What Should History Teach Us?

What should history teach us?  What if God is writing the history?  Let’s think about what God tells us through the history of ancient Israel:

I Samuel:  We are drawn to self reliant and impressive leaders like Saul, but God calls us to follow obedient and faithful leaders, like Samuel and David.   The former offer success now, but can’t endure without God.  The latter offer a vision of God’s goodness and worthiness, depending on Him to turn obedience into victory.  Even good leaders are no end in themselves.  God calls us to accept that Jesus is the leader we need.

II Samuel: Through the life of King David, God shows us the blessing He gives to faithfulness but also the painful results of sin, and what real repentance from our sin looks like.  God gives better than we deserve, as He gave David, a faithful king, to his people, but demonstrates that we need a greater king.

I Kings:  God shows what happens to his people when they make small or large changes intended to get them the things He hasn’t given them but that they want anyway.  It begins with trying to get what we want to add to God’s gifts and ends with thinking that God is preventing our happiness.

II Kings:  God judges generations of disobedience by his nation and the failure of leaders to obey Him and rule justly.  We see how slow He is to punish and how quick He is to accept repentance.  Even the rare good kings had their failures and limitations, showing that God alone is our hope.

I Chronicles:  God turns our attention to ancient Israel, before they turned against Him, showing how He fulfills all of his promises.  He dismantles our self centeredness to show us that He is in control, and to give us a heart of repentance.

II Chronicles:  He reviews the calamitous decline of ancient Israel, posing the question of whether we can have both honesty and hope.  God details with painful clarity the self inflicted damage of his people and yet ends in hope, unhindered by our sin, because it’s centered on Himself.