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Personal Experience Or God’s Word, Which Is Our Standard? #3

SIH STSTA ICONShould we trust the Word based upon Biblical revelation?

 

Throughout our lifetime, we are called upon to choose between trusting the revelation of God’s Word or placing our faith in our life experiences.  Phrased another way, are we to make our life decisions based upon what our senses have revealed to us, or do we look to God’s Word as the only unquestionable  standard by which our life is to be directed?

This is study I would like us to come to an understanding of God’s will on this all important issue.  There will be three parts to our study for us:

1.  Should we trust the Word when we lack life experiences?

2.  Should we trust the Word instead of our life experiences?

3.  Should we trust the Word based upon Biblical revelation?

THE SCRIPTURES:

 

And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,  When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Shew a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast [it] before Pharaoh, [and] it shall become a serpent.  And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the LORD had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent.  Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments.  For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: (Exo 7:8-13)

And David said to Saul, Let no man’s heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine.  And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou [art but] a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.  And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:  And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered [it] out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught [him] by his beard, and smote him, and slew him.  Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God.  David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine.  And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee.    (1 Samuel 17:32-37)

 

Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they [are] ever with me.  I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies [are] my meditation.  I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.  (Psalms 119:98-100)

 

And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?  To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, [it is] because [there is] no light in them.   (Isaiah 8:19-20)

For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.  For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.  We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:  Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.  For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake [as they were] moved by the Holy Ghost.  (2 Peter 1:16-21)

 

 

THE STUDY:

In our study, so far, we have seen through the use of examples from the past, present, and events which are yet to take place, the need for us to use the Scriptures as the standard for us to judge all of our life experiences.   If we lack an experience, we are to trust the Word and follow our Lord. If, on the other hand, we have just had an experience, the Bible is the sole standard for the Christian to use to discern the true nature of that experience.  We are to never take either of these for granted.

Apart from the examples we have looked at, we will now being looking at declarations from Scripture that reveal to us the need to recognize that the Bible as the only authorized instrument we are to use to understand the character of our life experiences.  In 2 Peter 1:16-21, we find a shocking Scriptural truth that is taught to us.  If this truth is taken to heart, we will never again rely upon any life experience to reveal to us the will of God.

Note what Peter says:

For we have not followed cunningly devised fables,…”

Here, we find Peter emphasizing that the truths he has presented in his past teachings were not wisely constructed tales of fiction.  He was not lying to his readers in an attempt to mislead them.  This shows us that, even in the times of the writing of the NT, believers understood the existence of false teaching and the grave danger of accepting that teaching as truth.  Peter is assuring them that what they have heard from him was the truth of the Word.

“…when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.  For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.  And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount..”

What past teaching of the Apostles was Peter describing? It was the account of the transfiguration of Christ upon the mount.   Peter is assuring them of the truthfulness of this event.  He is assuring them that this great miracle was genuine and above question.

Now for the shocker….

 “…We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed,…”

Peter now makes the statement that, although this great miracle of the transfiguration of Christ was genuine, we have an even more stedfast, reliable and firm proof from God concerning the person of Christ.  What was that “more sure” standard?  It is the “word of prophecy” (ie God’s Word).

Please understand what is being said.  The Word’s teachings on Christ were more reliable revelation about His person than the miracle of the Transfiguration.  Here, Peter has just placed the reliability of God’s Word above that of a known, proven, incomparable miracle performed by God Himself.

In my mind, if there was ever a life experience that could be relied upon, and used as a standard for truth about Christ’s person, it would be the divine miracle of the Transfiguration.  And yet, Peter clearly tells us that the truths found in God’s Word are “more sure”.

Folks, if there is ever a text that declares to us the need to use the standard of the Bible as the only standard for our judging our experiences of life, this is it.  It says what it says.  There is truly nothing that can be added to it.   And nothing can be taken away from it.

 

“…as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:…” 

The Word will shine in this sin-darkened world clearly revealing the true nature of the events taking place around us.  This role of the Word will continue on until Christ comes back, He takes us home to be with Him, gives us a much greater understanding of truth, and removes us from the presence of sin.

Therefore, when we go home to be with the Lord, there will no longer be a need for us to discern between good and evil because we will no longer be in evil’s presence.

 

“…Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.  For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake [as they were] moved by the Holy Ghost.” 

Peter continues by teaching us that the Bible was given for all God’s people to use and understand.  It can be used by ANY OF HIS PEOPLE to discern good from evil, the things of God from the workings of Satan.  No one must rely upon the testimony of others to recognize truth from error.

Why is the Word so reliable and able to be understood by all believers?  It is because it was literally spoken by God and then penned by men through the intervention of the Holy Spirit.  The same God that spoke the Word, and the same Spirit that intervened in its writing, is the same One that indwells all believers and gives them an understanding of the truths of the Word.

