The tragedy of events unfolding in Paris, this day after Islamic militants attacked six different venues in the French capital, should drive 21st century citizens of the world to their history books. We are witnessing the rise of an evil, cloaked in the robes of religion that is indicative of heathens who have no fear of God, His holiness, justice, grace and mercy and no respect for the dignity of human life created after the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27; 2:7).
Many have stressed the importance of men and nations being students of history. Winston Churchill, the great leader of the British Empire during World War II, warned his nation, “Those that fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.” Famed author and playwright, George Bernard Shaw observed, “We learn from history that we learn nothing from history.”
18th century Scottish philosopher, David Hume, made a statement regarding the nature of man that is especially pertinent on this day that follows the militant Islamic attack on the citizens of France: “Mankind are so much the same, in all times and places, that history informs us of nothing new or strange in this particular. Its chief use is only to discover the constant and universal principles of human nature.”
In today’s devotional from Psalm 44, the psalmist reminds God’s people the truths and facts of history their fathers had passed down to them from generation to generation (Psalm 44:1-3).
Psalm 44:1-3 – “We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told [declared; showed; numbered] us, what work [acts; deeds] thou didst [work; commit] in their days [time], in the times of old [ancient times or days].
2 How thou didst drive out [took possession; expelled] the heathen [Gentile nations] with thy hand [power], and plantedst [strike] them; how thou didst afflict [hurt; afflict] the people [nations], and cast them out [send away].
3 For they got not the land [Canaan; the Promise Land] in possession [inheritance] by their own sword, neither did their own arm [might; strength] save [deliver; preserve] them: but thy right hand [typically the stronger side], and thine arm [might; strength], and the light of thy countenance [face; presence], because thou hadst a favour [accept; pleasure; delight] unto them.”
Psalm 44:1-3 moves me to ask moms and dads, what are you teaching your children regarding the LORD? Are you teaching your sons and daughters spiritual truths and taking them to church to hear the teaching and preaching of God’s Word? Can your children recite Bible stories and evidences of God’s works and providences recorded in the Word of God? Have you shared with them your own faith and relationship with His Son Jesus Christ?
It is not enough to know history; it behooves the sons and daughters of every generation to know the LORD personally. The psalmist, in a very personal profession of his own faith, asserts the God of heaven and creation is his God!
Psalm 44:4-8 – “Thou art my King, O God: command [charge; order] deliverances [salvation; help; victory] for Jacob [the patriarch Israel].
5 Through thee will we push down [war against; gore] our enemies [adversaries]: through thy name [fame; renown; reputation] will we tread them under [trample] that rise up [arise; stand up] against us.
6 For I will not trust [secure; confident] in my bow [strength of the bow], neither shall my sword save [deliver; avenge; defend] me.
7 But thou hast saved [deliver; avenge; defend] us from our enemies, and hast put them to shame [confounded; disappointed; confused] that hated us.
8 In God we boast [glory; praise; celebrate] all the day long [continually], and praise [confess; give thanks] thy name [fame; renown; reputation] for ever [perpetual; everlasting]. Selah.”
Believer, as tragic as the events of the last 24 hours has been, let us pray God’s people will boldly declare the God of heaven is God and has revealed Himself in His Word and in His Son Jesus Christ. Let us renew our own conviction to declare Jesus Christ is the King of kings and Lord of lords. I urge you to be not only a student of God’s Word, but a student of His-Story…for history reveals not only the depravity of man, but also the providences of God. Early American history and a multitude of quotes of our founding fathers reveal a people and generation conscious Sovereign God was directing the course of American and world history. I close with a prayer of our nation’s first president, George Washington.
“Almighty God; We make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy Holy protection; and Thou wilt incline the hearts of the Citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to Government; and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow Citizens of the United States at large, and particularly for their brethren who have served in the Field.
And finally that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that Charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind which were the Characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed Religion, and without a humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation.
Grant our supplication, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
[June 8, 1783, original source of prayer is the concluding paragraph in Washington’s farewell circular letter sent to the governors of the thirteen states from his headquarters in Newburgh, New York. America’s God and Country Encyclopedia of Quotations.]
Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith