“I have considered the days of old, The years of ancient times.” - Psalm 77:5
Asaph, the writer of Psalm 77, reflected on Israel’s long history, recorded painstakingly in the books of the 21 Old Testament. He must have remembered the times that God miraculously came through for His people, as well as the times Israel failed to obey and suffered terrible consequences.
Years ago when I got an offer for a big contract, it was easy to see my situation at the time and think about the needs that the promised money could immediately meet. However, the Holy Spirit prompted me to not take the contract. He helped me consider God’s long track record of providing for me. I thought about a time when a different friend had offered me a similar deal which I had taken against my better judgment. It had seemed almost irresistible at the time. Yet as soon as the work began, I sensed I had made a serious mistake. The hours ended up being much longer than originally forecast and before I knew it, the job had taken over my life. To make matters worse, the money was not materializing as promised. By the time my contract ended, I was exhausted, financially strained, and thankful to escape with my no taint on my reputation. I knew this was a lesson I did not want to learn twice.
Considering God’s past faithfulness can also give us perspective on our current situation. I remember a time when God had told me to clear out a mutual fund I owned and give it all away. I obeyed, not sure what would happen, and then found myself with more money than I knew what to do with. I knew God could provide for me any way He wanted. God wants us to remember His actions in our lives and throughout history because He knows how easy it is to lose perspective during troubled times.
This is why, in part, God commanded the Israelites to observe the Passover annually: to remind them how He brought their ancestors miraculously out of Egypt and led them in the wilderness. The history of America can offer us similar assurances. Amercians experienced the Revolutionary War, slavery, the Great Depression, World War I and II and other challenges. These times brought significant difficulties: hunger, widespread homelessness, unemployment that reached above 25% and battles that killed many Americans. Yet they not only survived, but also in some ways emerged stronger than before.
How easy it is to forget what Almighty God has done and can do! When the Israelites faced invasion on their borders, they struggled to remember that their ancestors had walked through the Red Sea with walls of water supernaturally rising on either side. So too we forget that many of our forefathers toiled often from sunup to sundown and would consider our worst day to be one of unimaginable luxury and comfort. We need perspective when troubled times hit: we will survive. By God’s grace, we will come out stronger than before.