The study of history just doesn’t seem to capture the imagination these days as it may have done with past generations. Just a few years ago, an article in Forbes magazine asked the question, “Just How Clueless Are Millennials When It Comes to Popular History?” Even as this is being written, The New Yorker has posted an article by Eric Alterman entitled, “The Decline of Historical Thinking” (February 4, 2019). Perhaps this decline is because we are so focused on living in the moment, capturing it in a selfie, and posting it on the latest social media platform to give much thought about what happened last week, much less, hundreds if not thousands of years ago.
For God’s people, this disinterest is not only unfortunate, but it is spiritually dangerous. It fails to understand that history is not merely about what happened to a “them” but it is about what might happen to “us.” This truth is at the core of the Scriptures (e.g., 1 Cor. 10:6) and Psalm 78 clearly demonstrates how rehearsing the past can reveal the dangers of disobedience and yet also remind us of the faithfulness of God.