“History repeats itself” is actually a terrible misquote. It leads students to ask questions like “If history repeats itself, why do I have to learn it the first time?” No, the actually quote is “Those who do not learn history (the past) are condemned to repeat it.” Google George Santayana. The point is that if we learn from history, we can avoid making the same mistakes. Here’s an example of New Testament people not learning their Old Testament history.
Jeremiah prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem. Much of Israel had already fallen, yet the people of Jerusalem felt safe because that’s where the temple was located. God would never let anything happen to it. But Jeremiah had inside information. In the Old Testament, prophets acted sort of like the mouthpiece for God. They did two things; prophesied the future, and also conveyed God’s will. The prophet was more than a fortune teller; sometimes he simply spoke God’s mind to the people of Israel, letting them know what they were doing right and wrong. In Jeremiah’s case, God was sending a warning.
Jeremiah was chosen by God to be His instrument. In the first chapter of Jeremiah, we read of his calling: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (Jer. 1:4) So we see that Jeremiah had knowledge. God was using him to convey a message to the people of Jerusalem. Jeremiah also had concern. He shared God’s message and begged people to heed the warning. He pleaded with leaders and the masses, and is known as the weeping prophet because of his grieving (see chapters 8 and 9). This prophet had knowledge and compassion, but his word was not heeded and Jerusalem fell to Nebuchadnezzar.
Fast forward a couple thousand years. Jesus was more than a prophet. The prophets at times were anointed by the Spirit of God; Jesus was conceived by the Spirit of God. He had knowledge of events past, present and future. He knew the thoughts of men’s hearts. Jeremiah in his day had compassion; Jesus had compassion that surpasses understanding. Like Jeremiah, Jesus wept over Jerusalem. He even compares himself to a mother hen that would “gather her brood under her wings,” but Jerusalem would not. (see Lk 13:34-35).
In A.D. 70, Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans. The Jews were relocated to major cities all across the Roman Empire, a historical event known as the diaspora. The New Testament books of James and Revelation are for certain written after the destruction of Jerusalem. This is a people that did not learn the lessons of history. Jesus not only acknowledges that they ignored the prophets, but more than once points out they killed the prophets; and Jesus himself was no exception.
I have been struggling with some things during the past couple of years; I know Jesus is looking at me. My problem is, after going to Israel late last year, returning to volunteer for the Israeli Military later this year (in 2 months), I am sturggling with…is this what He wishes of me, or is He telling me something that is so much simpler I do not see it? I live on an island, surrounded by debachery and blasphemy…all day, every day, and I know it does not sit so well with Him that I further expose myself to these things, but isn’t that just part of life everywhere I go? Since He began convicting me last year, I have felt unworthy of His love and forgiveness. It seems like there is nothing I can do, this side of the grave, to ever be considered worthy of His love. All I am doing now is playing catch-up…doing things I should have done years ago but did not. Is there such a thing a unconditional forgiveness when I continue to be exposed to these things which make Him most unhappy, or does He understand my situation…allowing these things to play themselves out in my life? I have asked for forgiveness and asked for my salvation, but…being a sinner, and being a sinner each and every day, my unworthiness makes me feel as if my efforts are futile. I really don’t know what I am trying to ask…what kind of information I seek from you, an anonymous person, but I have sat here reading your commentaries and…they moved me to feel as if I can trust you enough to ask for…anything. Most sincerely,
We are all unworthy. Nothing you can do will make you “worthy” of receiving God’s grace. But he offers it freely to anyone that will receive. Each of us are surronded by the sin of this world; unless you join a monestary, there is nowhere you can go in the world and be shielded from it. The real problem isn’t out there anyway, it’s inside. The real problem of sin is within each of us, and ultimately we cannot remove it. Yet God counts us as righteous, giving each of us the credit for the sinless life lived by Jesus Christ.
Where ever you are in the world, you are surronded by people that need to hear the gospel. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” You are a sinner, I am a sinner, your church pastor is a sinner, Billy Graham is a sinner, and so forth. God forgives us of our sin when we ask. Ask to be forgiven, and then accept that it is God’s will and desire to do so. Don’t beat yourself down with guilt, thank him for forgiveness; and then tell another. Spread the word that through faith in Jesus Christ, any and everyone can receive the gift of salvation.
You must seek God’s will in your life. Ask him to lead and guide you. But don’t give in to self loathing, guilt or fear. Those are tools the devil uses to shut you up. If you’re afraid, he has already won. Stand up boldly, and proclaim the salvation that only comes through Jesus Christ. He has already won the victory over sin, don’t continue to be defeated by it.