News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Religion

January 24, 2014

THE JOY LADY: Those good Old Testament stories teach us many lessons

I love a good story — the kind of story that makes me think about it long after I’ve heard it or read about it.

The book, “Silas Marner,” is one of those stories. Silas was brutally betrayed by his fiancée, unjustly accused of a crime his best friend committed, was banished from the home and church he loved, became a recluse who refused to grow close to anyone out of fear of further hurt, and found a baby and a dead woman on his doorstep in the middle of a fierce winter storm. “Silas Marner” is a story of good triumphing over evil, a religion that is right and just, and a good life that earns great rewards.

I also love those stories from the Old Testament. I chuckle when I think about what Noah’s neighbors must have thought of him when he set out to build the ark. I like to imagine the look on Moses’ face when he encountered a bush that was burning but would not burn up. I laugh right out loud when I read about how Balaam’s donkey talked back to him revealing that the four-legged mule was smarter than the two-legged one.       

I know that some think the Old Testament is boring. (What about that one story of the earth making a big hole and swallowing up a wicked priest? Wouldn’t that make a great action movie?) Some think the Old Testament isn’t really relevant to us today. (Wonder how Isaiah would respond to that idea considering his prophecies concerning Jesus?) Still others think the Old Testament is nothing more than just a bunch of stories and we shouldn’t even waste our time on them.

Well, if you feel that way about the Old Testament, you should read 1st Corinthians 10:1-13. In that passage, we receive some warnings about the stories contained in the Old Testament. Those verses tell us that we should not be ignorant of what our forefathers saw and did. We should understand why God was not pleased with them. And we should learn a lesson about the way they died — in the middle of their constant complaining and rebellion. (Oops. We’re pretty good at that, too, aren’t we?)

We would then understand that “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. … 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 warning for us. … So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!”

Heard a good story lately? One that makes you think about it long after you’ve heard it or read it? Know a good story that might keep you from falling?

Verna Davis, speaker and writer, may be reached at vrdspeaks@yahoo.com.

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