Is the Bible a history textbook?
No, not per se, at least it was not designed specifically for that reason.
But when the Bible does address matters of history … it is accurate. I tend to say “infallible, inerrant!” Without mistake, in other words!
But still, one will not find a detailed summary of the lives of the Vikings in Scripture. Or the Mayflower voyage across the Atlantic!
But one does find history … as it involves God’s people, either Israel or the Church … as it involves God’s Will on the earth! (Maybe in the heavens, too!)
And that brings me to today’s Text, Bible Text … Ezra chapter 5.
It is nearly 100% history!
Babylonian, Medo-Persian history, Jewish history!
In it’s relatively short 17 verse “path” (Ezra 5 being the subject now) one finds mentioned King after King … Darius and Nebuchadnezzar (posthumously) and Cyrus (with Ezra 4 having already mentioned Artaxerxes, 3 times in fact)! Plus the chapters refers to several Prophets of God, two to be specific, Haggai and Zechariah! Not counting the governor of the “across the river” territory, a man named Tatnai!
But only as it played a role in the life of Judah, God’s “chosen people,” or as Deuteronomy 32:10 calls the Jews, “the apple of His Eye!”
More about chapter 5 tomorrow, the Lord willing.
Looks like, truth be told, several lessons from that part of Ezra are upcoming!
But the “point” today, still talking about history …
I remember one day in class, history class, years ago now (high school really) that our teacher began the school year (the first class of the first week) by calling us to order … then walking to the chalkboard (that long ago) and writing there this word … “HISTORY.” The immediately he (I can still remember his name, Mr. Youstra) re-wrote the word as “HIS” then, with a space between the letters … “STORY!”
Then he turned to us and proclaimed that HISTORY is merely the revelation (the review) of HIS STORY, God’s Story in his dealing with mankind! Hence, from the Christian perspective, a working definition of history!
That’s the idea embedded in Ezra chapter 5, in all the Book of Ezra actually.
Ah, why not say it … in all the Bible!
And the Bible is “full” of his-story as well!
From Genesis to Revelation, lots of history. (Some divinely inspired Prophecy too, let there be no doubt!) But tons of history!
God involved in history?
Almost God controlling history, in a sense!
One more supporting verse today … “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.” Proverbs 21:1, God running His universe!
— Dr. Mike Bagwell