In Defense of Learning Our History

Perhaps I’m biased given that I was a history major, but I think there’s something to it. There is something about history that makes it important for us to know. So much of our Scripture is our history, the history of God’s chosen people. There is a reason that God has it in his word. I think it is valuable for us.

There may be times when genealogies are taxing on our attention. It is hard to press through the seemingly endless battles and changes of leadership. But take a step back and look at what God has done and is doing. David sings a song of thanks in 1 Chronicles 16 because of what God has done. Read his words and think how much of that is history.

David Playing the Harp, Jan de Bray, 1670

If David did not know his own past and the story of God’s faithfulness, what would his songs and psalms look like? What would become of his trust in God continued provision for the people? I’m sure he was supported in his belief because he could look back into past generations and see the faithfulness God has toward his people and the long-suffering that God displays as his people turn from him.

Knowing our history also gives us perspective about our place in this world. We’re not the only ones to have struggled or question, nor are we the first to have great victories for God. We are very much like God’s people throughout time, and thankfully God is the same, too.

Our God is always faithful and always deserving of songs of praise. We ought to reflect on our individual histories and recognize God’s work in our lives. But don’t forget the way in which you fit into God’s greater history and offer him thanks and praise for his goodness that extends backward beyond our own entry into life.

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!
1 Chronicles 16:24

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