But it was not for him alone that it was written...
It's been virtually forever since I have posted. Most of that is due to changing schedules and online courses.
To get back to it...
Today we read of Abraham's faith. We are told by Paul that Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness (v. 3). But in this verse he points out that it was not written for Abraham's benefit alone. It was written for all who would read and believe. In other words, it was written with us in mind.
I wonder if we typically approach the Scripture with that kind of anticipation. Do we see the Bible as something written a long time ago to ancient peoples that we can learn something from? Or, do we understand that the Scriptures were written just as much to us as to the original audience? Is the Bible a book of history, stories, and poetry, or is it God's word to us today?
The answers are telling. If we look at it as something written to others, we come to it as something merely beneficial and inspirational. It's like reading greeting cards or Chicken Soup for the Soul, or something. But if it's God's word to us today, then we approach it with the expectation that we will hear something fresh, something new and relevant for our lives today.
Over the last couple of weeks I have had more than a few encounters with those who believe that much of the Bible is not to be taken literally, but rather that we are to glean the primary lesson from the passage and apply it to our lives. It seems to me that they are essentially in the first category. This may not be intentional and they may even deny it, but I cannot imagine that the impact of the Scriptures can be as great when you are telling yourself things like "this didn't really happen." On the other hand, when we come to the Scriptures with the simplicity of a child (Mt. 18:3), and take God at His word, and expect that He will speak to us through it as surely as He spoke to those of whom we read, then we will, indeed, hear the Spirit speaking and be able to follow what He is saying.
Abraham believed God, hoping against hope, and was rewarded for his faith. He did not earn anything from God, but he believed God, and, therefore, obeyed. There's a lot to learn from that. But there's even more to be applied as we hear God calling us to faith and obedience.