Wednesday, February 5, 2014

a holy history

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; 

Psalm 78:5-7

Israel was tasked with a generational commission. Each succeeding generation needed to pass on the story of a sacred history so that a new generation might rightly worship God. It was a holy history... a sacred story recounting God's love and work among them. It was what it meant to worship God, to pass down to the next generation a personal and vibrant faith. It was vital to the continuance of the nation.

So the 78th psalm exists as an epic recounting of God's care of Israel. It recounts the birth of the nation. It records the miraculous work of God among them. It rejoices in God's protection, care, and love for His people. It rehearses the holy history so that another generation might know God and be warned about the consequences of forgetting Him. And it came to be part of the nation's songbook as the Jews languished in exile. They needed the story to sustain them and to encourage the new generation who never knew anything other than the exile.

I benefit from its reading. The sacred story continued past exile to restoration and eventually to the coming of a Savior Who made history meaningful by His death and resurrection. The story continues in the gospel... and I must share its testimony so that the work of the holy history may continue.

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