But the truth of the Word does not stop there…

Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they [are] ever with me.  I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies [are] my meditation.  I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.  (Psalms 119:98-100)

When we come to understand the supreme place of importance that the Word of God should have in each of our lives, we can come to understand the need to use the Word as the ultimate standard of discernment.

Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies:

How is the Christian to gain wisdom for His life?  How is he to gain the victory over the enemies that will attempt to overcome him?   It is not through carefully examining the events that have taken place in his life… it is through coming to know, understand and apply the Word of God to his life.

 

for they [are] ever with me. 

It is this same Word, whose principles are written upon the tables of the Christian’s heart and mind, that forever become a part of his person.  With the Word in the Christian’s heart and the Holy Spirit applying God’s Word to his life, the Christian finds himself “thoroughly furnished unto all good works”.

 

I have more understanding than all my teachers:

The Christian, through a comprehensive understanding of God’s Word, finds they able to properly discern the proper response to any situation that may come his way.  The advice found in God’s Word transcends any counsel that he may receive from those who were active in his education and nurturing.

 

for thy testimonies [are] my meditation. 

By remembering and reflecting upon God’s Word throughout the day, the Christian will be in a constant state of readiness to face any obstacle that this fallen world may place before them.  Once again, there is nothing that can replace this role for God’s Word in our lives.

 

I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts. 

With the Word of God being the ultimate source for knowledge and instruction, we can rest assured there is nothing the men of old know that we cannot come to understand as well.  What a blessing it is to know that, in the Word, we have the complete set of truths that God has desired for mankind to possess.

The principles of the above verse are echoed throughout the pages of the Scriptures.  The Christian is to look to the Word for the knowledge, understanding and wisdom that they need for any circumstance that they will have in life.    Nothing more is needed, nor is anything else recommended as the source of all spiritual discernment for the Christian.

So what about our life’s experiences?  What role do they play in our lives?

We have seen in our previous studies that if we rely upon our life experiences to give us discernment of the will of God we can be very easily misled and suffer spiritual defeat.   However, in 1 Samuel 17: we find the perfect example of the proper role of our life experiences…

David, as a shepherd boy, is preparing to face the giant Philistine, Goliath. Many of us are familiar with this story, but if you are not, please take a moment to acquaint yourself with this historical event by reading the entire chapter of 1 Samuel 17:.

For our study please notice, the use of a life experience by David to convince King Saul, and prepare David’s own heart for the coming battle…

Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:  And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered [it] out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught [him] by his beard, and smote him, and slew him.  Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God.  David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. (1 Samuel 17:32-37)

David used a past life event to:

1. reinforce the principles of God’s Word.
For example, the principles of the Lord’s enabling of His servants,  the Lord’s accompanying of his servants, the Lord’s sovereignty and His grace, among many others are clearly displayed and reinforced in this event of David’s life.

2. find encouragement for service.
David, as he recalls all that his gracious Lord has done for Him , then finds inspiration and strength to fight the upcoming battle.  Many times, remembering previous God-given victories in life will encourage us to take further steps to obey the Lord.

3. persuade others of their need to obey God.
David uses these accounts to persuade Saul to trust the Lord in this situation, thus allowing David to face the giant Goliath.

Folks, please understand the basic principle that we find in this passage.  David’s life experiences only display and reinforce the truths that are presented in God’s Word.  There is NEVER a time when our experiences will lead us to truth from God that is not found in Word.

From time to time there are those who desire to proclaim “a new truth from God” that they claimed to have received from their life experience.  DO NOT LET THIS CLAIM LEAD US ASTRAY.  One of two things has actually taken place:

1.  Either it is actually an old truth found in His Word of which they are not aware

2.  or else, it is a principle that does not come from our Lord, but finds its origin in the darkness of the world.   In this case, it is a part of the Satanic plan to mislead us.

It is through comparison of their claim with God’s Word (as our ultimate standard) that will allow us to try the spirits and come to a genuine Godly discernment of their claim.

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world….We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth  (the doctrines of the Word Of God), and the spirit of error (the false teachings of the powers of darkness).   (1 John 4:1-6)

So, the next time we think upon a life experience ask ourselves the question, what principle(s) from God Word can I see being placed on display in this event?

The Lord allows us to experience many life events for the purpose of reinforcing a principle of the Word that we will need in our future service for Him.  Let us all be aware of His workings in our lives and learn from our life experiences the principles we have been given in His Word.  His truths of old are recorded within the pages of His Word and brought to life everyday of our life.  May we all recognize these truths in our day to day walk with Him.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

So what is our conclusion in this entire matter?  ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS use the Word of God as our standard to judge each, and every, life experience.

