As my wife and I toured the British Museum, we were struck by the history and legacy contained in that massive facility in London. We looked at artifacts that were centuries older than anything found in the United States, reminding me how valuable it is to have a sense of history. History gives us a record of perspective, context, and consequences that can help us make wise choices as we learn from both the successes and failures of those who have gone before us.

Paul also saw the value of embracing the lessons of history. He warned of the destructive nature of bad choices by recounting the story of the children of Israel and their wilderness wanderings—a result of their refusal to trust God and enter the Promised Land (see Num. 14). Then Paul told the believers in Corinth, “All these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Cor. 10:11).

God has given us the Bible, partly to help us learn from the history of His people. Biblical lessons contain both examples and warnings to guard us against our worst inclinations and to lead us into wiser living. The question is whether we will learn from the lessons of the past or repeat the mistakes of those who came before us.