March 21st, 2016

Finding Hope in the Stories of the Bible

cross13God’s ability to work on our behalf has been repeatedly tested in the lives of men and women just like us. They learned that God could be trusted in the toughest times. The New Testament writer James encourages us to learn from their experiences. “As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.” (James 5:10)

As a youthful shepherd, David showed up at the battlefield when the giant Goliath challenged the armies and God of Israel. First Samuel 17 tells us how David volunteered to face the Philistine champion because God had previously enabled him to protect his father’s flock against the attack of a lion and a bear. Because of his experience with God’s faithful protection in past confrontations, David had a confident expectation.

In Daniel 3, three young Hebrew captives in Babylon were commanded to dishonor God by bowing before a giant idol. Armed with the remembrance of God’s deliverance of them when their convictions were challenged in Daniel 1 and their lives were threatened in Daniel 2, they stood fast. Their past experiences with God prepared them to trust in Him in this challenge as well.

We hear and read these stories so often that they lose their impact. But these were not superheroes with special enabling. They were ordinary people facing the challenges of life.

They faced those challenges with hope because their past experiences with God told them that He was worthy of their trust and confidence. Dread and apprehension turned to confidence and expectation because God had proven Himself faithful.

The Scriptures give us hope because the God described in the Bible is not only their God, He is ours! and He has not changed. He is still able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us.

No more evident is that when Christ dies for us on the cross only to have God’s promise fulfilled through the resurrection of His only Son.

Reflection

When have you felt that you have been tested beyond limits but was able to rely upon the strength of God to get you through?

Prayer

Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world and gives us all hope for eternal life, let the waters of your Spirit flow over us and sprinkle us with the blood of your sacrifice. Call us anew to follow the way of your cross and help us encourage one another.

Amen

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