by Leland R. Ping
Sentry Magazine, June 2002
Paul wrote to the church at Rome in Romans 15:4 that "whatever things were written before were written for our learning." In a simple statement like this, the persecutor-turned-apostle explained the reason for the Old Testament. In light of a statement like this, it is prudent to examine some of those things written before and the lessons we can learn from them.
God should not be a mere option to whom we turn in times of trouble. Instead, he is a God worthy of our praise. Throughout the Old Testament's longest book, God is the focus of continuous praise. David writes that God's "praise shall continually be in my mouth" (Psalm 34:2). The Psalmist later writes that he will praise God among the multitude (Psalm 109:30). Let us all strive to praise God with our words and actions among the multitudes we encounter.
When Abram was told by God to "Get out of your country" and, given no explanation as to why, Abram trusted the Lord and "departed as the Lord had spoken to him" (Genesis 12:1,4). Abram's trust in God is indeed evident through this and the many actions he took in his life of service to God. We should all strive to have that simple trust and faith that is so crucial to our pleasing God (Hebrews 11:6).
God demands obedience to his commands. Uzzah reminds us of this important lesson. Uzzah, with good intentions in mind, "put forth his hand to that ark of God" when he saw it falling (II Samuel 6:6). Of course, had the men of Israel not disobeyed God by putting the ark on the cart in verse three of the same chapter, Uzzah would not have had to worry about this nor would God have taken his life. Obedience to God is critical and it is a lesson of which we must all remind ourselves. One of the best ways to do this is to open God's book to the pages of the Old Testament.