"O my people, listen to my teaching. Open your ears to what I am saying, for I will speak to you in a parable. I will teach you hidden lessons from our past--stories we have heard and know, stories our ancestors handed down to us. We will not hide these truths from our children but will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord. We will tell of his power and the mighty miracles he did." Psalm 78:1-4 NLT
"I don't want you to forget, dear brothers and sisters, what happened to our ancestors in the wilderness long ago. ...These events happened as a warning to us, so that we would not crave evil things as they did or worship idols as some of them did. ...All these events happened to them as examples for us. they were written down to warn us, who live at the time when this age is drawing to a close." I Corinthians 10:1,6,11 NLT
What a blessing that we have the wonderful stories of the Old Testament showing us God's heart and how He dealt with people. We will benefit from reading and rereading them learning the lessons God has in them for us. Also we are to pass them on to our children. The Bible is the very best and most important book we can bless our children with. Over and over I have noticed in my reading these past months that God is credited as the force behind the history. He raised up kings and prophets and turned their hearts to do His will. I'm in II Kings right now and an example of this is in 14:26 "For the Lord saw the bitter suffering of everyone in Israel, and how they had absolutely no one to help them. And because the Lord had had not said he would blot out the name of Israel completely, He used Jeroboam II, the son of Jehoash, to save them." There are many examples of times he raises up the king of Israel or Judah to go to battle and be destroyed in punishment for their idolatry. These little key phrases attributing these things to the Lord have been jumping out at me. God is sovereign - He directs the heart of the King like a waterbrook says the Psalms. What a comfort to have a God in charge who is directing the affairs of man for His glory. The question is if I value His glory, too.
I have also been pondering the idea that our personal history and God's workings in our lives are also valuable family stories that bless our children both with our failures and our successes in following God. Times of seeing how He carried us through crisis and where our journey of faith has been can be a stepping stone for them and be informative for wisdom in their own lives. With that in mind I've been reminiscing about some of God's workings in some of our early experiences.
When Dad (Brian) and I first married he was in school and I supported us financially. Later we both worked while we waited to have children, but we put aside my income in the bank so that we wouldn't become comfortable on two incomes. Those days of careful frugality were foundations for what God knew would be a pattern of our lives - enough but never an abundance. When we had Nate I quit working outside the home for good, and Dad became our sole breadwinner. He had just finished school and we didn't have much money coming in. It was a stretch to make the money go around. I remember the Lord giving me Matthew 6 emphasizing verse 33 as a promise to me, (31) Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (32) (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. (33) But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (34) Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." Precious words and instructions for a young couple! "Trust me, worry about My Kingdom and I will provide the earthly things you need." I can say that after 30 years we have always had something to eat and something to wear. I have had further lessons in not seeking after earthly things as we Gentiles are so prone to, of valuing what is truly important and sometimes I was forced to admit that what I thought was a need, God must see as a "want" because He wasn't providing for it. I must confess that the lessons in trust continue to the current moment. Last winter when Dad didn't have work I am sad to admit that I sometimes murmured and led you in worry rather than faith and I pressured Dad who was seeking to trust God to look around for work without the guidance of God. Each new day needs its own daily bread and each new situation requires a new trust in the ever faithful God, but His provision all these years does make trusting easier. I hope that the lessons of this past year and some of it's miraculous provisions will make the coming winter easier. I also hope that Dad's courageous stands on not spending what you don't have and being grateful for what you have rather than murmuring about what you don't have will be patterns you seek to follow.