There are so many cultures that live in the past. They honor their dead, they remember the heroic deeds of their ancestors who put a stake down and lived out a dream or a vision. Usually today if we refer to living in the past we mean that someone is not willing to bring their lives up to the present. I think we should live more in the past. We can learn so much from the people who went before us, both from our family ancestors, and from our history as a nation. We spend so little time in the past with history, because many think it is wasted time. Yet it is from the past that we learn lessons that could help us with our future.
"Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it." -Winston Churchill
Today people want to learn more about their ancestry than they did in my parent’s day. Perhaps the melting pot of America has created a longing to know more about the roots of their families before grandma and grandpa. I know in my parents’ day, graveyards were visited on special holidays to remember the past but today many young people think that is morbid. If you ask most people what Memorial Day weekend is about, they would probably say, “It’s the unofficial start of summer.”
So what do we learn from the past?
1. The past gives us context for the present and the future. We learn from both the mistakes and the victories of history. History does repeat itself because humans are predictable. When a nation sins it is usually because that nation is following the ambitions of leaders who have an agenda of power.
2. The past reminds us of the heroic people who spoke truth and defended it with their lives. So many prophets in the Bible were these kinds of people. We also have had great men in politics and industry that believed in an idea or in the concept that people can live free from the tyranny of governments.
3. The past will bring to mind the promises made by our founding fathers of this great Republic of ours. The sacrifice they made and the wisdom they used to craft a new nation under God. We are also reminded of God’s promises that He made to Abraham that all nations would be blessed because of His covenant with Abraham’s descendants.
4. The past also reminds us that we are the combination of the many generations of family members who have come and gone over the years. Their DNA is our DNA and we carry forth the characteristics of those previous generations into our future.
5. The past warns us of how arrogance can become our worst enemy. It becomes our enemy because it has forgotten and abandoned the fear of God. When there is no fear of God in the land, the land is governed by arrogance and self-willed people. It paves the way for people like Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Idi Amin, Mao Tse-Tung and Saddam Hussein to come to power. To learn from the past is one of the greatest lessons we can glean from history.
Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it
Most of the time we are told to forget our past, don’t dwell on what was, and don’t let your past rule over your present and your future. Yet the past is our greatest teacher of lessons learned. In my life my painful past is no longer a reminder of failure, it is a promise of what never to do again.
A few thoughts from the past:
In my recent blogs I have been rather harsh toward clergy because I feel many of them have let the Lord down as they minister in His Name. It is a lesson I learned from the past as we go back to Ezekiel 22:26:
“Her priests do violence to my law and profane my holy things; they do not distinguish between the holy and the common; they teach that there is no difference between the unclean and the clean; and they shut their eyes to the keeping of my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them.”
The problem always starts with those whose job it is to make a case for God among the people. Sooner rather than later, we begin to see the differences between the holy and the common disappear and God becomes a commonplace item without much value. I am afraid that we have not been taught to fear the Lord, we simply see him as a means to an end.
Malachi 3:8 tells us that God will one day bring this distinction back into focus.
It appears that in Malachi’s day there was no distinction between the holy and the common.
“And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.”
God’s people are to be different. They don’t mirror what the world stands for; rather they become the distinction between the Holy and the common as a testimony to who God is.
So in the last days we will see less distinction between the Holy and the common, and as I pointed out a few days ago, Satan will become an object of worship for the whole earth.
- God becomes less
- Satan becomes more
Leviticus 10:10 You shall make a distinction and recognize a difference between the holy and the common, the unclean and the clean.
Revelation 13:4 And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?”
Keeping it honest and truthful…K