When a teacher uses objects to illustrate a lesson, it helps us remember the object of the lesson. It ingrains the real meaning in our minds and hearts in a special way.
Jesus, the Master Teacher, used lots of object lessons that were very relevant to His day, as well as ours. Jesus and His followers did a lot of walking, and on those walks the disciples were challenged to learn from what they saw. Wheat fields taught them about sowing good seed (the Word of God) and reaping a harvest (souls won to Christ). In Matthew 13 there are three stories about grain.
On another walk Jesus said, “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap…yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:26). And in the same lesson Jesus pointed to the flowers and said, “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” (Matthew 6:28-30).
Wouldn’t you like to have been on those walks with the Savior? Well, at least we have His words preserved for us. And the lessons are as practical for us as they were to His friends centuries ago.
This morning our Sunday School lesson was about Hosea. What a heavy truth he lived out to illustrate God’s love for His people. God told Hosea to marry a prostitute. He did. And she was unfaithful to him. Again God told Hosea to go after her and bring her back. After all of Gomer’s unfaithfulness, Hosea bought her from slavery and took her back as his wife. What a sobering object lesson. And the point was that Israel had been acting like a harlot going after other gods. But God, her husband, was willing to pay the price to buy her back and restore her to the role of forgiven wife. After Israel suffered the consequences of her unfaithfulness, God gives this promise. “I will betroth you to Me forever; yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in lovingkindness and mercy” (Hosea 2:19).
Are there times in our lives when we have been unfaithful to our loving God? Putting other things before Him and spurning His love? Are there times when we worry about material things like food and clothing when we should be trusting God to meet all of our needs, physical and spiritual? Don’t these object lessons prod us to be more faithful?