Learning from those who proceeded us in faith
by Pastor Dave Strem
Used by permission
- Abraham: Father of All Who Live by faith
- Rebekah: She Who Went the Second Mile
- Jacob: The Man Who Became the Prince of Israel
- Shamgar: God’s Unknown Warrior
- David: A Heart Formed Toward God
- Elijah and Elisha: God’s Prophets Against Idolatry
- Esther: Orphan Girl Who Became Queen
- Nehemiah: Fought the Good Fight
The contents of this booklet is based and built on the “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants” series that Pastor Dave Strem preached during the summer of 2003. James W. Skeen is the contributing editor. The goal of converting the messages into written form is to give the truths contained within this series a more durable form. Each chapter was designed to be concise and informative. Malachi 3:16-17 teach us what kind of attitude God is looking for in His people. Malachi is the last book of the Old Testament. It is God’s last words of special revelation until New Testament times. After all the laws, battles, and hardships endured, listen to what He says concerning those who love and care about Him. “Then those who feared the Lord spoke with each other, and the Lord listened to what they said. In his presence, a scroll of remembrance was written to record the names of those who feared him and loved to think about him. ‘They will be my people,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘On the day when I act, they will be my own special treasure. I will spare them as a father spares an obedient and dutiful child.’” Good Christian literature helps us to think about, or contemplate, God. And that is the ultimate goal of this booklet. Trinity Evangelical Free Church wants you to grow in the knowledge and grace of Jesus Christ. We hope and pray that the lessons contained within the lives of the men and women of faith studied in this booklet will bless your life. None of the biblical figures studied was perfect. All had flaws. But God was able to use each one because they were willing to partner together with Him to accomplish great things. They are our examples. We can learn from them. “All of these people we have mentioned received God’s approval because of their faith…” (Hebrews 11:39a). Let us stand on their shoulders and learn what it means to follow God in good times and bad, when things are clear to us and when they are not. May our shoulders one day be broad enough for others to stand on as they pursue God’s will for their lives. Please receive this booklet in the spirit in which it is given. Read, learn, and go forth with God!
The Bible records the history of God’s activities on behalf of humankind. Its contents range from the creation of the world, through the destruction of the world, and finally ends by describing a re-creation that will be free of sin and its corruption. God makes Himself known through the things that He does and says. The beauty and functionality of Creation speak of a powerful and benevolent Maker. There is much that can be learned by listening to Creation’s witness. But with Creation as His only witness there are aspects of God’s character and being that would remain unknown to us. God must reveal Himself in a personal way in order for us to understand Him as a personal Being. This personal self-revelation is recorded in the Bible. It is called special revelation. Creation’s witness is called natural or general revelation. Both are needed to give us an accurate image of who God is.
All the stories that you have read in this booklet are true. They really happened. They are not mere myths told for moral affect. The characters are not cleaned-up to make them more admirable, and thus better moral teachers. They were real people in real situations. None of them was perfect, but from each we can learn lessons of faith that God finds noteworthy. The key to the positive witness of each of the characters studied was that each learned to trust God in difficult circumstances.
Although each chapter in this booklet has the name of a human subject, this booklet is ultimately more about God than it is about Abraham, Rebekah, Jacob, Shamgar, David, Elijah, Elisha, Esther, or Nehemiah. These biblical figures are revered because they did great things. Most importantly, they did great things that will be remembered because they partnered with God to do them. Other men and women in the history of this world have done ‘great’ things, but God will not remember them at the Judgment. Only those things that were done with His approval and partnership will be positively remembered. If you want God to honor and remember you, then you must learn the spiritual lessons contained in the lives of those biblical giants who have preceded you in faith.
Now that you know these things the prayer of Peter seems appropriate. “You therefore, beloved, since you know these things beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen” (2 Peter 3:17-18).