Having the whole complete Bible as Christians living in this age, it can be easy for us to pick and choose to pay attention to certain parts of the Bible--especially when it comes to application in our present spiritual lives. Take the Old Testament for example: sometimes we read and come across a similar theme over a couple chapters or books, or we read a bunch of names that have no meaning to us, and so we skim through, just wanting to move on. But there is a reason why every word in the Bible is present in the book we have today. Even if we can’t see it now, it all has a lesson we can learn from. Romans 15:4 is in fact proof of this point.
Hebrews is a whole book in the New Testament that is dedicated toward explaining how the old law was a temporary path with lessons and teachings which are relevant even in the new law. The phrase “by faith” comes up twenty-four times in Hebrews 11 alone, giving examples of the power of God and why it is important to live the with zealous faith these Hebrew ancestors had. But much of the Old Testament shows the constant ebb and flow of the Israelites’ love and sin against God. As we read, we sometimes think, “Really? How many times must the Israelites learned their lesson? If I lived back then, I surely would not have acted as they had.” Such thoughts are folly. As Hebrews 12 reminds us, these stories are to be a reminder and encouragement of what a life living with God versus a life living against God looks like. Think of how many examples there are of this ebb and flow, then let us reflect on our own spiritual lives, every time we questioned God, sinned, and so on. We will find that we are no better and, like the Israelites, humble repentance is the only way back.
We must think as well, “How did we get so blessed to have such an opportunity to pray and repent instead of offering animal sacrifices?” We have this opportunity because of the love and mercy from our Lord God and His only Son, Jesus Christ. But God's destruction and wrath as seen in the Old Testament is just as prominent in the New Testament. Do not think for one second that because of God’s love and mercy through His Son that we are above discipline or cannot fall back into God’s wrath. It is only through God's glory and Jesus's perfect sacrifice that we can be cleansed completely of sin.