“Those who fail to study history are destined to repeat it” is a maxim that has been around for many years. It is true.
In both testaments, God repeatedly used human penmen to review Israel’s history so to admonish the readers through the examples embedded therein. A psalm written for the purpose of making you wise unto salvation is called a Maschil.
Psalm 78 is such a contemplation of lessons to be learned from Israel’s history. Its composer, Asaph, writes: “Give ear, O my people, to my law; incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord and His strength and His wonderful works that He has done. For He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel which He commanded our fathers that they should make them known to their children; that the generation to come might know them, the children who would be born, that they may arise and declare them to their children, that they may set their hope in God and not forget the works of God but keep His commandments; and may not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation that did not set its heart aright, and whose spirit was not faithful to God. The children of Ephraim, being armed and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle. They did not keep the covenant of God; they refused to walk in His law and forgot His works and His wonders that He had shown them” (vv. 1-11).
When reading and studying any Old Testament historical account, your study will be greatly enriched if you ask the text these five questions:
- What do I learn about God?
- What do I learn about Satan and sin?
- What do I learn about human nature?
- What do I learn about righteousness?
- What wisdom can I glean from this text?
Meditating upon God’s word with purposeful focus yields plenteous admonitions. If these admonitions are heeded, the history of spiritual defeat and failure will not be repeated in your life.