I find it interesting that almost every time I go to visit my father, the conversation always seems to look back in time, remembering the “good old days” so to speak. Although moments like that are special, I think many of us see history like Thomas Jefferson, who said, “I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.” Sometimes history can be difficult to confront and, in all honesty, seemingly boring to so many. Yet, as one person once said, “History never really says goodbye. History says, ‘See you later.’” The reason for that is simple, “Those that fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.” The purpose of history is simple; that is, it helps us remember the steps taken before us, to help us make good choices in the steps we take now.
…lest they teach you to do according to all their abominations which they have
done for their gods, and you sin against the Lord your God.
As God’s people prepared to take possession of the promised land, the Lord cautioned them about what would happen if they did not follow His directives. Fast forward to the book of Judges and we find the tribes of Manasseh, Ephraim, Zebulun, and others that did not “obey My voice” (Judges 1:27-33; 2:2). The result was regrettable, for their ungodly influence became “thorns” and “snares” in the sides of God’s people (Judges 2:3). Why would the Lord allow such a thing? Judges 3:4 makes it clear, “And they were left, that He might test Israel by them, to know whether they would obey the commandments of the Lord, which He had commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses” (Judges 3:4). If you were to read through the rest of Judges, you would see the rollercoaster ride that God’s people would travel, that shows moments of triumph and turmoil: history repeating itself.
…they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.
2nd Timothy 4:4
Fast forward hundreds of years and what do we find, things haven’t changed much when it comes to mankind. In the early church, only some 30 years after its birth, people were questioning its teachings. So much so, that “they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers” (2nd Timothy 4:3) to teach them what they want to hear. It seems to be mankind’s history, something we would be wise to understand.
For me, this discussion concerning history of the church comes at an interesting point. In the news recently I heard these words, “This is a monumental day!” as people jumped for joy in the background. What was so monumental? Ireland, a largely “Christian community,” just overturn a restrictive abortion law. What does history teach us about such choices?