For some now, God has laid it on my heart to do a series on success principles … not what you’re thinking … To look at great men and women, especially of the Bible, and in particular, the Old Testament … What principles, characteristics, did they share? What can we learn, and apply, from what they learned, and applied?
There’s an old saying that, to be successful, you look at what successful people are doing, or have done, and you do the same thing. “Copy them” would be another term that comes to mind. I have learned that if something is “an old saying,” there’s a reason it’s still around. Aren’t we supposed to “be like Christ?” Our goal should be to know Him first, and then make Him known to others. I’ve also learned that every “success principle” has its roots in Scripture. Man has taken it, changed it, used it, but these principles haven’t changed.
In no certain order, I’ll just list some of the first characteristics that come to mind, and I can see almost all of, if not all these, in every Biblical hero I can think of:
Faith, humility, courage, obedience, perseverance, patience, they listened, and they spoke boldly.
These were real people, who had real lives. They had emotions, thoughts, and feelings. They faced great challenges-and disappointments. They experienced great victory, and great loss.
They had family, friends, and enemies. They were surrounded by sinful people, and so often, a sinful nation. They were persecuted for their faith. They were mocked, made fun of-all the way up to imprisonment and death. They faced the loss of their family, their property, their status (Oh No! Not That!), even their lives.
The more I write, the more I realize that they were just like us.
But, what did they do, to overcome “all of the above?”
That’s quite a list. Yes, I want to be like Jesus, but He has given us others to learn from. I will always urge you to read your Bible: To pray more, read more, be more. I’ll never forget when, years ago, Carol was reading the Old Testament, when she was approached by someone who asked her, “What are you reading that for?” This was meant in reference to reading the Old Testament, in favor of the New. I have just finished a series of character studies on those great Old Testament saints. I am so glad we have them, and their stories, for our examples. After all, that’s exactly why they were written.
Just today, Carol was saying how awesome the first 6 chapters of Daniel were. I agree. How sad the day was, when I was first involved in teaching youth class. There were kids-teenagers-who were “raised in church” who did not know who Noah was. Who Moses was. Who Joseph was. Etc. How sad that was. I said then, and it’s funny, I have said this often over the past years: “When was the last time you heard a sermon on Moses? On Noah? On Joseph? On Daniel? On Joshua? The three Hebrew boys thrown in the fiery furnace?”
I’ll never forget, one day, I was reading to a boy, probably 8-10 years old, who I can honestly say had never been to church once in his whole life. I just happened to have a “Children’s Bible Story” book on the bookshelf, and I read him the story of Daniel in the lion’s den, and then story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. His eyes were as big as saucers; he was speechless, as he hung on every word, on the edge of his seat. Did I mention he had never been to church before? His reaction to the stories were the same as mine, when I read them again, only recently, and Carol’s reaction today.
What set them apart?
Because they were “Set Apart.”
Often, they set themselves apart, and often, God “put them apart.”
They were “set apart” to “play a part” in God’s plan.
I’m so glad they were, and that we have God’s Word to learn about them, and from them.