‘We must always look forward, but we have to understand our history in order not to repeat the mistakes of the past. I have seen too many instances where people continue to pursue wrong courses of action because they do not take time to think critically about what has happened in the past. Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.’ These words of warning voiced in 1948 by Winston Churchill are as applicable in our day as it was in his. If we don’t learn hard lessons from our past, our history, inevitably we will find ourselves mired down in past errors. Those who ignore history, repeat history.
The writer of the Book of Hebrews was used of God to exhort and to encourage first-century Jewish Christians who were suffering intense persecution as a result of their new-found faith in Christ, their Messiah. The backlash to their faith was so severe, the bloodshed so vicious, that many of these early believers contemplated renouncing their profession of faith to still the raging persecution waters in which they found themselves. Life was so difficult for this fledgling body of believers that they were close to sounding a retreat. The writer digs deeply into the rich history of the Hebrew nation to provide a perfect warning for these discouraged followers of Christ.
Centuries prior, their ancestors had been held captive in Egypt for over 400 years. Through a miraculous chain of events culminating with the Passover, God would redeem His people. As they took that blood of a lamb that was “without blemish” and would “strike it upon…the doorpost of the houses,” they would paint a clear picture of a future Lamb Who would “take away the sins of the world.” God would then miraculously part the Red Sea, picturing the deliverance embodied in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Finally, through the awe-inspiring display at Mount Sinai, God would establish His “covenant” with His people, a precursor of the new covenant sealed through the indwelling of God’s Spirit in His children. But in spite of God’s wondrous dealings on behalf of His people, they would “harden their hearts,” become discontented with God’s provisions, doubt His providence in their lives, and fall short of the Promised Land.
These New Testament Christian Jews had a choice to make in the midst of their persecution and trials. Would they opt stay the course, or as their forefathers, would they choose rebellion over obedience. History would teach them that their forefathers suffered greatly due to their hardness of heart and lack of faith as “their carcasses fell in the wilderness.” Did they really want to go down that same path?
God’s warning to these suffering believers is applicable to us, for “all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition.” When discouragement comes, and it will, we are warned not to repeat this history of doubt and rebellion, to “Harden not (our) hearts,” but instead, choose to enter “into His rest” by way of redemption through the cross, deliverance via the empty tomb, and powerful living through the indwelling Spirit of God. As we cease from our own efforts, trust His grace, and rest in the finished work of Jesus Christ, we find peace and contentment in the midst of our storm.
Hebrews 3:15,19 …Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation…so we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
Lord, thank You for all the examples You give us in Your Word. When times get tough, help me to stay the course and trust in You; keep my heart tender and my faith strong.<div class='sharedaddy sd-block sd-like jetpack-likes-widget-wrapper jetpack-likes-widget-unloaded' id='like-post-wrapper-164683012-1727-62863661ae638' data-src='https://widgets.wp.com/likes/#blog_id=164683012&post_id=1727&origin=grandmasgleanings.com&obj_id=164683012-1727-62863661ae638' data-name='like-post-frame-164683012-1727-62863661ae638' data-title='Like or Reblog'><h3 class="sd-title">Like this:</h3><div class='likes-widget-placeholder post-likes-widget-placeholder' style='height: 55px;'><span class='button'><span>Like</span></span> <span class="loading">Loading...</span></div><span class='sd-text-color'></span><a class='sd-link-color'></a></div>