considering its effect on things and people around you. Yet, a deeper and more complex answer is that in each and every life there are people, tasks, and activities that surround that life. To understand this consider a bicycle wheel and tire. A person's life is the hub, the spokes all lead to an aspect of that person's life that is equally important to all other aspects. The outer rim interconnects all, and the tire reduces shock and friction making the bicycle ride more comfortable. This means that all aspects of a person's life have an effect on all others, and only by considering the whole can a life journey be made complete.


This wheel of life for me contains a wife, children, parents, work, worship, rest, study, domestic chores, prayer time, on and on. Each one needs attention at times, and none should be ignored or cut out. If so, that missing spoke will weaken the entire wheel and the ride of my life will be more difficult and less enjoyable.


Any way you look at it, God commands us to be circumspect in life. In both the Old Testament and in the New Testament.


Until tomorrow, live for Christ today.

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