Rev loves learning the lessons of history. He has memorized a couple of President Lincoln’s more famous speeches and interesting facts and details about many times and events.
I’m less interested in facts and details but I love learning about how people felt about them. I want to know more about feelings than facts.
Psalm 105 is considered one of the “historical” Psalms. The Life Application Bible Notes say that “these history songs were written for passing on important lessons to succeeding generations. They celebrated the many promises God had made and faithfully kept; they also recounted the faithlessness of the people.”
The Israelites repeatedly disobeyed God.
In fact, the last verse of the Book of Judges says…
In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.Judges 21:25
The historical account continues in 1 Samuel with God allowing the Ark of the Covenant to be captured by the Philistines as a consequence of the Israelites’ sins. (Learn more about the Ark of the Covenant here.)
After David became king . . . it was important to him to bring the Ark home to Jerusalem. But because he was in a hurry, he didn’t take the time to learn God’s commands about moving the Ark and as a result, David lost one of his friends and close companions.
It was a lesson learned the hard way for sure. David learned the importance of knowing the lessons of history . . . the history of God’s will and His grace, mercy, and love.
The Bible shares one account after another of people failing to obey God’s will, having to live out the consequences of their sins, repenting, and receiving God’s grace and mercy from His unfailing love.
So, after learning God’s will for transporting the Ark of the Covenant, David along with the elders and generals tried once again and successfully moved it to the “special tent David had prepared for it.” That’s when they rejoiced with a party . . . and sang this song:
Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim His greatness.Psalm 105:1–2
Let the whole world know what He has done.
Sing to Him; yes, sing His praises.
Tell everyone about His wonderful deeds.
You’ve probably heard the quote…
“Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” ~ Philosopher George Santayana
Paul wrote the following…
Whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.Romans 15:4 (ESV)
When we are tempted to look at our circumstances and feel like God’s presence has left us, let’s follow the advice of David from Psalm 105.
Thank. Praise. SEEK. Remember.
- Give thanks to God. (v. 1)
- Tell everyone about who He is and all He’s done. (v. 1)
- Sing His praise. (v. 2)
- Rejoice and worship Him. (v. 3)
- Continually SEEK Him. (v. 4)
- Remember His wonders and miracles. Understand His rulings. (v. 5)
- He is the Lord our God. (v. 7)
- He keeps His promises. (v. 8)
And Learn the Lessons of History.
- From verse 9 through verse 45, David recounted the history of God’s people. From His covenant promise to Abraham, the future He promised to Isaac and Jacob, through the years in Egypt, their deliverance and wanderings in the wilderness . . . God was with His people.
He wanted them to learn from the past and to trust and obey Him in the future. The same is true for you and me today. Because the truth is, He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
A Prayer to Learn the Lessons of History
and Trust God’s Love
Father, thank you so much for Your Word . . . for wanting us to know the history of Your people, for wanting us to know You, Your will, Your heart, Your love. Your Word teaches us the lessons of history that will help us learn about the past so that we might do better in the future. You want us to know the consequences of sin and the blessings of trusting and obeying You.
And most importantly, You want us to know the truth about You, about Jesus, and about the Spirit. You want us to know that You keep Your promises . . . You always have and You always will.
So, I will thank you and lift You up in praise. I will worship You for who You are and for all You do. I will SEEK You with all my heart and love You with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength. I will trust Jesus and follow the guidance of Your Spirit. By Your grace, please help me fulfill these vows. I love You, Lord. And I give myself to You. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
As I’ve thought about this today, I’ve wondered if the emotions of history may be almost as important as the facts of history.
I think God wants us to remember the feelings of failure and the consequences of disobedience as well as the feelings of peace and thankfulness for His forgiveness and the joy of His kept promises.
Part of learning a lesson is remembering the way that lesson makes us feel.
So, maybe it takes both. Maybe we need to know feelings and the facts and details of history if we want to learn the lessons of history. Maybe we need both to end the repetitive pattern of disobedience and begin the blessing of living each day in faith knowing we can trust the God who keeps His promises.
May the Lord bless you as you SEEK His will through the lessons of history found in His Word.
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