Each day at FCS, students from the primary grades through high school are involved in the study of history. Our students are taught to learn from the events of history both from this country and the world. We believe that though the world and our country have certainly changed over time, there is value in understanding and studying history. Jim Daly speaking on a “Focus on the Family: broadcast said, “If we forget what’s important from our history, we will eventually stray off course. It is an unquestionable fact of history that the Judeo-Christian worldview played an instrumental role in the foundation of our country’s belief in individual liberty, individual responsibility, and individual accountability to God.” Traditionally, we study history to learn how previous generations and nations operated, adapted, and changed. A famous quote regarding the importance of history is “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” The past is filled with warning signs and those who are wise certainly learn from those mistakes.
In an article written by Alice William, the book of Jude in the Bible is cited as an example of how Israel could learn from their sin and mistakes of past history. The church in America today certainly needs a wakeup call and a reality check as to lessons we can learn in the 21st Century. In Jude 1:5 there is a reference to God’s reaction to Israel when they forgot that it was the power of God that had delivered them from their oppressors and provided for their safety and sustenance in escaping the oppression of their Egyptian captors. “…the Lord having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.” Jude 1:5. In their history the nation of Israel experienced God’s deliverance and provision, yet they were quick to forget. If we fast forward to the church today, we can only wonder how long God’s mercy will be extended to the church in America, who not unlike the Israelites, seems to forget how God has protected our freedoms and allowed the church to continue, even as the church has become diluted with many who question the authority of God’s Word while they pick and choose as to which biblical mandates are appropriate in today’s “enlightened” society.
Jude also reminded Israel of how God did not spare even the angels, who lost their place in heaven, because they became prideful and followed Satan. C.S. Lewis wrote, “It was through pride that the devil became the devil. Pride leads to every other vice; it is the complete anti-God state of mind.” To learn from history the church today must guard itself from somehow believing that we have arrived on our own and are insulated from persecution and hardship, and that the freedom we have enjoyed in our lifetime to worship and proclaim Jesus Christ freely could be eliminated in a single generation. In Jude’s final warning to Israel, he reminded them of Sodom and Gomorrah in Jude 1:7,
“… as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” Certainly, sexual immorality is also a plague in American society, and just as certain, immorality has entered into the church and has been the downfall of many church leaders.
In all of Jude’s examples, the people forgot or let go of their positions and sinned. They had a choice, yet they chose to sin. They forgot about God and His works and let their flesh take over. Jude opens and closes his writings with phrases like “remind you” and “are set forth as an example.” If angels can fall, so can we. We should let this be a warning to not forget the mercies of God. “Therefore, let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man.” I Corinthians 10:12-13. “God is faithful” and He promises that He will always will “make the way of escape.”
So, if we study the history of God and His people, the common thread that runs through it is God’s faithfulness despite man’s selfishness, arrogance, and pride. Only by His mercy, have we heard the word of truth and been saved and sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. By our faith in Christ we are saved because of the cross. We must never forget the historical fact of His love, His faithfulness, His scars, and His mercy which offers each of us His salvation.
Robert Andrews, Ph.D.