Friday, November 4, 2011
Why We Study the Old Testament
"For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren,
that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea;
and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink,
for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them;
and the rock was Christ.
Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased;
for they were laid low in the wilderness.
Now these things happened as examples for us,
so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved.
Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written,
“THE PEOPLE SAT DOWN TO EAT AND DRINK, AND STOOD UP TOPLAY.”
Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did,
and twenty-three thousand fell in one day.
Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents.
Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer.
Now these things happened to them as an example,
and they were written for our instruction,
upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.
No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man;
and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able,
but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also,
so that you will be able to endure it."
I Corinthians 10:1-13
The last verse in the above passage is a very famous one, especially in Biblical counseling. It is a great comfort to read that not only does God not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able, but He also provides a way of escape so that we can endure it.
Isn't it interesting to read the context of the "famous" verses of the Bible? When we do, sometimes we find that we are using them out of context, but not so in this case. I daresay, however, that most of us probably didn't realize that this verse comes as a conclusion as to why the stories of the Israelites in the wilderness were recorded.
They were written for us, to be an encouragement for us. We have the benefit of learning from the past and Paul basically says in I Corinthians 10 - avoid Israel's mistakes. Don't be grumblers and complainers, and don't crave evil things. Why not? Because look at how God dealt with their sin - do we think we are above Him dealing with ours in the same manner?
I was a middle child. I learned a lot by watching my older sister and seeing how my parents responded to her. The concept of learning from other's actions ends up being a biblical one - here we are encouraged to study the Old Testament and learn from their lives. Unfortunately, I know many who are stuck in the wilderness, just like the Israelites in Exodus, because of their complaining hearts. I have found myself there on occasion, as well.
But I love how this passage is concluded - with hope. God is in control, your struggles are not too much for you to bear and hey, look around! Somewhere God has provided that way of escape, you just haven't noticed it yet.
Next week we move out of the wilderness and into the Promised Land...and then the fun begins!