It does not matter how “miraculous” the event may be, how sensible the revelation might seem, or how wonderful the results of an action might seem, if they do not align themselves with the revealed Word of God (the 66 books of the Bible) they are to be set aside, ignored, and marked as false and dangerous.

If our experiences lead us to a conclusion that differs from God’s Word, this proves that we have misinterpreted our life experience or we facing an attempt to be misled of Satan.   There are never any exceptions to these principles.

The only value of our life experiences lies in their ability to remind us and reinforce in our minds the truths of God’s Word.  Any life experience that would lead us away from the truth of the Word can be proven to be positively dangerous for the Christian and a tool that Satan has used to try to cause us to be shipwrecked in service to our Lord.

One of the greatest examples of this type of human experience is found in the historical event being described Exodus 7:8-13.  In this event the servants of God, Moses and Aaron perform a genuine miracle to help persuade the Pharaoh to let the Israelites go and to prove they possessed genuine, Godly authority, but in response the servants of Pharaoh, through Satanic empowerment, performs the exact same counterfeit miracle that was meant to deceive and mislead …

And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,  When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Shew a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast [it] before Pharaoh, [and] it shall become a serpent.  And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the LORD had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent.  Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments.  For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: 

If our account ended with this event, there would be utter confusion and great harm would be done to the cause of Jehovah. This is because it would appear that Pharaoh, and his hosts, possessed as much power and authority as the servants of Almighty God.  It would cause confusion and conflict among the very nation of Israel itself.

But thanks to the Lord our account continues…

but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods.  And he hardened Pharaoh’s heart, that he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said. 

Here, we see the Lord actively intervening to undo the workings of the Satanic servants of Pharaoh.  By Aaron’s rod swallowing up the rods of the Egyptian magicians, the Lord was making it plain that He was the Ultimate Authority over all.

Just as the Lord gave the Israelites a way in which they could discern the true nature of the servants of Pharaoh, He has done the same thing for us in today’s time.  He has given to us the completed word of God which we can use as the standard to judge our every life experience….

And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?

To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, [it is] because [there is] no light in them.   (Isaiah 8:19-20)

May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth concerning this very important subject.

 

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May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

The Meaning Of Our Life

SIH STSTA ICONHave you ever asked yourself  “What is the purpose of my life?”  or perhaps, “How can I best use the time I have been given to live life on earth?”  For some, these questions are unanswerable… they struggle their entire lives trying to come to the true meaning and purpose of the life which we have been given.

Solomon was a great example of this type of person.  King Solomon lived his life in pursuit of the answers to these questions.  It was only in his old age, just prior to his death, that he came to an understanding of his purpose in life.  You can read about his pursuit for these answers in the book of Ecclesiastes.

However, for others, these answers are known from a young age… Solomon’s father, King David is an example of this type of person.

Do you desire to know the purpose of your life?  Do you want to know the most fulfilling way to live your life on earth?  Let’s spend some time to look at events in the lives of King Solomon and King David that will clearly explain these most sought after answers.

And then, finally, lets look at the writings of the Apostle Paul on the subject of the meaning of our lives.

THE SCRIPTURES:

Eccl 12:13-14 (KJV) Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this [is] the whole [duty] of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether [it be] good, or whether [it be] evil.

1Sam 17:45-47 (KJV)  Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.  This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.  And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle [is] the LORD’S, and he will give you into our hands.

Col 3:4 (KJV)   When Christ, [who is] our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

THE STUDY:

In our quest to find the true meaning of our lives, we will begin by studying the conclusion that Solomon drew from his life-long pursuit to find the purpose of his existence.

In the book of Ecclesiates, we find that Solomon, throughout his life, tried many different pursuits in an attempt to find self-satisfaction and contentment and purpose for his life.  He tried everything from the carnal pleasures of this world to wealth, education, the arts, political power, and other selfish pursuits, all to no avail.

Finally, in his old age, after living a wasted life seeking the truth, he finally came to an understanding of his life purpose.  Listen to what he came to in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14…

13) Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this [is] the whole [duty] of man.

14)For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether [it be] good, or whether [it be] evil.

The second example we will look at is King Solomon’s father, King David… David is described as a “man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22) and we see him living out his calling as a very young man facing the giant Goliath (1 Sam 17:).

It is of utmost importance that we understand the motive behind David’s actions in the Goliath incident.  Why did David choose to face Goliath when no one else in Israel was willing to face the giant?   For David it was an issue of God’s glory….

1 Samuel 17:45-47

45) Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.

46) This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.

47) And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle [is] the LORD’S, and he will give you into our hands.

