History is important; however some people hate studying history. Personally, I enjoy reading and learning about history, but I have to admit that it depends on the source. When I was a music major in college, the text book that was used for music history was used by most music schools and was terribly dry. It was so dry that I found that I couldn’t read beyond one page before I felt myself nodding off to sleep; combine that with the topic being Gregorian chant and I was set up for a nice afternoon nap. In high school, I had a great American Military History teacher that brought it to life. While we still needed to learn dates, the dates were not as important as understanding the political and cultural environment. We found ourselves not only learning about events, but we understood why those events happened and the significance to us today. Today, we are picking up Stephen’s story when he was brought before the Sanhedrin. He shows us how important it is to understand our spiritual history; please look up Acts 7:1-53.
I know that this is a lot to read today, but please read through it. Stephen was questioned by the Sanhedrin whether or not the accusations against him were true. Stephen didn’t answer their questions directly; instead he began telling them their history starting with Abraham. The difference between Stephen’s accusers and Stephen is like the student who learns dates and events and the student who is taught to understand the entire story surrounding the dates and events. Stephen’s accusers learned the stories; Stephen understood the significance behind the stories. When Stephen was questioned, he was not backed into a corner because he knew what he was talking about. The Holy Spirit had given him an understanding of the purpose of the law and the purpose of the tabernacle. Our obedience is to be fueled by our faith and God wants to live in the hearts of believers.
I have heard of people who only read the New Testament and there are those who focus on the law and the Old Testament. The problem with both views is that we only learn a portion of our history. The more I study, learn, and understand my spiritual history; the more I can recognize the significance to it for me today. My feeling is that if God felt it important to have both the Old and New Testaments together, then we need to ask for wisdom and understanding of both. When we look at both together, we see a beautiful history of God drawing us closer to Him. Without the Old Testament we cannot completely appreciate and understand the significance of the new covenant. Without the New Testament, we have no hope.
Are you studying your spiritual history? Do you believe God has a purpose giving us the opportunity to learn it?