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December 10, 2018

Ep.1051: What Do the Faithful Old Testament Characters Teach Us?

The strength and tenacity of several Old Testament heroes of faith

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CHAPTERS

[00:17:52]
What can we learn from the heroism of Noah?


[00:36:11]
What about the faith of Abram?


[00:54:20]
Joseph dealt with sibling rivalry, false accusations and prison - what kept him faithful?


[01:12:32]
How did Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego handle extreme pressure?


Theme Scripture: Hebrews 12:1

As Christians we are always talking about faith and its indispensable role in our lives, for without it we really are not true Christians at all. We are always looking for ways to inspire our faith towards higher and more mature levels. Finding this motivation does not have to be a difficult task, as the Old Testament is full of individuals whose faith and actions were God-honoring and incredibly heroic. If we observe and study their lives we will find a treasure trove of faith-strengthening tools and examples for our practical everyday use. How much did they know of God’s plan when they were tested? What were the obstacles that they were beset with? What kinds of social pressure did they have to deal with? Were their choices along the lines of "good, better, best" or were they clear black and white decisions? What does all of this mean to us?

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Living now in the 21st century, it might be tempting to look back to the faith heroes of Old Testament times and see a glaring irrelevancy as we compare their experiences with our lives. After all, the greatest technology of their time was the heating and fashioning of metals, the invention of simple mechanical devices and the creation of string and wind musical instruments. What could they possibly have to offer us as we face a technology-driven world that overflows with information, virtual worlds, temptation and sensory overstimulation? The answer is a foundation. They, by their faithfulness, give us the materials on which to build a successful Christian life.

Take Deborah, the Old Testament prophet and judge in Israel before the times when they had a king. Leadership was sorely lacking, as the nation had been oppressed for many years. When it can time to fight this oppression, Deborah prophesied that God would lead them to victory. Now that’s all well and good, but they needed to have a general who would have the guts to lead them into battle. They didn’t. His response to Deborah was essentially, “I’m not going unless you go with me!” She does go and the battle is won. The lesson for us is practical and appropriate. When it comes to following godly principles, step up and step out. Be the example, even if it’s not your “job.” In the famous words of Nike, “Just do it!”

This is but one of many profound examples of grass roots practical and life-changing faith in action we can learn from Old Testament heroes. Think about the likes of Noah and Joseph. And then there are others who are not quite so famous but did some of the most astounding things. Who am I talking about? Check out our December 10, 2018 podcast, “What Do the Old Testament Faithful Teach Us?” for more. We highlight several individuals by isolating their specific challenges regarding the seeming impossibility of their tasks. We also observe the inordinate pressures they faced both publicly as well as from their peers. What we find is everything we need to build our own lives of faith!

 

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