If you had lived during the days of Noah would your lifestyle have qualified you for the cruise? Could God have used your kind of commitment to be the father or mother of a great nation as He did Abraham and Sarah? Would your ability to survive adversity have enabled you to pass Joseph’s test? What kind of disposition do you think you would have had on the Exodus journey? Had you lived in later Old Testament days would you have had David’s love for God, Solomon’s wisdom, Elijah’s candor, Isaiah’s insight, and Ezekiel’s dreams? Could you have demonstrated the faith of New Testament disciples, the endurance of Paul, and the future hope of John? Do these and other spiritual heroes of the past give you reason for a more energized life in Christ? Perhaps these questions seem a little strange and yet they focus upon some essential components of our Christian faith. One of the beautiful benefits of studying the Bible from a biographical perspective is that we learn from character association. We identify with ancient personalities. We sense their situations. We take their side and fight their fight. We join them in the faith. To mentally transpose ourselves to some circumstance in the distant past is to sharpen our ethical and moral skills for present situations. To observe as well as to understand ancient behavior gives us hope for our own spiritual survival. Although the leading characters in both Old and New Testament history had commendable qualities their frailties were also obvious. Sometimes we learn from their strengths, and again we learn from their weaknesses.
History is an awesome schoolmaster whose lesson assignments we must not ignore. Sometimes we do not learn because of our human tendency to believe the past will never repeat itself. We forget that life is composed of similar cycles for every generation. Although Biblical characters are cast in strange and primitive cultures, commitment (or lack of it) was the same for them as it is for us.
God seems to evaluate our faith response in the light of our particular advantages or disadvantages. Therefore, it seems that we who have a Bible full of personalities from whom to learn have a significant advantage. Ignorance of God’s will can never be our excuse for spiritual failures. Yet, somehow God knows we do not learn well and bids us look to Calvary as He whispers, “My grace is sufficient.”
Whether we would have done as well or worse than Biblical people is not the issue. What we do now with Jesus the Christ is all that really matters. Only one life to be lived and it soon will pass. Only what is done for Christ will last.
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