“One thing we learn from history is that we don’t learn from history!”
That anonymous quote was underscored again while I was recently reading through 2 Chronicles in the Bible. God had given promises that the kings who faithfully followed him would be blessed and experience fullness of life, whereas those who chose not to follow Him would receive judgment and destruction with all the accompanying heartaches. The moral roller coaster goes up and down throughout the book.
Chapter 24 records that young King Joash started out well and did fine as long as the godly high priest, Jehoiada, was guiding him. When Jehoiada died, Joash soon forsook the Lord, even to the point that he murdered Spirit-filled Zechariah for delivering a warning from God to him. Joash’s son, Amaziah, followed his father’s half-heartedness, beginning okay and then forsaking God.
The next generation brings King Uzziah. In 2 Chronicles 26:5, it reads that “…as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper.” However, it is stated in verse 16 that Uzziah became proud and transgressed against the LORD and was smitten with leprosy when he tried to perform the duties of the priest. Then in chapter 27:2, his son, Jotham, “…did that which was right in the sight of the LORD….” and “…became mighty because he prepared his ways before the LORD his God.” Do you sense a little bit of relief that maybe the leaders are starting to get the picture? But alas! Jotham’s son, Ahaz, is wicked all the way through, even burning his son as a sacrifice to the false gods like the pagans.
Along comes King Hezekiah in 2 Chronicles 29. A spiritual revival begins because he chooses to do right in the sight of the LORD. Hezekiah brought in the priests and Levites and explained the dilemma. He pointed out that the reason the nation was in such disarray was because the generations before them had turned away from God and were experiencing his judgment. “For, lo, our fathers have fallen by the sword, and our sons and our daughters and our wives are in captivity for this.”
Our families suffer greatly, even for generations, when we do not follow God’s ways. This truth must be emphasized. By observing the Israelites through the Old Testament, noticing man’s response to Jesus during His earthly ministry, seeing the reaction to the apostles’ message of redemption in the book of Acts, and examining man’s behavior through the successive centuries up to the current moment, one thing is very obvious: mankind is so corrupt that he can only produce failure and destruction when he follows his own ways – religiously, politically, economically, educationally, and socially. The amazing thing is that man is convinced that he really does know a better way than God. His pride refuses to acknowledge the supremacy of Christ. The result of following his own way is always ultimate defeat, discouragement, and disappointment.
God gave parents the right and responsibility to train their children to know and serve Him. (See Deuteronomy 6:1-25.) Christian parents must learn to discern God’s ways from the world’s ways if we expect to receive eternally positive results. Our former track record of success does not count if we turn back to our own way. Discovering God’s ways is a result of diligently studying and applying the principles of God’s Word. Are you learning from history?