Our place in the Story
If we allow the narrative nature of scripture to lead us we can more easily see how the entire Story holds together and how we are supposed (in general) to live our lives out before God.
Should we expect the actors in Act 3 of a ten Act play to know as much as those in Act 10? If the playwright presents his drama as unfolding over a period of centuries it’s hardly surprising that those that lived out their part in the early stages would not grasp the overarching drift of the story.
If the political and cultural setting is very different for the people of Act 4 than for those in Act 9 then we shouldn’t expect them to respond in Act 9 terms. They can’t possibly live out their parts in the way later actors will do, whose crises, structures, cultures, questions and blessings are shaped differently than theirs. Their response of faith will differ in shape and content from those whose times differ from their own. Why is it that modern believers do not put their babies in little baskets and set then floating on the rivers?
The obedience of faith is similar in some respects for all believers. It is actions and attitudes that rise out of the faith of those who trust in the living God. But depending on where one is in the unfolding Story that faith will express itself in peculiar ways.
Confronted by a wilderness, the obedience of faith will...
Confronted by the Mosaic Covenant, the obedience of faith will...
Confronted by Jesus Christ and his cross, the obedience of faith will...
The heart that would respond to God in faith at the wilderness would respond in faith to God at the cross of Christ.
The heart that would respond to God in faith via Moses would respond to God in faith via Jesus Christ (compare John 5:46).
In Isaiah 36 & 37 the word of the Lord is that the city of Jerusalem would not fall to the Assyrians and faith’s response would be to believe that. In Jeremiah 26 the word of the Lord is that the city of Jerusalem will fall. Faith’s response to that would be to believe that the city will fall to the Babylonians.
Throughout the ages and the changes in covenant structures there are some things that do not change. One of them is the God who has made a commitment to bring the human family to glory in eternal life and the other is the response of faith in the believers. However different their circumstances or their place in the Story they will live out their trust in God in appropriate ways.