Date: Tuesday, October 22
Scripture: Psalm 78:1-8
Verse: We will not hide them from their children; we will tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. (Psalm 78:4)
“Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” The quote, attributed to Edmund Burke and found in several forms online, speaks of our need to know from where we have come. The popularity of genealogies, like those built at ancestry.com, can be useful for more than curiosity. A variation of a genealogy, called a genogram, adds symbols signifying relationships between the people listed in the family tree. Grandma and grandpa were divorced, mom had a strained relationship with her mother, an uncle ran away from the family and never made contact again, things like that. Often, patterns will emerge helping to explain today’s behaviors and relationships. Knowing our history can help us understand and/or break bad cycles of relationships, substance abuse, and more.
In today’s reading we hear the psalmist vowing to share what God has done for the people of Israel with the generations to follow. In verse 8 we get the reason why: “that they should not be like their ancestors.” By telling the story, we are guiding those who come after us. He wants the people to know the success and mistakes of the past generations so they can keep from committing the same errors.
Some ask from time to time why we continue to look back to John Wesley, the Reformers, the early church fathers, the Acts church, or other historical Christians. Haven’t we come a long way from them? In some ways, we might be able to agree, but we should always be learning from those who have gone before us – following in their success and avoiding making the same mistakes. Those who know their history can choose which way to go, based on what they have learned from those who have gone before. We continue to have the responsibility to share our stories of God’s presence in our lives with those who come after us, so they may also benefit from us.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord Jesus, for the long line of Christians who have faithfully lived and died, and in whose legacy I stand. Amen.
Action: Consider the story of your life in relationship with God. Where are the success? Where are the missteps? How might you share your story with your child(ren), grandchild(ren), or someone else?
Respond: Share something interesting you know about your family history. Answer by clicking “Leave a Comment” below.
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