Galatians 3:19-26 tells us that God gave the old law as a “schoolmaster” to show His people their transgressions until the promised “Seed,” meaning Jesus Christ, would come. Therefore, we should learn from the past and not make the same mistakes that were a part of the history recorded in the Old Testament. The value of knowing history is to avoid repeating the cycle of history, but humans have been slow learners in that regard.
The cycle of the human relationship to God keeps repeating and can only be broken when we allow the message of Christ to break it. That is a lesson we can learn from Old Testament history. The cycle begins with Adam and Eve and is repeated over and over until the present time. When God creates, His creation is perfect. God gives His promises and commands to humans, and for a while, they obey. They experience God’s blessings, but then they turn away from God.
In Deuteronomy 28:1-14, God told Israel, “All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God.” God then lists all the good things Israel would receive if they would do as God said and take advantage of His promises. Then beginning in verse 15 for the following 54 verses, God tells Israel what will happen if they do not obey the provisions expressed in His covenant.
We all know the history of Israel from that point on. From the golden calf to corrupt king after corrupt king, Israel repeatedly turns away from God, worships pagan gods, and embraces sinful and destructive practices. They neglect to worship God and follow the false gods of their neighbors, even to the point of human sacrifice. Over and over, God responds by removing His protection of Israel and allowing foreign nations to overtake and destroy them. The whole message of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles tells of this destruction. Jeremiah and Hosea devote their entire lives and message to warning Israel.
When Israel returns to God, the covenant is restored until they again turn away, repeating the cycle of history. Finally, Jerusalem and the temple are destroyed, and history repeats with a new covenant. Christ, the Anointed One predicted by the prophets, comes on the scene and establishes His Church. Through the Church, people can become new. (See Romans 6.)
So here we are in America today, repeating the cycle of history. Jesus shed His blood to make us one body free of all divisions and human fallacies. As in the past, God promises blessings when we obey His commands. We have seen those promises fulfilled as America has prospered and been blessed in many ways. However, today Americans are rebelling against God and His covenant.
In today’s society, we not only see people rejecting God but embracing the practices that will destroy our country. How long will God tolerate immorality? We see our nation restricting the worship of God, endorsing the dissolution of marriage, killing babies before they are born, and murdering children in school. The Church is all that stands against the complete rejection of God’s commands and His covenant. We can break the cycle of history by relying on God’s word and following His instructions, individually and as a nation. We can choose to follow God or repeat the cycle of history by following the path of the nations that rose and fell in the past.
— John N. Clayton © 2022