By Zack DeBerry
This weekend, we’re starting a series called Context, where we’re looking into the Old Testament to learn what it is and why it matters to you TODAY! With that in mind, we wanted to share a few stories from the Old Testament that meant something to us personally. We hope you find the stories that connect with you!
Ridiculous Faith in the Old Testament
When we think about what it means to follow Jesus with all of our heart, we all agree that it requires a life of Faith. While the most well-known definition of faith may be found in Hebrews, where the writer states:
“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”
If you continue to read that chapter it goes on to name many people who lived faithful lives following Jesus’ gospel from the Old Testament. Reading this chapter in Hebrews always leaves me with a question. Why would a New Testament writer take the time to list off a bunch of names from the Old Testament to reveal what it means to walk by faith in our life?
I mean isn’t the whole point really Jesus and just doing what He says? I think the writer of Hebrews understood something that we could all learn from. The writer of Hebrews knew that in order to truly understand what was happening through Jesus we must understand that Jesus was in existence from the beginning of time and present in the Old Testament. The writer of Hebrews was showing us that Context matters and the Old Testament matters if we are to understand what a life of faith looks like.
I must admit, however, that I didn’t always see it like this. Up until about 2 years ago I never even opened the Old Testament in my Bible reading. It was something I didn’t really see the bigger value in. It seemed like all that really mattered was the Gospel writers and the Apostle Paul had to say that mattered “the most.”
It wasn’t until I decided to read through the entire Bible chronologically that I stumbled on a wealth of stories of Faith in the Old Testament. One of the Characters in the Old Testament that has had an impact on me in the last couple of years is Elisha. You can read about Elisha’s life in 1 & 2 Kings. Elisha has become a favorite of mine because of his ridiculous faith. The first time we get a glimpse of this faith in action is in 1 Kings 19:19-21.
We see the prophet Elijah come and basically call Elisha to be his successor, which are some big shoes to fill. When Elijah finds Elisha, Elisha is hard at work plowing a field. Basically just going about his normal day to day activities.
Elijah puts his cloak on Elisha, which was just a way of signifying that he would take him under his wings. Elisha then does something interesting. He not only accepts the call to be Elijah’s pupil and eventual replacement, but he takes his normal day to day activity and destroys it. Here is what the text says:
“So Elisha returned to his oxen and slaughtered them. He used the wood from the plow to build a fire to roast their flesh. He passed around the meat to the townspeople, and they all ate. Then he went with Elijah as his assistant.”
1 Kings 19:21
What a crazy and incredible thing to do! Elisha is saying from this moment on my life is changed. I will not be needing this old way of life any longer. His outward actions reveal a massive change in his life. Elisha demonstrated a faith in this call from God through Elijah that most would not be able to do.
This story is something that stands out to me personally because as I embark on what God is calling me to do personally I hope that I can respond as Elisha did. I hope that I will be able to drop everything I know as “normal” and lay it aside for a life of Faith and dependency on Jesus.
Elisha has many more instances of ridiculous faith in his life and I encourage you to read through some of his story in 1 & 2 Kings. It is remarkable what God does through Elisha because of his faith and it is incredible to think what God can do through all of us as we give our lives to His call in faith.
As we begin this new series called Context, I hope that it will challenge you to look at the Old Testament and the people and stories that are written about them in a new way.