Let’s talk about how the history of God’s people is important for God’s people.
The history of God’s people – both the people Israel and the Church – has been told in various ways and formats, both divine and human. We have a large portion of the Scriptures, such as the historical books of the Old Testament, along with Acts in the New Testament, and I’d argue that the Epistles qualify as well as they’re primary source documents (they were read and followed by the early church during the period where the Apostles lived and led). This is all quite significant and valuable for the body of Christ, and important for us to study and meditate on on a continuous basis. Let’s go into why.
Firstly, we get to know and understand our spiritual forefathers and foremothers and what they went through and lived through better and on a deeper level. We get to know and understand this in the context of understanding God’s tireless and endless work on behalf of His plan for creation and humanity and how we play into it. This, at least in my experience, gives rise to praise and endless wonder in God and everything that He is. We understand on a deeper level, when studying the Scriptures for the history of our people, how Heaven met Earth so many times through God’s intervention and guiding, both seen (such as with God rescuing His people from Egypt), and unseen (such as how God works subtly, silently, invisibly but every moment supremely in the background in the events of the book of Ruth, and the events of the book of Esther).
So there’s that. We gain a deeper and better understanding of not just our history, but of God, with our history telling a story about Him and leading us into worship of Him.
We also can relate to the figures of our spiritual past, and gain encouragement for our own walk with God through the examples of how God used them. The heroes of faith were all too many times flawed, broken human beings like us, who weren’t free from their own sin. Moses was a murderer, and also someone who – when God first confronted him with the role he was to play – sought for some way, any way, to get out of it. David was an adulterer, who was willing to – and successfully carried out a plan to – in an attempt to cover up his scandal, murder a man who was not only innocent of wrongdoing, but who was a loyal soldier who put his life on the line for David and his rule and kingdom. Paul was a murderer and persecutor of God’s people, a scourge, who was saved through grace, but who never forgot what he came from and what God had rescued him from (1 Timothy 1:15). Peter was a coward who denied his own King and Lord, not once, not even twice, but three times in a row. But despite this, God used them, and He used them mightily for His glory. He showed in the story of their lives that He uses the broken and the flawed and the sinful for great things, and that no one is too dirty for God, too sinful or stained to be brought into God’s family.
We can also see that what we’ve been through, our spiritual ancestors have been through as well. Ecclesiastes says that there’s nothing new under the sun, and this includes all aspects of the human experience and condition, and Christians are most certainly not exempt from this. The Psalms are full of instances in which David cries out to God for help, for closeness, for intimacy, for Him to just give him a sign that He was there because David in the midst of his suffering and his angst honestly couldn’t tell if He was or not.
We learn lots, spiritually, from our forefathers and foremothers in the faith. But what about intellectually, scholarly? This is important too. By knowing and understanding to a deep extent our history – warts and all – we can be prepared to avoid mistakes our spiritual ancestors made, and where the non-Scriptural history of the faith is concerned, avoid heresies, and be ready to combat those same heresies and warts in our history when they rear their heads again in the modern day. There is nothing new under the sun, and things from the past have a tendency of coming up again in the present and in the future.
That’s all I really have to say for now. I hope it’s been helpful and edifying. Grace and Peace to you all.