“We will not hide them from their children but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; and that they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God.” Psalm 78:4-8 (ESV)
How could you ever forget witnessing: the utter devastation of the then most powerful nation on earth by 10 plagues; that miraculous parting of the Red Sea; those events around the God-given covenant and its renewal at Mount Sinai; 40 years of daily food provision and of clothes and footwear that never wore out; the Jordan river in full flood crossed without a single foot getting wet; and Jericho a mighty walled Canaanite city levelled by trumpet blasts and human shouts? But Israel did! Its short-term memory was ever suspect, its long-term memory faltered, and many times was completely absent.
Moses, then Joshua, Samuel and then the prophets had to continually remind Israel of their unique history, of God’s great faithfulness, patience, and mercy. Israel’s Sabbath, series of annual festivals and feasts, and piles of monumental stones were all designed to remind Israel not only of who they were but of whose they were. So, memory and [actively] remembering wasn’t just about recalling information but much more importantly about taking action, implying a deep and functioning relationship with God.
Question – Are we much different? Do we actively remember what God has done in the past in this land amongst our people? Our response will surely guide what we think, hope, pray and expect God will do in the future.
The Revival at Oldstone near Antrim in the early 17th century (also known as the Sixmilewater Revival) has also been aptly called “Ulster’s forgotten revival”. James Glendinning’s preaching of the law of God and His wrath if the law was broken convicted many of their sinfulness. Other ministers, such as Josiah Welch, were greatly used to show many the way to forgiveness through Jesus. Monthly prayer meetings were established which became increasingly well attended. They would last from Thursday through to Sunday and involve prayer, fasting, worship, and teaching, concluding with a Sunday morning communion service followed by a thanksgiving service. Yet perhaps few people outside those with a keen interest in Irish revival history are likely to have heard of this milestone in Ulster’s and Ireland’s faith journey.
Heavenly Father, help today’s generations to understand that they need to learn and remember the lessons of history – the story of Your dealings with Your people through the ages, especially on this island. Lord, in our time we long to see and experience a powerful move of Your Holy Spirit to show Ireland and its people that You are the One True Living God who stands against all opposition and proves He is Lord. Amen.