Learning from History
Daily Bible Reading – Judges 13-16; 2 Corinthians 2
Today’s Key Passage – Judges 13:1-5
As I have been reading Judges for the last week or so, two famous quotes have come to mind. The first, attributed to the philosopher Edmund Burke is, “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” The second, attributed to a variety of people including Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein is, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” These two quotes seem fairly appropriate to any discussion of the book of Judges. During the period of the Judges, the Israelites found themselves in a pattern of destructive behavior. When they had no one to lead them, they would turn away from God and “do evil in the eyes of the Lord”. Because of their evil, God would deliver them into the hands of an enemy who would oppress them for a period of years. When the Israelites could no longer take the abuse, they would “cry out to the Lord” for help. At that point, God would give them a judge – a person to lead them who would conquer their enemies. When that person would die, the Israelites would once again turn away from God and the whole cycle would repeat itself. It seemed that no matter how bad things were when they were far from God or how great things were when they were close to Him, they could not seem to break this cycle and they would always choose to ignore their own history. They would do the same things over and over again and expect a different result.
As is common when we study the Bible, it is pretty easy to look back at the Israelites in hindsight and see their mistakes. It is easy for us to wonder how they could possibly keep turning from the Lord when it always went so badly for them. The sad truth, however, is that most of us do the same thing as the Israelites in one degree or another from time to time. Think about it – every time we give in to temptation and sin, are we not turning away from God? Are we not doing evil in the eyes of the Lord? When things get bad for us because of our sinfulness, do we not cry out to the Lord for help, repent, and do everything we can to follow His ways again until the next time we fall to temptation? Just like the Israelites, we too can find ourselves caught in a vicious cycle of sin, guilt, and remorse.
Fortunately for us, we have hope in breaking this cycle. First of all, we have history to study to help us learn what happens when we stray. Like the Israelites, we can look at our own personal histories to see the cycle of sin and see what happens when we choose to turn away from God. Unlike the Israelites, we have something more. Instead of just looking at our own history, we can also study the history in the Bible to see this same cycle through the ages.
Secondly, we have the help of the Holy Spirit living with us to break this cycle. Through the power of Jesus Christ, we can overcome any temptation, no matter how great. In 1 Corinthians 10:13 we read, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” God does not want to see us fail. He does not want to see us in the same cycle as the Israelites. He wants us to have freedom over temptation and sin, and He wants us to stay close to Him.
Finally, we have hope in knowing that in His limitless grace and mercy, God is always waiting for us with open arms if we fall. Time and time again, when the Israelites cried out to Him, He answered their call. Time and time again, when they were ready to follow Him again, He was there to lead them. No matter how many times you have fallen, He is waiting for you to cry out to Him. If you are willing to follow Him, He is willing to lead you. Do not continue to repeat the mistakes of the past. Learn from your own history and the history of countless other generations before you, and press in closer to God today. Allow Him to be Lord of your life, and break the cycle for good.
During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you? Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.
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Posted on April 2, 2013, in 07 - Judges and tagged Bible, Christian, Daily Bible, Daily Devotional, God, Grace, Israelite, Jesus, Religion, Repentance, Sin, Temptation. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.