These questions reflect the ambivalence many Latter-day Saints feel as they approach a year of studying the Old Testament. While we know it is important and are often moved by its sweeping stories and majestic moments, we sometimes dread trying to make sense of the foreign elements that can seem strange and difficult to apply.
On occasion, we even become spiritually uncomfortable as we struggle to reconcile events, actions and statements that don't seem to square with our understanding of how the gospel works in our daily lives.
The vast temporal and cultural gap between our Israelite ancestors and us sometimes makes studying the Old Testament a dreaded task rather than the delight it should be. Frequently, we let these things prevent us from really reading this sacred volume.
We cannot let this happen. Not only must we devote our best efforts to studying this book, but when we do so, we will be surprised at the rich rewards that come our way. Further, the more we read the Old Testament, the more adept we will become at discerning its eternal treasures. It is a book that waits for its readers to demonstrate their commitment before it generously gives of its abundant gifts.