“For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (15:4)
This is Paul’s appeal to the New Testament church to not reject the Old Testament. Everything in there is still perfectly valid. The lessons we can learn from the relationships people had with God and each other 4,000 years ago still apply. God is the same. Mankind is generally the same, too.
There are lists of laws, but there more narratives of how application of those laws were, or were not, obeyed. It also shows a lot of God in the grey areas. What does He prioritize in the sight of many evils?
God is said to be patient, but how patient? The book of Kings might give you a glimpse of His depth of patience.
Something you will find over and over, (which is primarily highlighted in this chapter as well) is God’s command to highly consider the needs of others. To consider their needs as much as we consider our own.
Something that cuts me to the core is when I consider the Syrian refugees in Greece. They are stuck. They are terrorized. There is no where for them to go. Yes, some countries are letting some in, but maybe half as many as there are, which leaves about 2 million hopelessly trapped. And Greece wants to send them home. HOME. Which doesn’t exist anymore because it was bombed to smithereens. They lay awake at night wondering what will happen to them, unable to dream. The world has shut them out and devalued their lives. Many are committing suicide.
This isn’t happening to me, why do I care? Because GOD SO CARES. He loves those hopeless refugees as much as He loves me. The Kingdom of God has open arms. I don’t want to sit on the sidelines. We’d all like to think we would have done something heroic in some other previous crisis in world history, but this is history now.
What am I going to do? I’m finding a way over there. I don’t have kids, I don’t have a husband to ask besides the Lord who says, “YES!” I’m moving to Greece at the earliest opportunity. Pray for the way to be made. God wants to get me there.
What is it for you? The foster kid crisis? Your struggling neighbors? God puts different burdens on His people’s hearts to accomplish the long list of troubles.
“Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just to please ourselves.” (15:1)