Embracing the Legacy of Faith

Psalm 78:1-8

Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;
    incline your ears to the words of my mouth!
I will open my mouth in a parable;
    I will utter dark sayings from of old,
things that we have heard and known,
    that our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children,
    but tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,
    and the wonders that he has done.

He established a testimony in Jacob
    and appointed a law in Israel,
which he commanded our fathers
    to teach to their children,
that the next generation might know them,
    the children yet unborn,
and arise and tell them to their children,
    so that they should set their hope in God
and not forget the works of God,
    but keep his commandments;
and that they should not be like their fathers,
    a stubborn and rebellious generation,
a generation whose heart was not steadfast,
    whose spirit was not faithful to God.

An amazing fact of the Bible that often goes underappreciated is that 43% of the entire Bible is historical narrative. That is more by far than any other genre of writing! Even the poetic sections, like the Psalms, emphasize the point of the rest of Scripture that history matters.

One of the most shortsighted facets of life in the modern age is that we attempt at every turn to disconnect ourselves from the past. History is seen as irrelevant. Ancient wisdom is regarded as passe and wrong. New ideas are treated as inherently better than old ideas and not placed to rigorous test.

History itself is under assault. It has become the domain of the extremes. We tend to want to venerate sinful humans who we like, or completely vilify people who might have done some good in the world. There is little room for nuance and truth. 

All of this seems to be setting up a social and cultural disaster. The man who takes no heed to the past also has no vision for the future. The paramount job of a follower of God is to share his faith with the next generation. When we fail to learn from the triumphs and failures of our forefathers we have almost nothing to pass on to our children.

Fortunately, God’s truth gives us an antidote. People in Scripture are neither flawless nor hopeless. Even their sin is made into something that serves God’s glory. The stories of faith in the past give hope for the future both for us and for our children. How are we making use of those stories?

  • Why is it necessary to understand how prior generations came to know God?
  • How to the flaws of Biblical characters give you inspiration and hope in your own faith?
  • What actions are you taking on a regular basis in your own life to make sure that Christ is know by future generations?