We have heard it with our ears, O God; our ancestors have told us what You did in their days, in days long ago. With Your hand You drove out the nations and planted our ancestors; You crushed the peoples and made our ancestors flourish. It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was Your right hand, Your arm, and the light of Your face, for You loved them.You are my King and my God, who decrees victories for Jacob. Through You we push back our enemies; through Your name we trample our foes. I put no trust in my bow, my sword does not bring me victory; but You give us victory over our enemies, You put our adversaries to shame. In God we make our boast all day long, and we will praise Your name forever. (Psalm 44:1-8)
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Have you ever noticed how powerful family stories are?
Think of your grandparents when you were younger. How many good family stories did they tell you that you can still remember today? Whether they displayed humor, heart-ache, trouble, or joy, you can remember them because they - in some strange way - related to you.
Whether it was the first time your grandparents met, the ten miles they had to walk to get to school (in the rain), or the crazy, elaborate (and clearly made up) story of them "chasing a UFO" in their old pick-up truck... every one of these stories powerfully connected with you.
This connection exists because their spoken history is a part of us. And each story communicated and heard connects us deeper and deeper with them as a family.
I sometimes read the Old Testament and get jealous of the stories that parents and grandparents got to tell their children.
"When I was a child, our God delivered us from the control of Egypt. For years we slaved, but one day all of that changed. He opened up the river for us to walk through and closed it on our enemies. As I ran through, I saw all kinds of fish surrounding me on either side. Though I was afraid, the LORD kept us safe..."
The thought of it makes me jealous because these stories communicated so much more than our everyday, family history story.
In fact, every time these stories were told, it did not just solidify them as a family... it solidified them - and strengthened them - as God's people.
And today's Psalm illustrates this.
The writer proclaims that he knows of the LORD's work in his family and of the victories that were experienced because of God. He knows it because he was told it, over and over.
And this is what is powerful: His deep knowledge of what God did in the past for his family gave him a deep trust for God in the present.
He sings, "I put no trust in my bow, my sword does not bring me victory; but You give us victory over our enemies, You put our adversaries to shame. In God we make our boast all day long, and we will praise Your name forever."
He knew that God was victorious because he was told the countless stories of God's victories.
And all of this makes me wonder: How different would my life - your life - be if we would have grown up hearing stories like those in the Old Testament? What would it be like to know that God was at work in the lives of our parents and grandparents? How much more trust would we have towards Him today?
Now believe me when I say this: I do not blame my trust problems on my family. And I certainly do not condone you blaming yours on your family either.
Instead, I am just made aware of the power in sharing our "God stories" with others. They are not just empty words and stories. They are powerful testimonies that connect us with other believers. They exchange doubts for hope, trust, and faith.
Maybe the very reason why so many people struggle with doubt is because they have not heard over and over the real-life stories of God's faithfulness.
I do not know about you, but I want my friends, my co-workers, and my children to know the connection that I have with them as Christians. I want to make known how my God has worked in me, strengthened me, and provided for me.
This calls me to recount and retell all aspects of my life; the good and the bad. For His victories are often the product of a mix between my failures, my submissions, and my losses.
Therefore, I challenge you with two things today:
1. Seek out and listen closely for the God stories that are all around you.
2. I challenge you to pass on a story of how God has worked in your own life (with a friend, a sibling, and/or especially a child).
Today, you have the powerful opportunity to help grow someone else's trust in the Lord, all you have to do is speak.
"In God we make our boast all day long..." I pray that we all do just that. Please feel free to comment your thoughts in today's IG post! AND, use the image below or today's link to repost today's devotion!
Greg, Declare Glory