Some time ago my son Daniel said his own prayer for the first time. It was of his own volition as he asked his mother at bedtime if he could say his own. In that prayer he thanked God for all the things little children do (and big adults should). He thanked God for everyone from Mommy to Grandpa to baby brother and the dog. But the point that got Shea tickled and me thinking was when he thanked God for Jonah, David, and Daniel. These are the men he has been studying in Bible class both on Sunday and Wednesday. It was, as it is often said, “out of the mouths of babes” that an important question came to mind.
The question was: how often do we thank God for the believers of the past? God could have very easily given a list of commands and requirements a mile long and left it at that; but he chose not to do so. Instead, he gave us a series of examples, right and wrong, good and evil, of how others throughout history have dealt with various situations and commands of God. He then, through the apostle Paul, relays to us the reason for this. Paul states, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through partience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Rom. 15:4). We have numerous examples that show us the quality of life God makes available to man, the expectations of life God has for man, and the continuation of life facing all men.
Unfortunately, some consider the Biblical accounts tedious, meaningless, or useless to us today. Such could not be further from the truth. God’s expectations for man are the same today as they were at the beginning of time, to “fear God, and keep his commandments” (Ecc. 12:13). The law under which we live is different, and the means by which that law is communicated to us today is different from past times; but the expectations are still the same.
We should be ever thankful to God for the believers that came before us; for the example they left and the willingness of God to impart their lives to our benefit. Without their examples, our ability to see the impact of God’s laws in the lives of men would be greatly diminished. As you pray to God, don’t forget to thank God for believers.