“Study the past if you would define the future”

was a statement made by Confucius. What he said was no different from the commonly quoted statement by Edmund Burke,

“Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it.”

In 1 Corinthians 10, Paul uses a similar argument to remind the Israelites of their past mistakes so that in their new-found Christian faith, they would not repeat them.

1 For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. 2 They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3 They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert. 6 Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.

 No sequence of events in history was as eventful as the exodus of the Israelite nation- their suffering in Egypt, the forcefulness of Moses, the miracles that accompanied him in the deliverance that God worked for them and the provisions of God as they wandered through the desert to finally find Canaan.

But surprisingly, despite all that God accomplished for them, the Israelites had a short memory. They quickly moved from an attitude of worship and gratitude to idolatry and rebellion. It is no different for a pilgrim today. Man is wired to sin and rebel against God. He seamlessly transitions from an elation of worship to the despondency of rebellion and worldliness. The commitment made to God, the deep sense of reverence and the attitude of gratefulness are quickly thrown aside as he forays into the world with its various dynamics that are wired to draw man away from God.

How can man keep his bearings right? One way is to study history- that of self and others around you. Think of the darkest moments in your life- when God sustained you, and you will find no stronghold for man greater than God. Think of the all the areas of your life where you obeyed the Lord in the past, often with great difficulty- and you will find that obedience always led you to abundance. Also never forget the mistakes, wherein you could have obeyed, yet failed and how you paid for it.

Look at society and your church around you. Societies and nations that found Christ and responded in belief and obedience moved on to prosperity, whereas those that rejected the Lord wasted away. What was true for the Israelite nation is equally true today.

Churches abound but very few manage to break past tradition and materialism to truly honor God and encourage worship. The axe is at the door! Yet abundance embraces every group of believers who deny themselves of all idolatry within the church and make discipleship their prime motive.

Will we learn from history and thrive or will we forget and perish?

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