Remember the Past
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” (George Santayana, writer and philosopher)
This sentiment came to my attention once again at a recent visit to the Revolutionary War Museum in Williamsburg, VA. We took a walking tour around the grounds during which the guide focused on remembering our country’s history in terms of what various individuals have in common and on how we can learn from their successes and failures. He went from settlement times through the Revolution and the Civil War before coming to the current day.
What would a study of the Bible look like using this approach?
If you go to BibleGateway and type in “remember,” you get over 200 results (Side note #1: I used the NIV. Another version will be slightly different.) (Side note #2: You probably can come up with other search terms to use, but I stuck with just one for simplicity’s sake.)
Many of the references point to God remembering. Others point to what God wants us to remember. Simply reading through these references makes connections among people and events throughout Biblical history much like the connections the tour guide made.
How might we reflect on this?
For me, reflection on this idea is coming through asking myself questions.
- What does God remember?
- What does God want us to remember?
- What lessons do the individuals in these verses teach me?
- What has God brought me through?
- How has God blessed me?
From Adam to Moses to Joshua to David to Elijah to the disciples to Paul, reflection on their (and everyone in between) experiences individually and how they connect to one another’s experiences as well as to mine allows for an interesting way to learn from the past.
- God is merciful even when we don’t deserve it.
- God is faithful even when people aren’t.
Those are just the tip of the iceberg for me, and this lens for reading Scripture promises to open up God’s Word in new ways.