Sometimes as we go through scripture, I think most of us wonder why God put all of the things he put in there. For example, why did he put all the laws he gave the Jews in Exodus and Leviticus? Or the stories of the awful things people did, stories of rape, murder, and so on. Do we really need to read all this?
But Paul says something very interesting in verse 4. He says,
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
In other words, God puts everything in his word for a purpose. Through the law, for example, we see pictures of the God’s holiness, his justice, and his mercy.
Through the awful stories, we see the sinfulness of man, and just how bad things can get when people walk away from God and do things their own way.
But we also see the grace of God working through the worst of situations to bring out something good.
We see how through times of persecution, God delivered his people. We see how even when God allowed his people to die in persecution, the peace he gave to them, even in facing death.
We see how through times of suffering, when God seemed far away, yet God was there all along and ultimately brought comfort to his people.
And because of all this, when we see evil in this world, when we go through suffering or persecution, we have hope to endure. We find the encouragement to keep on going. And as we do, we find the same God that was with his people thousands of years ago, working in their lives, is still alive today and working in us now.
So whatever you’re going through and where you are in life, let us immerse ourselves in the Scriptures. Let us remember that God is not dead, but is alive and at work in us. And as Paul prayed,
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (13)