The Bible is a book about people. It uses
the lives of people to teach and illustrate truth and righteousness,
rebellion and impiety. People are the ultimate products of God’s creation,
the only part of His creation blessed with a sense of ought–the will to
determine which way to go, what path to choose. He has set before man a
blessing and a curse–a blessing if he seeks after the good, a curse he seeks
after his own desires in preference to what God has commanded (see
Jesus spoke of this choosing when He described the two ways a man may
choose: a broad way that leads to destruction, or a strait way that leads to
life eternal (Matt.
7:13-14). It’s people who make these
choices. They do it of their own free will.
God has given us great illustrations of
faithfulness, couched in the character and personalities of men. For
instance, have you ever considered:
faithfulness of Abraham?
Abraham left Ur of the Chaldees of
his own free will, choosing deliberately to go out, “not knowing whither he
went.” Think about that.
You want to talk about faith? “By faith he
sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country,”
“for he looked for a city which hath
foundations whose builder and maker is God”
He saw, by the eye of faith, something
better. Do you reckon we would have the courage to do as he did? Abraham’s
faith is a model for us today. God treats our willingness to obey in the
same way He did that of Abraham.
Joseph had all kinds of difficulties handed
to him–difficulties he had done nothing to deserve. He was sold into slavery
by his own brothers. He was thrown into prison for no crime, for an
accusation by Potiphar’s wife
One thing impresses me about his virtue.
When he was with Potiphar’s wife, he hadn’t taken off his cloak; he never
intended to stay. And when she sought to seduce him, his question was, “how
then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?”
He was rejected and forgotten by those whom
he befriended, yet he never lost that virtue, nor did he ever become bitter
at the allotments of life. In fact, when he could have gotten revenge
against his brothers for selling him into slavery, he said, “Now be not
grieved nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send
me before you to preserve life”
His faithfulness remained intact, no matter
the circumstances. Joseph–an excellent example of moral excellence.
Solomon lived life with all the gusto you
can. He experienced everything life had to offer, he dipped into every phase
of possible enjoyment. He had lands and houses, slaves and servants, power
and repute, riches immeasurable. He engaged in great philanthropic
enterprises, experimented with botany, and stored up treasures of all sorts.
Furthermore, with each experiment he conducted, he said, “my wisdom remained
2:9). When it was said and done, he
determined that “all was vanity and vexation of spirit and there was no
profit under the sun”
He ultimately concluded, after all had been
said, and in perhaps the wisest of all his statements, “...fear God and keep
His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man”
Consider the wisdom of Solomon. He tried it
all; but he reached the proper conclusion about life.
meekness of Moses?
Moses was reared in Pharaoh’s house.
He had everything, what was described as “great riches,” and “treasures in
11:25-26). But in the midst of all
this power and wealth, he choose–deliberately chose–“...to suffer affliction
with the people of God, rather than the pleasures of sin for a season.” Why?
Because, “he had respect unto the recompense of the reward”
He saw, by faith, something better. He took
control of his faith and, in doing so, made himself the object of scorn and
disdain in a true statement of meekness. He put his strength under control.
He managed himself in accordance with what he understood to be the greater.
To subordinate one’s will to the will of God is the essence of meekness.
Moses demonstrated that meekness in a most marvelous manner.
devotion of Paul?
Saul was an enemy of the church in
his early years. He calls himself a “Hebrew of Hebrews”
He was likely destined for greatness in the
religion of the Jews. This same Saul was to become the Apostle Paul, the
most intense defender of the faith of his or any other time. He “suffered
the loss of all things” that he might win Christ. He counted all the worldly
things he had discarded as mere refuge in order to maintain his devotion to
the cause of his Master, Jesus. He was beaten, shipwrecked, had his brethren
swore out oaths to slay him. He was stoned and left for dead, was in perils
of various sorts (see 2 Cor. 11:22-28),
with death at his heels all the days of his life. Yet, was it not he who
said, “our light affliction, which is but for a moment worketh for us a far
greater and eternal weight of glory”
See his devotion–his total commitment to
the cause, his unfaltering faith in Jesus Christ. What a great example of
Or all the others? On and on we could go.
What about the heart of David, or the humility of John the Baptist, or the
courage of Peter, or the love of the Apostle John, or the encouraging words
of Barnabas? They were all people, people just like you and me. God has
given us information about them so that we might learn how to please Him and
what to do to avoid His displeasure. What a wonderful book, this Bible! What
a people book!