GREAT LESSONS FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT
While the Old Testament no longer governs the people of God (we are governed by the new covenant which Christ sealed with His blood, Matthew 26:28), the Old Testament remains a part of the divinely inspired revelation of God to mankind and contains within it many great lessons for people living in the Christian age. Paul wrote: “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4). Following are some important lessons from the Old Testament.
From the story of Cain and Abel, the first two sons of Adam and Eve, we need to learn the importance of offering in worship that which the Lord has authorized and not presume to offer that which we have decided on our own will be pleasing to the Lord (Genesis 4:1-15; Hebrews 11:4; Jude 11).
From the story of Noah and the ark we need to learn the importance of adhering to the pattern God has determined for His institutions, including the home and the church. “Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did” (Genesis 6:22).
From the life of Abraham (Genesis 12:1 25:11) we need to learn what it means to truly believe in God, to trust in God, and to be the friend of God. (Hebrews 11:8-12; II Chronicles 20:5-7; Isaiah 41:8; James 2:23).
From the record of the construction of the Tabernacle under the leadership of Moses (the book of Exodus) we need to again learn the importance of honoring God’s pattern for His institutions. “Then Moses looked over all the work, and indeed they had done it; as the Lord had commanded, just so they had done it. And Moses blessed them” (Exodus 39:45). That this was intended to have an application to the New Testament church is shown by the writer of the book of Hebrews when he said, “. . . as Moses was admonished by God when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, ‘See that you make all things according to the pattern shown to you on the mountain’ ” (Hebrews 8:5).
From the tragic story of Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10:1-2) we need to learn the importance of not substituting our wisdom for the wisdom of God when it comes to what we do in worship.
From the story of Joshua we need to learn the importance of making the wise decision to serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:14-15).
From the period of the Judges we need to learn the depths of depravity to which a culture sinks when everyone does what is right in his own eyes. (Judges 17:6; 21:25).
From the story of king Saul’s sparing of the heathen king, Agag, and the best of the cattle (presumably to later offer as sacrifices to the Lord), we need to learn that “to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion (and that is what Saul was guilty of, hf) is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness (also of what Saul was guilty, hf) is as iniquity and idolatry” (I Samuel 15:22-23).
From the tragic story of Uzzah’s unlawful touching of the ark of the covenant, we need to learn that when God speaks He says what He means and means what He says. (II Samuel 6:1-11).
From the fact that all the Old Testament priests were to come only from the tribe of Levi (Numbers 3:5-10; et al) we need to learn the importance of respecting the silence of God and not presuming to speak where He has not spoken. “For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood” (Hebrews 7:14). In other words, when God specifies and limits, He does not have to list all of the things that are thereby excluded! For example, when God says, “Sing and make melody in your heart to the Lord,” He does not have to say, “Do not use instrumental music in your worship of Me.” His very silence forbids it!
From the wonderful book of Psalms (Psalm 88; et al) we need to learn of and bask in the steadfast love and mercy of the Lord.
From the prophet Jonah, preachers need to learn the important lesson of preaching “the preaching that I [God] bid thee” (Jonah 3:2, KJV), rather than preaching the philosophies and wisdom of men.
From the prophet Micah we need to learn, “He has shown you, O man, what is good: And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8)?
From the great book of Ecclesiastes and Solomon’s search for the meaning of life, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether it is good or whether it is evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).
August 18, 2015
August 21-27: Polishing the Pulpit, Sevierville, TN (I will make six presentations and be a part of one “pass it on” session). PTP is for every member of the Lord’s church. Thirteen concurrent sessions run each hour, featuring 190 different speakers, with 700 separate topics spread over seven days. Join us for this inspirational event in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains at which 4000 people are expected to be in attendance!