Learn from the Past & Be Strong!
Chris' Corner -- Sunday, March 6, 2022
“Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren...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” (Deut. 4:9; 32:7). “Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted...Now 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. 10:6, 11).
How often God warns His people to look to the past and learn from their history with Him. It is always better to learn from the mistakes of others, but at least we should learn from our own mistakes! Unfortunately, not everyone does this. Many try but fail to maintain 100 percent.
As we look at the history of God’s people from the Egyptian Exodus to the reign of Saul, the first king of Israel (about 445 years), they had not learned from their past. Some people never learn!
A case in point is 1 Samuel 17. The armies of Israel were fighting the Philistines. Each army encamped on a mountain on either side of a valley. Who would make the first move—the Philistines. They sent out a giant called Goliath. Giants are mentioned in scripture from the days before Abraham, to the time of Moses and Israel in the wilderness. Israel would have been familiar with these men of great stature.
Goliath, who stood some nine and a half feet tall, came down into the valley and yelled up to the armies of Israel and challenged any soldier to a one-on-one fight to the finish. The winner would determine who won the war. This went on for 40 days! No one accepted the challenge.
What happened to faith in God? Isn’t He the most powerful Being of all? Had He not proven Himself over and over again. They must have forgotten the defeat of Pharoah, the Midianites, Amalekites, Jericho, and the Canaanites. There are at least 15 major battles where God fought for them as the underdogs, and they were victorious!
Out of the thousands of soldiers in Israel, a young shepherd accepted the challenge. David remembered his personal history with God. He told them how God delivered him from the paws of a lion and a bear. Now his trust in God had grown strong. He was ready to take down this heathen Philistine who dared to question and humiliate the God of Israel.
It doesn’t matter how big the challenge we face. It doesn’t matter that it’s bigger than any we have encountered before. We should know our great God and Father in heaven is greater than any threat, the voice of any sinner, the intimidated and unbeliever may hurl at us.
Near the end of his life, Moses encouraged Israel, “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you” (Deut. 31:6).
In God’s call to Ezekiel, He said, “Son of man, I am sending you to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against Me; they and their fathers have transgressed against Me to this very day. For they are impudent and stubborn children. I am sending you to them, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God.’ ...do not be afraid of them nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you and you dwell among scorpions; do not be afraid of their words or dismayed by their looks, though they are a rebellious house” (2:3, 4, 6).