Verse of the Day Devotion: Romans 15:4
“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.” – Romans 15:4
When we read the Old Testament, we learn a lot about the history of God’s dealings with mankind. First is, of course, our creation in Genesis 1 -2. How He created the heavens and the earth, and then formed the earth as a perfect place for His ultimate creation, mankind, to live in perfect peace with Himself. From there, we see the fall of mankind and ultimately the coming of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. However, from what Paul tells us from our focus verse, there is more to learn in the Old Testament then the history of mankind. We also have the opportunity to learn God’s ways in dealing with man, and ultimately with us. As the focus verse says, “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.” Romans 15:4.
The author of Hebrews tells us that God is unchanging, and the way He dealt with the people of the Old Testament is the same as He deals with us. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8. God has not changed one iota regarding how He deals with His people. If we believe in Him and follow His ways, then God will watch over us just as He watched over Israel in the wilderness. This should give us incredible hope. Remember also in Hebrews what hope is. It is what we look forward to, knowing it will come to pass. It is knowing it will happen, not desiring it to happen.
So, when we look in the Old Testament, we see how God guided His people through the wilderness, giving them a beautiful and prosperous land as their inheritance. No matter what trials they came upon in their journey, God delivered them. We can take comfort in this as well, knowing that whatever trials we come upon, He already knows about them and will bring us safely through them. There were several times when God’s people experienced times of famine, and again, God brought them through. And He will do the same for us. When they needed to hear from God, He spoke to them, either through prophets or directly. Great examples of this were King David, Moses, and Joshua. And He will speak to us as well when we need to hear His words. And remember when Elijah was challenged by the prophets of Baal: that God made it known that He was God, and then comforted Him in the wilderness when they wanted to kill Him. (1 Kings 18:20-40)
I want to encourage everyone reading this to look at the Old Testament not only as a means to learn history, but also as a way to be encouraged that as He took care of His people in the Old Testament, He will take care of us as well. We need to use these scriptures to see the blessings Israel had from God, knowing that He will bless us in a similar way. And through this, it will help us to see the hope we have in God, and how He will never leave or forsake us, and our future is just as wonderful too.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.