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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


 

Daily Boost

 

Oct. 28, 2010 - Learn From Others' Mistakes

By Bob Caldwell

“Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: ‘The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry.’ We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did — and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. We should not test the Lord, as some of them did — and were killed by snakes. And do not grumble, as some of them did — and were killed by the destroying angel. These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” (1 Corinthians 10:6-13, NIV)

When my oldest son was just learning to read, my wife read to him every day from a one-year Bible. She would read the Bible text for the day, and he would practice his reading with the Psalms and Proverbs passage.

This Bible was arranged chronologically so the Old Testament readings would follow the time-line of Israel’s history. Now Chris was only 5 or 6, which was to his advantage. He saw connections in black and white.

He had heard the warnings in Exodus and Deuteronomy regarding the terrible things that would happen to Israel if they were unfaithful to God by worshipping idols or other gods. Tina did not realize how much of that he stored away until she got to sections that told of Israel worshipping other gods. Every time she would read one of those passages, Chris would ask, “Why are they doing that? Don’t they know what is going to happen?”

It seems to me that if a small child could make those connections so easily, surely adults living in the middle of these events would have been even better equipped to do so. Time and again Israel was unfaithful to the God who led them from slavery in Egypt and placed them in their own land. He brought punishments great and small as a result. You would think that subsequent generations would learn from the mistakes of earlier ones. Sadly, they did not.

My purpose for telling this story is not to heap scorn upon the ancient Israelites, but to ask a modern audience, do we do the same thing? Do we ignore the warnings and examples of Scripture to go our own way?

The average Christian may not understand a lot about Bible history or be able to adequately explain the doctrine of the Trinity. But we all know and believe what behavior pleases God and which does not. We also know that disobedience will be punished in some manner. Yet we sin. So how are we really different from the people of God who lived more than two millenniums ago?

When we look at stories in the Bible, we should always try to fit them to our own life situation and use the consequences recorded in those stories as motivation to avoid their mistakes. Let’s live as we ought, and enjoy the promises that are also recorded in Scripture in connection with obedience.

— Bob Caldwell is an adjunct professor with Central Bible College-St. Louis campus.

 

 

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