1. How did God makes his standards known to the world in the Old testament?

In the beginning, before the flood, when God first killed the animal to make the clothes for Adam and Eve (Gen 3:21-22). It kind of left the ancients with a very clear indication that in order for forgiveness of sin, blood is necessary. That is why Noah, Abel, Abraham, and many of the Patriarchs can make offerings and pray to God even without the advent of the Mosaic law.

Later on, during Exodus God taught his laws to Moses, and the Israelites, which serves to help man understand the right and wrong, this is summarised in the Ten commandments and described in details in the Torah. The main purpose of doing so, let allow us to become conscious to sin. (Rom 3:20). Without it, we would not know what sin we have committed, (not that it was not present, just that we do not know). At the same time, he placed the Israelites in Canaan, which is the convergence point of the 2 greatest ancient trade routes in the ancient world, the via Maris (the way of the sea) connecting ancient Greece to Egypt and the kings highway which is connecting Mesopotamia to Egypt.

The law of the old testaments serves as the basis for Gods law, because it is the initial period,the law of God contains very specifics rules, and they are usually shown outwardly. IE: Laws of war, cities of refuge,, the sabbath, the festivals and feasts, the sacrificial system. There are some portion of the Law given specifically to help maintain the health of the people (IE: Dietary laws, law of hygiene).

God wanted the Israelites to follow his standards, and but man, being human, and weak from the effects of sin, often are unable to keep the law of God effectively. (Think about the many Old testament stories, Samson, David, The Benjamites in judges, the people of Israel and their idolatry, the people of Judah for their self righteousness and sin, the Israelites in the wilderness)

2. How does God forgive sins in the Old testament?

God knows that man are just dust (Ps 103:13-14) and he knows it would be very hard for man not to sin against his standard. So he set up sacrifices for man who had sin (Lev 4). He set up a day of atonement, where the priest will sacrifice for the sin of the entire nation (Lev 16). He built cities of refuge all over the land of Israel for the tribe of Levi (the priest) to dwell in, so people can enquire about the law easily. The law would be read every 7 years at the feast of the Tabernacles (Deut 31: 9-11) and the king has to copy the scroll of the law himself. (Deut 18:18-19).

However, as we all know, despite all the help God has given, many saints in the old testaments still sins… But God forgave them of their trespasses upon receiving their sacrifice. When they are disobedient, God sent judges, and prophets among them to speak the word of God.. but because of the sinful nature that exist in man, although they know what is right but lack the power to do. In fact, when we advance to the new testament, it is made clear to believers on why sacrifices and feasts could deal with sin, it is an illustration of a ultimate sacrifice God is making for the sins of the world. Where Jesus would be the sacrificial lamb as well as the priest himself (Heb 7-10)

3. What happens when the people failed to follow up o Gods standard?

With this Revelation about sin is still at her infancy stage, Gods punishments and blessings are very clearly evident in the form of physical blessings. God through Moses, taught the people how God will discipline them. (Lev 26) If we were to read it, and compare them with all the things that happened in judges, kings and chronicles.. you will notice a similarity of bible stories. In fact Gods punishment is never serious in the beginning, and it was meant to be warning to warn the Israelites that they have strayed. However, the kingdom of Israel, and Judah did not take heed, their kingdoms were destroyed by the Assyrians and Babylon, and they were scattered all over the world (Lev 26:31-35)

But as described, God brought them back and they repented.. and they started to follow Gods commandments at the time of Ezra, Nehemiah.. As history progressed, they started to follow so much into the words of the law, that they forgot the real essence of the law… which lead to the rise of Priest, Pharisees, and Sadducee in the new testament.

They emphasise so much of the physical actions of keeping the law and forget the real reason for following it. Making following Gods law a big chore rather than a delight.They started many rules to prevent the actual breaking of the commandments. Even till today, the some orthodox Jews even went to the stage of unscrewing the light bulb from the fridge to prevent “lighting a fire” on a sabbath day.

4. What can we learn from these in our daily lives?

Well, as I was pondering over the matter, it seems to be that because of our sinful nature, it is impossible for any man to claim that they are without sin. As all our actions and righteousness are not good enough to show God that we have reach his standard. The failure and sins of many characters in the old testament bible, further proves that it is very difficult for one to keep to the Lords standard. In order to allow man to reconcile with God. God has to show mercy and compassion, knowing that man are but dust.

In fact, if one were to pay a close attention to the sacrificial rites, God always emphasise that the person repenting must be the one that completes the sacrifice. He is suppose to be the one that lay his hand on the animal, kill it before God (Lev 4:4). But any one of the people will remember that God would rather man to follow his law, and his standard rather than the sacrifice of bulls and rams. (Mic 6:6-8, 1 Sam 13:22-23,) the emphasis on having a heart of repentance must still be there, even in the old testament. Hence it is not suppose to be “working on a standard operating procedure)

In fact, God wish the people to keep his law and practise it out of love, more than out of fear.In fact, God wanted people to learn to delight in his law, to meditate on it, to act on it. (Ps 1) He wanted them to practise justice and fairness.. He wanted these people to witness to the world around them about the goodness of God. But unfortunately,

Now with this ideas in mind, let us move to the new testament