(Rom 15:4) For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
Educators have always looked for successful ways to get their students motivated to learn. New theories are constantly being offered. Workshops and creative idea classes are endlessly being presented. New media technology is being introduced into the learning process. But when it comes to real life sometimes the best way to learn is through someone else’s choices and consequences. This is what you call vicarious learning.
I know a lot about vicarious learning. You see, I’m the youngest of three brothers. Growing up I would watch my brothers and what they did and observe the results. I filed this away and it helped me to exercise wisdom in my choices. Unfortunately, at times I disregarded this vicarious learning and had to be taught by a stricter teacher . . . real life consequences!
The northern kingdom of Israel was backslidden into idolatry and they were reaping what they had sown. God told the southern kingdom of Judah to learn from this so they would avoid the same discipline of God. (Jer 3:8) "Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also. So, Judah, as well had to learn from a stricter teacher as they failed to learn vicariously.
Look, and learn. The lessons are there in the Bible stories as well as in real life. There are enough problems we face in life without adding our own self-induced problems as well. But then again, if that’s how we’re going to learn then of course God’s mercy and grace is always going to be there to cover us and to teach us. But we have to say that vicarious learning is still the softer teacher.
(Gal 6:7-9) Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.