Consider the Years
“Remember the days of old; consider the years of many generations; ask your father, and he will show you, your elders, and they will tell you.” (Deuteronomy 32:7, ESV)
It took a few seconds for my brain to process what the woman said. I had stopped in the small convenience store to get a bottled water and asked the clerk if she knew about the McCall Family Cemetery tucked in a remote spot of Pisgah Forest.
“Heck, you can’t swing a dead cat without hittin’ a McCall,” she answered.
Having lived my entire life in the Midwest up until a year ago, I never heard that phrase before!
When I moved to the mountains of Western North Carolina, I was surprised by the number of families that lived in the same area or small town for generations. Many of them even have family cemeteries that date back to the 19th century. Like the “McCall Family Cemetery” I saw while hiking in Pisgah Forest.
For some reason I am fascinated by old cemeteries and the lives of the people buried there. What can we learn from those who have lived and died before us?
God’s Word instructs us to remember the past generations, and especially the faithfulness of God through them.
In Deuteronomy 32, as Moses nears the end of his life, he remembers and recounts the story of the people of God through a song. The song isn’t short – 43 verses! – and verse seven is like a rallying cry for the people, especially the younger generation, to listen up!
In Moses’ song, he remembered all of the past, not just the good stuff. He reminds the people of the ways they turned from God.
“You were unmindful of the Rock that bore you, and you forgot the God who gave you birth.” (Deuteronomy 32:18).
The story of God’s people is a story of rebelling and repenting, and turning back to the Lord. And isn’t this the story of each of our families and lives? The good news is that God is faithful to take us back and redeem the broken parts of our history.
God even designed our brains in such a way that the process of remembering and telling our life stories activates a set of neural networks that enhance our deep connection with God and with others. What am amazing Creator we have!
With Mother’s Day recently past, and Father’s Day around the corner, a wonderful gift we can give to our elder family members is to ask them to share about God’s work in their lives.
Even if your parents are no longer living, you can still remember and perhaps share their story with someone who needs encouragement and hope.
And what if you are the “older generation”? Remembering and recording, writing or telling, - this is perhaps God’s desire for you, just as it was for Moses.
Thank you, Lord, for the generations of those who have followed You and the wisdom they have to share. Help us to remember Your faithfulness to them, and encourage us to ask them about it and to consider the years You have given us! Amen.