* Don’t long for sinful pleasures of the past
Lot’s wife turned back to look at the smoldering city of Sodom. Clinging to the past, she was unwilling to turn completely away. Are you looking back longingly at sin while trying to move forward with God? You can’t make progress with God as long as you are holding on to pieces of your old life. Jesus said it this way in Matthew 6:24: “No one can serve two masters.” (NLT)
Genesis 19:26 – But Lot’s wife looked back as she was following along behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.
* Past affects your future
Jacob blessed each of his sons and then made a prediction about each one’s future. The way the men had lived played an important part in Jacob’s blessing and prophecy. Our past also affects our present and future. By sunrise tomorrow, our actions of today will have become part of the past. Yet they will already have begun to shape the future. What actions can you choose or avoid that will positively shape your future? (NLT)
Genesis 49:3-28 – “Reuben, you are my oldest son, the child of my vigorous youth. You are first on the list in rank and honor. But you are as unruly as the waves of the sea, and you will be first no longer. For you slept with one of my wives; you dishonored me in my own bed.
“Simeon and Levi are two of a kind—men of violence. O my soul, stay away from them. May I never be a party to their wicked plans. For in their anger they murdered men, and they crippled oxen just for sport. Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce; cursed be their wrath, for it is cruel. Therefore, I will scatter their descendants throughout the nation of Israel.
“Judah, your brothers will praise you. You will defeat your enemies. All your relatives will bow before you. Judah is a young lion that has finished eating its prey. Like a lion he crouches and lies down; like a lioness—who will dare to rouse him? The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from his descendants, until the coming of the one to whom it belongs, the one whom all nations will obey. He ties his foal to a grapevine, the colt of his donkey to a choice vine. He washes his clothes in wine because his harvest is so plentiful. His eyes are darker than wine, and his teeth are whiter than milk.
“Zebulun will settle on the shores of the sea and will be a harbor for ships; his borders will extend to Sidon.
Issachar is a strong beast of burden, resting among the sheepfolds. When he sees how good the countryside is, how pleasant the land, he will bend his shoulder to the task and submit to forced labor.
“Dan will govern his people like any other tribe in Israel. He will be a snake beside the road, a poisonous viper along the path, that bites the horse’s heels so the rider is thrown off. I trust in you for salvation, O Lord!
“Gad will be plundered by marauding bands, but he will turn and plunder them.
“Asher will produce rich foods, food fit for kings.
“Naphtali is a deer let loose, producing magnificent fawns.
“Joseph is a fruitful tree, a fruitful tree beside a fountain. His branches reach over the wall. He has been attacked by archers, who shot at him and harassed him. But his bow remained strong, and his arms were strengthened by the Mighty One of Jacob, the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel. May the God of your ancestors help you; may the Almighty bless you with the blessings of the heavens above, blessings of the earth beneath, and blessings of the breasts and womb. May the blessings of your ancestors be greater than the blessings of the eternal mountains, reaching to the utmost bounds of the everlasting hills. These blessings will fall on the head of Joseph, who is a prince among his brothers.
“Benjamin is a wolf that prowls. He devours his enemies in the morning, and in the evening he divides the plunder.”
These are the twelve tribes of Israel, and these are the blessings with which Jacob blessed his twelve sons. Each received a blessing that was appropriate to him.
* Can’t please God only with past accomplishments
The Philistines were afraid because they remembered stories about God’s intervention for Israel when they left Egypt. But Israel had turned away from god and was clinging to only a form of godliness, a symbol of former victories.
People (and churches) often try to live on the memories of God’s blessings. The Israelites wrongly assumed that because God had given them vicotyr in the past, he would do it again, even though they had strayed far from him. Today, as in bible times, spiritual victories come through a continually renewed relationship with God. don’t live off the past. Keep your relationship with God new and fresh. (NLT)
1 Samuel 4:5-8 – When the Israelites saw the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord coming into the camp, their shout of joy was so loud that it made the ground shake!
“What’s going on?” the Philistines asked. “What’s all the shouting about in the Hebrew camp?” When they were told it was because the Ark of the Lord had arrived, they panicked. “The gods have come into their camp!” they cried. “This is a disaster! We have never had to face anything like this before! Who can save us from these mighty gods of Israel? They are the same gods who destroyed the Egyptians with plagues when Israel was in the wilderness.
* Don’t forget God’s past care for you
The Israelites had great difficulty with the Philistines, but God rescued them. In response the people set up a stone as a memorial of God’s great help and deliverance. During tough times, we may need to remember the crucial turning points in our past to help us through the present. Memorials can help us remember God’s past victories and gain confidence and strength for the present. (NLT)
1 Samuel 7:12 – Samuel then took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah. He named it Ebenezer—“the stone of help”—for he said, “Up to this point the Lord has helped us!”
* Jesus had already fed more than 5,000 people with five loaves and two fish. Here, in a similar situation, the disciples were again perplexed. How easily we throw up our hands in despair when faced with difficult situations. Like the disciples, we often forget that if God has cared for us in the past, he will do the same now. When facing a difficult situation, remember that God cares for you and trust him to work faithfully again. (NLT)
Matthew 15:33 – The disciples replied, “And where would we get enough food out here in the wilderness for all of them to eat?”
* Learning lessons from the past
Jeroboam and his advisers did not learn from Israel’s previous disaster with a gold calf. Perhaps they were ignorant of Scripture, or maybe they knew about the event and decided to ignore it. Study the Bible to become aware of God’s acts in history, and then apply the important lessons to your life. If you learn from the past, you will not face disaster as a result of repeating others’ mistakes (Isaiah 42:231; 1 Corinthians 10:11). (NLT)
1 Kings 12:30 – This became a great sin, for the people worshiped them, traveling even as far as Dan.
* God destroyed Jeroboam’s descendants for their flagrant sins, and yet Baasha repeated the same mistakes. He did not learn from the example of those who went before him; he did not stop to think that his sin would be punished. Make sure you learn from your past, the experiences of others, and the lives of those whose stories are told in the Bible. Don’t repeat mistakes. (NLT)
1 Kings 16:1-7 – This message from the Lord was delivered to King Baasha by the prophet Jehu son of Hanani: “I lifted you out of the dust to make you ruler of my people Israel, but you have followed the evil example of Jeroboam. You have aroused my anger by causing my people to sin. So now I will destroy you and your family, just as I destroyed the descendants of Jeroboam son of Nebat. Those of your family who die in the city will be eaten by dogs, and those who die in the field will be eaten by the vultures.”
The rest of the events in Baasha’s reign and the extent of his power are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Israel. When Baasha died, he was buried in Tirzah. Then his son Elah became the next king.
This message from the Lord has been spoken against Baasha and his family through the prophet Jehu son of Hanani. It was delivered because Baasha had done what was evil in the Lord’s sight, arousing him to anger by his sins, just like the family of Jeroboam, and also because Baasha had destroyed the family of Jeroboam.
* Today’s pressure make it easy to ignore or forget the lessons of the past. But Paul cautions us to remember the lessons the Israelites learned about God so we can avoid repeating their errors. The key to remembering is to study the Bible regularly so that these lessons remind us of how God wants us to live. We need not repeat their mistakes! (NLT)
1 Corinthians 10:11 – All these events happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us, who live at the time when this age is drawing to a close.
1 We may condemn our predecessors for their failures, but we are twice as guilty if we repeat the same mistakes that we recognize as failures. Often we are so ready to direct God’s message at others that we can’t see how it touches our own life. Make sure you are willing to take your own advice as you teach or lead. (NLT)
Isaiah 42:23 – Will not even one of you apply these lessons from the past and see the ruin that awaits you?
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