Old dogs may have a disadvantage when it comes to learning new tricks, but crafty ones know how to use experiences of the past to capitalize on the moment. The best learn how to adapt from all available lessons, not just their own.
Appropriately so, Christians look back to the ancients with a desire to learn on one hand from the successes and mistakes of predecessors and on the other hand to learn more about God and his plans. How God chose to interact with humans in the past is instructive both in its similarities as well as in its stark contrasts.
Our family noticed this dynamic as we reviewed the Wineskins heading on the Levitical Covenant. As an example, everyone wanted to read if the bible actually pronounced a death sentence on priests who did their job with messy hair. Thank God such a specific restriction does not carry over today and threaten the majority of the younger generation for their artistic hair styles. We did, however, discuss how the underlying principal does continue in effect today, but for this posting that would take us on a rabbit trail of a different hair.
As far as similarities, we discussed the curious guarantee that the priesthood would retain its authority regardless of the obedience or lack-there-of in the chosen ranks. However, individuals did not possess the safety assured to the priesthood as an office. Those who willfully violated God’s commands in some cases were allowed to stay among the tribe and eat from the offerings but lost their rights to serve before God. For more significant offenses, they lost everything, including the right to live. I am reminded of the New Covenant promise that the gates of hell cannot prevail against the Church. But, the individual Christian is admonished to keep their lamp full of Spirit oil or find themselves excluded from entering the pearly gates (Mt 25:1-13).
I’d imagine that not all God’s expectations have held popular support either in the past or in our day. Either way, they are lessons we would do well to learn.
Do you have an example from which you have learned equally valid lessons from both similarities as well as stark contrasts?