History is not the favorite subject for most people. They think of history class and all that comes to mind is trying to memorize dates, names, and places from the past that seem to have little or no relevance to life in the present. I am not one of those people. I love history. I mean absolutely love it! Ancient history, medieval European history, The American Civil War, it doesn’t matter. My library includes close to 300 books that are nothing but history. Not only do I love to read about history but I love to visit places of historical significance. A visit to Stonehenge is as exciting to me as visiting Gettysburg, or Bastogne, or the Tower of London. For me history has always been about far more than the dates and places. It has been about the people, their experiences, the lessons to be learned from their lives, the successes and the failures.
Coming to faith in Christ added a whole new dimension to my love for history. The realization that all history was actually His story written in the lives of people was breathtaking to me. Reading the Bible is often an adventure in seeing God at work in the lives of people and learning from those stories. It involves learning how God has worked through history, both on the macro level of creation and nations and on the micro level of families and individuals, then taking those lessons and applying them to life today.
In Psalm 44 we see the importance of history and how God is the prime actor in the story. It is about remembering the deeds that God had performed in the days of our ancestors so we can trust Him to perform similar deeds in our day. It is about learning that the victories of our ancestors were really God’s victories and we need to both rely on Him and give Him the credit He is due for those victories.
Jesus affirmed the value of history and that all history is actually His story. He told the religious leaders that if they truly understood the scriptures and all they speak of from the past, then they would have known Him because the whole story of history in the Old Testament and the New, is the story of Jesus. He also told His closest disciples that when they come to the communion table they are remembering history. We eat and remember. We drink and remember. We remember and we proclaim His death until He comes again. We remember His story.
I take great comfort and gain strength for my faith knowing that God has actually stepped into history time and again. He has never abandoned us to our own devices but has consistently made Himself known in the story. The people of the scriptures reminded one another of the things God had done in the past in order to have strength, wisdom, and direction for the future. When you read the Bible and the stories of the people in it, remember that God is telling us the story of history so we will see how He, as the lead character, is the whole reason for the story. It is so we can live confidently in the present and move boldly into the future because He is with us as He has always been with us.
O God, we have heard with our ears,
our fathers have told us,
what deeds you performed in their days,
in the days of old:
2 you with your own hand drove out the nations,
but them you planted;
you afflicted the peoples,
but them you set free;
3 for not by their own sword did they win the land,
nor did their own arm save them,
but your right hand and your arm,
and the light of your face,
for you delighted in them.
4 You are my King, O God;
ordain salvation for Jacob!
5 Through you we push down our foes;
through your name we tread down those who rise up against us.
6 For not in my bow do I trust,
nor can my sword save me.
7 But you have saved us from our foes
and have put to shame those who hate us.
8 In God we have boasted continually,
and we will give thanks to your name forever.