We were talking about a Bible Study that my friend attended. She was intimidated by the knowledge of the Bible that the other ladies had. She was a bit discouraged. She has been a church-goer all her life. She loves deeply and lives rightly and generously. So her comment referring to the characters of the Old Testament caught me off guard. “So why do we need to know about these old guys anyway?” I am not quick witted so, of course, in the moment I stumbled over my answer. I am praying that the Lord open an opportunity to naturally address the issue with my friend again, because I think it is an important question.
What is the benefit of studying ancient things?
*We can learn from their mistakes. I say this in theory, because out of my own experience I often have to learn things the hard way with my own bumps and bruises. But, just maybe, I can look at David’s life and see that a man can mess up pretty badly and still be called one “after God’s own heart.” And seeing that despite Peter’s disowning of Jesus when He needed him most, the Lord still commanded him to feed His sheep. I can know that in my very imperfect state, God can still use me and, wonder of wonders, still delights in me because of the perfection of Christ.
*We can know that we aren’t alone. Sometimes the trials in our lives can lead to loneliness. We think that no one can possibly have experienced what I am going through. It is encouraging to know that we have fellowship with Joseph, who was hurt by those who should have loved him most, with Abraham, who made some stupid decisions and had to live with the consequences, with Naomi, who clung to God’s people despite feeling bereft of so many earthly comforts, with Martha, who poured out her confusion and questions to Jesus in the middle of her pain. We can know that, even if there is no one among our acquaintances who may be walking the path we are on, all of these saints who have gone before are pointing us to the One who sticks closer than a brother.
*We can be encouraged by the faithfulness of the Lord Knowing that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever, we look at the way the Lord carried His own through so many trials, and we know that He will also carry us through whatever He has put in our path today. (1 Peter 5:7)
*We can look for His hand at work in our day even now. One of my very favorite verses is Psalm 77:19 “Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters; yet your footprints were unseen.” We can know that the Lord is present. He is moving. He is not the Great Clockmaker who set the world in motion and then sat back to look and see what would happen. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Col 1:17) Seeing what our forefathers of the faith experienced and learned about our Great God gives us faith to move forward confidently knowing that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Phil 1:6)