The Bible is not a written record of perfect people (except for Jesus, of course). From beginning to end, God’s Word points out in painful detail the mistakes made by its characters.

Adam and Eve failed to obey God’s specific restrictions (Gen. 2:15-17; 3:1-7). Abram lied about his relationship to Sarai (Gen. 12:10-20). Moses grew angry and struck the rock in disobedience to God (Num. 20:7-12). David committed adultery and murder (2 Sam. 11-12). Solomon started out well but turned from God for a time (1 Ki. 3:5-9;11:1-43). Peter denied knowing Jesus (Mt. 26:69-75).

The Bible’s honest portrayal of the troubles that its characters brought upon themselves and others reminds me of what humorist Sam Levenson once said: “You must learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t possibly live long enough to make them all yourself.”

It is for our instruction that the Bible records the sinful actions of many of its key figures. The old saying “Those who don’t learn from history are bound to repeat it” is true here as well. As we see the errors made by biblical characters, we can ask the Lord to protect us from making similar mistakes.