Why is History Important?

History is the result of living bound within time. The experiences which we create and live soon become the past. But rather than being passive, those experiences dynamically shape the future. In that sense, we are the past. The law of cause and effect powerfully ties past to future.

On the spiritual level, we value history because Yahweh himself entered into our time-bound existence as the incarnate Jesus Christ. This man, the Son of God clothed in flesh, was limited to one lifetime, one historical era, living only a handful of years within our time-bound physical world. Yet, his life provides a skeleton upon which all events of history hang upon and find their shape and significance.

Going even deeper, history is important because of Yahweh’s active remembrance of the past.

The intersection of history and faith is contained in the concept of covenant. Covenant is simply the relationship God initiates and provides for between him and his people. God promises, then he remembers that promise. Remembering and promise-keeping are a good couple, and they sustain covenant. You can’t fulfill a promise unless you attend to it in your mind, plan for it, and act on it. Remembrance is the first step. And God’s remembrance is as good as his action. God’s words after the flood concerning the rainbow are a prime example, “I will remember my covenant which is between me and you.”

Subsequently, he calls us to remember his covenant. The command to remember is built into the Torah, the first five books of the Bible. Repeatedly Moses’s cry to the people is that they do not forget the work of the Lord after they enter the Promised Land. That is, when things are good, do not forget the Lord’s covenant-making actions when you were in despair. In the time of the Judges the problem was that no one remembered the Lord, everyone did what was right in his own eyes. Israel had careless memories and it eventually drove them into exile. When they finally returned and discovered the book of the law which had been lost and forgotten, the people wept and recommitted themselves to the covenant (read about this is Ezra and Nehemiah).

When we fail to remember what God did in the past, we lose hope for the future. Worship of the Lord is based upon our experiential knowledge of who he is, and that experience is both recorded for us in scripture and lived in our own lives. How can we worship that which we do not know? And knowledge is built through experience and experience chronicled through memory.

So let us make a habit of intentionally recalling this God who we worship. Let us recall by reading His Story. Let us recall by writing down his goodness in our own lives. And by doing this, let us give value to the past and increase our expectation for the future.

 

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One thought on “Why is History Important?

  1. Thank you Sondra. This has led me to remember the covenant of my marriage – attending to it in my mind, planning for it, acting upon it.

    Like

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