We continue this week in our three-part series of the influence of the Old Testament on our hope.
Four, the Old Testament miracles inspire us to have a hope of the present and of the future. For instance, God’s deliverance of Noah and his family from the flood gives us hope that God has the ability to deliver us from natural disasters and calamities. Even in the midst of natural disasters today, God still delivers many people. Also, the supernatural sustenance of Israel in the wilderness for forty years reminds us that God is our sufficiency and our Shepherd, who can sustain us even in times of adversities.
Five, the faith of Abraham in the Old Testament inspires us to have hope. Abraham, the father of faith, encourages us to learn to trust God even when the circumstances around us are daunting. Abraham trusted God and followed him “not knowing where he was going.” His faith and obedience inspire us today “not to be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”
Six, the Old Testament teaches us the lessons of those who by their sacrifices provoked God’s power. Noah’s sacrifice made God resolve “never again’ would he destroy his creation (Gen. 8:20-22). Abraham obeyed God when called upon to sacrifice his only son. For daring to believe, God miraculously provided him with a lamb in place of Isaac; he reminds us that God is our Jehovah Jireh. Solomon’s sacrifice provoked God to say to him, “Ask, what shall I do for you?” He eventually blessed him with exceptional wisdom and riches. His second sacrifice made God appear to him the second time. Elijah’s sacrifice attracted God’s fire from heaven and once and for all convinced the unbelieving and skeptical Israel and the prophets of Baal of God’s sovereign power.
Seven, the Old Testament describes Abraham as the father of faith but he also could be called the father of hope. His defiant hope described by Paul in Romans 4:18-21 is an abiding testimony to us in this generation that hope does not disappoint.
Eight, the triumph of Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Hannah over physical barrenness is an encouragement that faith in God no matter how long it may take can overcome physical disabilities and can transform barrenness into fruitfulness.
Nine, the life, travails, failures and triumph of the Old Testament saints are monumental lessons and encouragement to our generation to run the Christian race with perseverance. Their lives inspire us to live a life of holiness, faith, obedience, sacrifice and dedication. The book of Hebrews chapter 11 is a catalog of the heroes of faith from the Old Testament. It describes the Old Testament saints as “a cloud of witnesses” who persevered in faith despite all odds and “they should not be made perfect without us.”
Ten, Ruth the Moabite, represents one of the heroines of the Old Testament. Beyond that, her rise from widowhood to become a progenitor in the lineage of Jesus Christ gives us hope that God can bring glory and honour out of the misfortunes of life and could choose inconsequential vessels for his glory. Her loyalty to Naomi is a lesson of the interplay of destiny and courage.
Eleven, the divine election of men and women like Joseph, Jacob, Jephthah, Rahab and Ruth in the Old Testament gives us hope about the sovereign grace of God over men’s destiny. It gives us hope that with God no man or women is without a future and therefore, should not be written off.