Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Example (07/25/13)
TITLE: Faith Remembers
By Mike Newman
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These extremes of circumstance, and everything in between, are not unique to you and I. Those who have come before us have shared in both the awful and the sublime. Is there something to be gained from the experience of others? Would looking back into their stories, their lot in life, hold something for us today?
The great advantage in finding these life stories inside the pages of scripture is that not only do we get to see and understand the actions of men, but we necessarily learn more about our God as well. We reflect on His responses, and in so doing we achieve a deeper understanding of His character. As we come to recognize the manner in which a holy God interacts with His creation, our confidence grows that He is altogether trustworthy. We have faith (which is, after all, trust with some meat behind it!) that our God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. It is a responsible faith, one based on past action and future glory. One far removed from anything associated with a "leap".
These events in the Bible are clearly recorded and transmitted to us to convey the weight of the examples they provide. I do not mean that is the sole purpose of scripture, nor even the primary one. 1 Corinthians speaks about the things that happened to ancient Israel as examples, written down for our instruction. We look back, through the biblical record, at the examples that came before. What do these stories contribute? What is their purpose, or at least one of their purposes?
The answer isn't that they are patterns of moral men that we are to imitate. The entire scope of scripture speaks of man's inability to seek God, in fact his refusal to do so. It is only through the initiating act of God does man receive a heart of flesh, desiring to seek after his Creator. Rather, the significance of an infallible historical record tracing God's actions in time, revealing His progressive revelation of His Son, our Redeemer, is to give us the "meat" that serves as a foundation for our trust (faith). That is why Paul can speak about the very purpose of the Israelite's trials and afflictions as serving as an example for us.
Ours is a reasonable faith, as well as a scandalous one. The former because faith recalls God's wondrous acts of mercy, patience and love towards His children. Faith remembers. The latter because what could be more scandalous then a perfect redeemer, God incarnate, dying for us? Not waiting for us to somehow prove ourselves worthy, but doing so while we were yet sinners?
We need the examples of how God has dealt with His people in times past as a basis for our confidence in His absolute sovereignty. Our blessed assurance in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is rightfully reflected in the lives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Woven throughout the bible is the story of a great God, dealing graciously with His people.
Faith remembers that which came before.
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