For Our Instruction

David Bast

READ : 1 Corinthians 10:1-13

These things . . . were written down for our instruction. (v. 11 ESV)

As we prepare to study the book of Exodus, you might think about how to view the Old Testament. Is this just an entertaining storybook, filled with exciting adventures and memorable characters? Should we use it as a moral textbook, offering examples of good or bad behavior? Paul does speak of Old Testament history as example. He also says, “Whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4).

So the Old Testament was written for our instruction as Christians, those “on whom the end of the ages has come” with the coming of Jesus. But we are also part of “the Israel of God” (Galatians 6:16). The Old Testament saints are one with us in the family of God. Their lives do have much to teach about what it means to live by faith, and about how not to live if you want to belong to the people of God.

But the best thing about Old Testament history is what it teaches us about God. It’s true we need steadfastness. But the real “encouragement of the Scriptures” that gives us hope is the steadfast love and faithfulness of God. We can see those on every page of the book.

PRAYER

Thank you, Lord, for the encouragement of the Scriptures. Amen.