I love history. It’s not something I took the time to study in school—my nursing program left little time for things other than, well, bedpans and needles and all things dealing with the human condition…
And yet the study of history deals with the human condition in very real ways as well. Now, a nurse or doctor will observe certain symptoms in a patient, or review the results of blood work, and thus interpret what is truly happening to plot a course of action. Interestingly, historians can be similar “diagnosticians” when it comes to, not only digging up the facts of the past, but understanding their context, their significance, and their impact on the present and future.
In other words, stuff happens, good and bad. Historians dig out the stuff, and pull out the why, how, and what next. Without that, we tend to misinterpret the present, making more bad stuff happen for the future.
Case in point:
The Israelites had settled in the “new” country, (it had now been a few hundred years and Moses and Joshua were, you know…, history), and the people kept forgetting—or ignoring—their glorious deliverance and the game rules for living productively in this Promised Land. And, as promised, the productive part was increasingly fading. So God graciously sent a series of “judges” to help out. On this particular occasion, enemies were once again knocking on Israel’s front door, and the current hero, Jephthah, came to the rescue:
The king of Ammon answered Jephthah’s messengers, “When the Israelites came out of Egypt, they stole my land from the Arnon River to the Jabbok River and all the way to the Jordan. Now then, give back the land peaceably.” Jephthah sent this message back to the Ammonite king:
What ensues is a brief correction of the past. Jephthah knew his history, and he also had the wisdom to interpret it properly, i.e., from God’s point of view. After answering the opposing king with an accurate version of “the rest of the story”, the judge then concludes with this:
“So you see, it was the LORD, the God of Israel, who took away the land from the Amorites and gave it to Israel. Why, then, should we give it back to you?”
Our enemy does the same thing. He knows our history quite well, however, and twists the events of our lives to accuse and condemn us. Why? Because he wants his “territory” back, the domain of our hearts, minds, spirits, and yes, our bodies as well. Satan knows that the one who follows Jesus has been “translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light”, and will do whatever he can to reclaim it for himself.
Lies are one of his best weapons. Lies in the form of redaction and/or misinterpretation of history, my history and yours. Then he presumes to project my future.
The truth is, the only future he knows is his own.
But best let Jesus be the Judge of that.
Judges 11:13,14,23 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
2 thoughts on “Order in the courtroom, here come ‘da judge”
As a historian, I thank you for your kind words about historians. I have found that the people who hate history suffered from history teachers who made them memorize names and dates without any context. You are right also about the enemy who twists history–as he twists all truth–to try to make us his accomplices in rebellion. The Lord has defeated him and shares his victory with us. J.
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Thank you so much for your affirming comment! In studying ABOUT the Bible, I have grown in appreciation for the “science of history”, if you will. Historical proof is just as valid as scientific proof, but is something that our society, unfortunately, know precious little about.
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