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  • Writer's pictureChristy Schuette

A History Lesson

June 10


I Kings 5-7

Psalm 70

Proverbs 15:20-21

Acts 6:14-7:50

A History Lesson

 

“For we heard him say that Jesus, this Nazarene, will destroy this place and change the customs that Moses handed down to us.  And all who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at him and saw that his face was like the face of an angel.”  Acts 6:14-15 HCSB

 

Stephen’s speech changed everything.  From this point forward, Christians were persecuted and martyred. They had to hide, and they risked their lives if they shared their faith.  Stephen began his speech with a very succinct history of the Jewish people in fifty verses.   The men in the Sanhedrin were very familiar with the history of their people and did not need to be taught anything about it.  I think the reason he included this history lesson was to remind them of the rebellion of their people and their rejection of those God sent in the past to save them.  He wanted them to see that just as they had turned from God before and as they had rejected Moses, now they were rejecting the Messiah, Jesus, the One God sent to save them.  Time and time again they followed the same pattern: rejection of God, punishment, repentance, returning to God, falling away, rejection, punishment, etc. It was a vicious cycle that they continued to repeat.   He was also trying to show them that religion as they knew it had been changed completely by the coming of Jesus.  He was not preaching against the temple, rather, He was telling them that there was no longer a need for the temple.  The priests and the sacrificial system pointed to the Messiah and the sacrifice that He would make. After He came there was no longer a need to continue to make animal sacrifices. He became the perfect sacrifice once for all to give us each individual access to God.  We no longer have to go through a priest to gain access to God.  We can each boldly go before the throne of grace personally.  The religious leaders in the Sanhedrin did not want to hear this because they enjoyed the power they had over the people through the religious rules and regulations they had put in place.  Instead of learning from their history and following God closely, they chose to cling to tradition and reject the Messiah. 

 

The last year has brought a lot of changes to our world, but the most disturbing to me has been the push to erase history.  I have always loved history.  I love learning about our past and visiting historical sites, battlegrounds, and memorials.  It is very troubling to see the push to remove the monuments and rewrite our history books to exclude the parts that are offensive.  In 1905, George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”⁷ Slavery is an ugly part of our history.  I agree that we do not want to celebrate it.  But we also cannot deny that it ever happened.  If we do not teach our children about this terrible part of our history and let them see the evil and the process by which it was abolished, they will not understand the importance of insuring that it never happens again.  Satan really doesn’t have any new tricks.  He just keeps recycling the same ones over and over.  Unfortunately, now we are seeing slavery in the form of sex trafficking.  Instead of devaluing people based on their race, young girls and boys are being sold for sexual gratification. Their worth and dignity as individuals created by God and designed for a purpose has been lost in the lust for instant gratification, power, and greed.  It is the same evil, just in a different form.  Our history books need to teach our children the truth; the good, the bad and the ugly, so that they do not repeat it. But even more importantly, we need to teach our children to know God and follow Him closely.  The closer they get to Jesus, the less likely they are to accept the lies of Satan and they will treat all people with the dignity and respect they deserve.   

 

 

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