For whatever things were written
before were written for our learning, that we through the patience
and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
It is not difficult to think of ways
an automobile could be improved but it was no easy thing
to invent the wheel! Anyone who has ever tried to do something for
which there was absolutely no precedent knows how valuable EXAMPLES
can be. Patterns are important in life even imperfect ones
and we are fortunate to have many patterns of godly people
to go by in making our own lives pleasing to God. (Philippians 3:17;
1 Peter 5:3)
Every example in the Bible was put
there by God because there was something about it that God wanted
us to profit from. (Romans 15:4; Hebrews 12:1-2)
A GREAT EXAMPLE OF FAITH
TIME AND AGAIN, Abraham showed by his obedience
that he really trusted God. In leaving Ur. (Hebrews 11:8-10) In
accepting Gods promises. (Genesis 15:1-6; Romans 4:18-22)
In offering Isaac. (Hebrews 11:17-19)
Considering his family and his environment, it
is remarkable that Abraham had the faith he did. (Joshua 24:2,
14-15) Faith did not come any easier for Abraham than for us.
A GREAT EXAMPLE OF FORGIVENESS
Not once, but several times, Joseph suffered injustices
that were worse than anything any of us have ever suffered. His
brothers hated him and thought about killing him. They sold him
as a slave into Egypt. He was lied about by Potiphars wife
and wrongly put in prison by Potiphar. Pharaohs butler failed
to keep his word to help get him out of prison.
But Josephs forgiving attitude is exemplified
in his treatment of his brothers. (Genesis 45:3-5, 14-15; 50:15-21)
GREAT EXAMPLE OF LEADERSHIP
The greatness of Moses leadership of Israel
is all the MORE IMPRESSIVE when we REMEMBER that he was reluctant
at first to accept the work God had for him. (Exodus 3:11, 13;
4:1, 10, 13) Many would be happy to accept Solomons leadership
position, but few would be interested in Moses role.
Moses illustrates that being a leader
in the things of God SOMETIMES MEANS little more than suffering
hardship for a lifetime - working for things that others will
be able to enjoy later. (Deuteronomy 3:23-28)
GREAT EXAMPLE OF COURAGE
There are several kinds of courage and
David apparently had them all.
The secret of Davids courage was his confidence
that the battle is the Lords. (1 Samuel 17:45-47)
Everything that Jesus ever did was admirable and
worthy of emulation. (John 13:15) Jesus declares the
Father. (John 1:14, 18) Jesus shows us exactly what God is like
in terms we can understand. (Hebrews 1:3)
Living the Christian life amounts to a continual
striving to learn and do the Lords will. (Ephesians 5:17;
1 Peter 3:15) Doing the Lords will comes down to following
the Lords example: doing in every situation what we are
convinced He Himself would do if He were in our place.
We sometimes use examples for the
wrong reasons. Sometimes we use them to justify what we are presently
doing. Worse, we sometimes use them to demonstrate how much better
we are than others.
Instead, we ought to use the examples of others to discover areas
where some adjustment or improvement needs to be made in our own
lives. All of the great examples in the Bible (with the exception
of the Lord Himself) are of people who had faults and foibles just
as we do. But they were people who did what each of us can do: they
chose to be faithful to God.
There are great examples of faith living
in every generation, and we ought to learn from those living in
our own. (Hebrews 13:7; 1 Corinthians 11:1)
Whether the examples we follow are
those in the Bible or those living in our own time, their message
comes down to basically one thing: it is possible to hold out!
My brethren, take
the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example
of suffering and patience. Indeed we count them blessed who endure.
You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended
by the Lord that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.
Over the holidays we received the new
bond proposal. Following our fellowship meal, we will have a short
meeting to briefly explain this proposal.