Last Sunday the United States celebrated her two-hundred and thirty-fourth birthday. Though significant, the U.S. is still wearing diapers compared to other nations. Egypt is somewhere around 5,000 years old, Germany dates back to 190A.D. and France is over 1,000 years old.
With such a brief but remarkable history, how is it then that when the Marist Poll asked 1,004 U.S. residents, “From which country did the United States win its independence?” an alarming 26% had no clue?
Is education in the U.S. to blame? Or revisionist history, or bad parenting, or lazy students, or political correctness, or too much information? Yes. And more.
Mostly though, remembering is hard work. But important. And remembering our spiritual history more so. Read on.
Eugene C. Scott joins Mike in writing A Daily Bible Conversation twice a week.
TODAY’S READING (click here to view today’s reading online)
1 Chronicles 2:18-4:4
INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS
1 Chronicles 2:18-4:4: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,” Paul tells Timothy (2 Timothy 3:16).
“Does he means all those hard to follow genealogies too?” I can just hear Timothy ask his friend Titus. “What are those about?”
Though there may not be a verse here worthy of pasting on your bathroom mirror or committing to memory, God is still attempting to communicate with us, even here. For the ancient Hebrews many of these names were attached to stories: stories of brokenness, of faithfulness, of hardship, joy, life, death, God. God touched each of these people whether they responded positively to that touch or not. Unfortunately we know only few of those stories.
Unlike other parts of Scripture, this is not poetry; this is reality. The reality is that God guided history from “Caleb son of Hezron” all the way down to you. What’s your story?
Acts 24:1-27: Luke was one of the most accurate of ancient historians. Here is a treasure trove of historical detail. Interesting but to what purpose? Two reasons come to mind. First, as with Chronicles, we can see God superintending history and building Christ’s church through Paul’s story. Second, while a persecuted prisoner, Paul is granted audiences with some of the most powerful people in the world. Paul wastes not a minute and tells each the remarkable story of Jesus. Luke records two aspects of history here: factual details and a spiritual history of Paul’s persecution and pain being turned into a better story.
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THE WORD MADE FRESH
We’ve all heard it said that, “those who can’t remember history are doomed to repeat it.” Been there, done that. Remembering history, however, holds more value than keeping us from looping back to the same old mistakes. Especially since many of us stumble into the same holes again, despite that we remember the last trip all too well. History is much more than a danger ahead sign.
Biblical history in particular is a genogram: “a graphic representation of the personalities and interplay within a family, used to identify repetitive patterns of behavior.” (Webster’s Unabridged) Biblical history is a graphic representation of who we are and who God is.
Our repetitive patterns are those of disobedience an destruction right along side glory and goodness. David begat the rebellious Absalom from a lawful wife and obedient Solomon unlawfully. Is this not a picture of me and you?
And who is God? God is the One who responds with reproof, correction, long-suffering and mercy.
Chronicles is our genealogy, our family, warts and all. Then Acts shows us God’s response, our story. Just as God’s children did in the past, the Jews tried to kill God’s messenger, Paul. Yet God, just as he did in the past, protects, guides, speaks and through a powerful mercy–in the end–overcomes. This is our story, then and now.
Could you and I write a “chronicle” of the names of the people (and remember their stories) God used in our lives? Could you and I write a history retelling the detailed facts and spiritual history of God’s “acts” in our lives?
Remembering is hard work. But important.
It’s a shame 26% of Americans can’t remember the details of the birth of their own nation. I wonder if other civilizations such as Egypt also suffer from a similar historical amnesia? Probably.
I suspect that many of us who live in God’s kingdom, have developed amnesia about our spiritual birth both as a people and as individuals.
For Americans the Fourth of July is a day to remember our “Declaration of Independence” from England. What if we the people of Christ took the Sixth of July to remember all God has done for us? And then with fireworks blazing overhead we all sign a “Declaration of Dependence,” a dependence on a faithful, loving God.
- Which reading spoke to you?
- Who are your spiritual ancestors?
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