I've been reading through the Old Testament for some time now. Like I said in an earlier post, I don't understand everything that's going on in these Old Testament stories. I haven't studied enough about ancient history to know dates, time frames and the like. But I still find it all very interesting and a bit fascinating. Especially when you really grasp that these aren't just stories. These people really lived, just like you and I are today. They had the same feelings, the same societal problems, the same issues that come with living in this world. They laughed, they cried, they ate, they drank, they got sick, they died. They were no different than we are.
We also have one more thing in common with the people that lived in Old Testament times.
We disappoint God when we sin.
It all starts in Genesis 3. Adam and Eve lived in paradise on earth. They walked with God each day in the Garden of Eden. They had everything they could possibly need. Life was perfect. But just like us, they wanted just a little bit more. What they had wasn't enough. We all know how that story ends. Adam and Eve sinned. They had to leave paradise. Were they sorry? Probably, but they still had to suffer the consequences of their choices.
If you keep reading the Old Testament until you get all the way to the end of Malachi, you'll see that things didn't change. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years passed, but nothing changed! People still wanted more. They weren't satisfied with what God gave them. And when they didn't get their way, they sought other gods. They sinned.
Doesn't that sound like our world today? How many different religions are there that have nothing to do with the One True God? There are too many to count. Sometimes a 'god' doesn't have anything to do with a religion. It can be money, a job, another person. Whatever. Anything we put in God's place in our hearts and our lives becomes a god or an idol.
God's chosen people did that time and time again throughout the Old Testament. Being on this side of it all, I can't help but think, "Good grief, people!! Why didn't you get it?!" And yet...Don't we live in the exact same place today? People just don't get it! They don't live their lives to please God. They only live to please themselves.
But, just like there are today, there were those Old Testament figures who didn't disobey. They loved God with all their heart, mind and soul. They did what they were supposed to do. They lived to please God. They are the ones we should emulate. Take Daniel, for instance. Even though he was a captive, was probably castrated, was lied about and was thrown in a pit of hungry lions (when he was 80 years old!), he didn't turn his back on God. Not once. He lived his whole life in honor of the God of Heaven.
Think about it. In a hundred years, what would your life story look like on paper? Would it look like the Israelites and their continued disobedience? Sure, we've all got things in our past we certainly don't want written down, but hopefully we've learned from those mistakes and are pressing forward, never to make them again. "Live for God!" should be our daily motto.
What is YOUR story? It's never too late for a happy ending!