Many Christian preachers today largely neglect the Old Testament in their sermons, focusing instead on the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ teachings and activities. As Fleming Rutledge points out, however, when the New Testament is disconnected from the context of the Old Testament, it is like a house with no foundation, a plant with no roots, or a pump with no well.
In this powerful collection of sixty sermons on the Old Testament, Rutledge expounds on a number of familiar Old Testament passages featuring Abraham, Samuel, David, Elijah, Job, Jonah, and many other larger-than-life figures. Applying these texts to contemporary life and Christian theology, she highlights the ways in which their multivocal messages can be heard in all their diversity while still proclaiming univocally, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.”
Patrick D. Miller
— Princeton Theological Seminary
"One of America's finest preachers, Fleming Rutledge opens up the powerful words of the Old Testament as they touch our human life. I really don't know anything else like this book, which both thinks about the place of the Old Testament in our proclamation and then puts it there, not just in a sample sermon but in a large collection, preached over many times and places. We need this book."
— Columbia Theological Seminary
"Fleming Rutledge 'puts her whole self in' to her sermons — her deep faith, her emancipated imagination, her disciplined learning, and her street smarts — of which my favorite is 'But If Not.' She 'shakes it all about' (the text) to show us new stuff. But she is not doing the hokey-pokey. She is doing powerful, compelling testimony to the God of all truth who summons us to glad obedience. If they pay attention, her listeners and readers will know 'what it's all about,' namely, bottomless grace that she faithfully finds in the Old Testament texts. These sermons merit sustained attention in a way that lets us dance with our whole selves."
Stephen L. Cook
— Virginia Theological Seminary
"If you read just one book about God this year, this should be it! I could hardly put these sermons down. Fleming Rutledge has recovered the Old Testament's unique power to reach out from pulpit and lectern and grasp us, have its way with us, and bring new reality to life among us. . . . This volume is a beacon of hope that the serious neglect and even disparagement of the Old Testament in many quarters of today's church may finally be reversed. It constitutes a rousing summons for us to again allow these wondrous Hebrew texts to renew God's people."
— Editor-at-large, Christianity Today
"These sermons, from one of our great preachers, are magnificent in the deepest sense of the word — serving to magnify. They enlarge and bring into sharp focus the often-neglected Old Testament. They also enlarge our vision for what preaching the Word — and hearing the Word — can mean today. In an age of fluff and bombast, Fleming Rutledge's clear-eyed, grace-infused truth-telling is awfully good news."
Ellen F. Davis
— Duke Divinity School
"Eloquent, learned, driven by deep conviction of the truth of Scripture and passion for its beauty, these sermons display the virtues associated with great preaching of the past, yet the style is fresh and wholly contemporary. This volume is the fruit of a life dedicated to biblical preaching. Rutledge calls for 'a complete overhaul of preaching,' and — what is much more — she shows us how to proceed with that work."
— Durham University
"Fleming Rutledge is wonderfully lucid and engaging, robust and thoughtful. Her readings of the Old Testament nourish and challenge both heart and mind in today's world."
— author of What Good Is God?
"In her sermons Fleming Rutledge hits just the right chords of challenge, biblical fidelity, and graciousness. I love her style and her overall approach, and there is much to be learned from her specific applications."
“The sermons are engaging, and bring the significance of the scriptural narrative to life with the right about of historical contextual explanations. . . . Most importantly, the sermons provide a commendable example of the use of Hebrew Scripture as an appropriate foundation to understand the New Testament as a continuation of a long scriptural and faith tradition.”
Reviews in Religion & Theology
“Fleming Rutledge’s book of sermons on the Old Testament shines with God’s grandeur, beauty, and power. . . . These sermons dance with God’s glory and beauty.”
Books & Culture
“Rutledge has a rare command of the English language. Her prose is piquant; her paragraphs stand up like starched pieces of clothing. But she is doing far more in these sermons that crafting admirable sentences. She is instructing the church about who our God, the God of Israel, is. . . . For nourishing the church’s biblical imagination for over 30 years, and for offering us now this challenging and inspiring collection, we owe Rutledge deep thanks.”
“Fleming Rutledge is the most interesting preacher today working the fault line between the mainline churches and evangelicalism. . . . This book is a primer on how to get reacquainted with the living god who spoke to Abraham and who raised Israel from Egypt and Jesus from the dead.”
“Reading this volume is food for the soul.”