David did not desire the praise of men, nor did he stand against Goliath to receive worldly wealth or power.  He only did it to honor, glorify, and obey his heavenly Father.  Bringing honor and glory to God was the purpose of David’s existence on earth.  He was simply doing what he had been called to do.  He was fulfilling God’s purpose for his life.

Just as his son Solomon, David came to the conclusion that putting His God’s will above his own, by seeking God’s will and glory in all things, was the reason he was living on earth.

Finally, let’s look at one verse that the Apostle Paul gives us in Colossians 3:4…

4) When Christ, [who is] our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

In this verse Paul makes 3 very important “points to ponder” in our pursuit of the the true meaning of our lives….

Point #1 –  “When Christ, who is our life” – We owe Christ our lives.

Paul here clearly declares that Christ, as God, is everything to us.  He is our Creator, our Savior and our Sustainer (Acts 17:28).  Without Him we truly are nothing (John 15:5).  We owe Him our very existence and both the physical and spiritual life that we possess.  This is why Paul affirms that living our lives for Him is simply our “reasonable service”, that we owe Him (Roms 12:1)

Point #2 – When Christ… shall appear” – Christ is coming again.

Paul is stating that we can be assured Christ will come back someday.  We are simply left on earth to “occupy” until He comes again.   What does it mean to “occupy” ?  Very simply we are to faithfully use the graces, gifts, talents and opportunities the Lord gives to us during our life on earth.  All of us must realize that we all will stand before the Lord someday and give an account of how we lived our lives on earth.  (Luke 19:12-27).

Point #3 – “ then shall ye also appear with him in glory. “ – If we are followers of Christ, we can be assured of spending our eternity with Him.

As we seek to fulfill our calling in life, by serving Him, we can rest assured that we have an eternity awaiting us.  Living a life that centers upon Christ, is one of the greatest proofs that we have truly been saved by His grace.

Remember, anyone who has been forgiven of their sins has become a “new creature in Christ”.  By this we mean that we have a new motive for living, a new set of desires within us and a new eternity awaiting us.

Realizing that the trials of this world are only for a fleeting moment is a great blessing to us all.   As we serve Him on earth, we are to always keep in mind we will be spending an eternity with Him.  What a glorious  promise this is to all of us….

John 14:1-3 (KJV)

1) Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

2) In my Father’s house are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

3) And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

In our study of the true purpose and meaning to life a few things becomes crystal clear… first, our purpose in life is to glorify and honor our Lord by living a life in submission to His will and ways.  Secondly, our Lord is coming again, to take an account of our life and the many opportunities and gifts He has given to us.  And finally, if Christ has become the Lord of our life, through our salvation, we can rest assured we will spend eternity in His presence.

For those who are saved, let us be encouraged as we study, understand, and act upon the knowledge we have been given of the purpose of our lives on earth.

For those who have never experienced His grace in their lives, let them come to a knowledge of the importance of submitting to His will and relying upon Christ for their salvation…  living a life apart from this is living a wasted, fruitless, and meaningless existence on earth.

If you have any questions about salvation, I have a tab available on my blog that gives in depth information on what salvation is and what you must do to be saved.  Please click on this link for more information about salvation.

If you continue to have questions or concerns about your salvation, find a Bible-believing church in your area.  The Pastor would be glad to share Christ and the way of salvation with you.   If you feel more comfortable communicating through email, you are always welcome to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.

May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth.

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Gonna Take A Sentimental Journey

SIH STSTA ICONThe song Sentimental Journey was performed by Vikki Carr in 1961 (when I was just 3 years old).  As I grew older, I remember this being one of the first songs that I ever heard.  It turned into a big hit for Doris Day four years later in 1965  …

What was the appeal of the song “Sentimental Journey”?  I think one area of appeal was the lyrics, describing an older person looking back on their life and remembering “the good old days”.  It is very common for those of us who are older to look back and remember our younger days.

Two of the most famous of all Bible characters, Job and David, began looking back to their younger lives when they both were facing very difficult circumstances.   Was this a good thing for them to do?  Is it a good thing for us to do in today’s time?  Let’s see what the Word of God teaches us concerning remembering our past.

THE SCRIPTURE:

Moreover Job continued his parable, and said, Oh that I were as in months past, as in the days when God preserved me; When his candle shined upon my head, and when by his light I walked through darkness; As I was in the days of my youth, when the secret of God was upon my tabernacle; When the Almighty was yet with me, when my children were about me; … But now they that are younger than I have me in derision, whose fathers I would have disdained to have set with the dogs of my flock. Yea, whereto might the strength of their hands profit me, in whom old age was perished? For want and famine they were solitary; fleeing into the wilderness in former time desolate and waste….

(Job 29:1-30:31)

And David said to Saul, Let no man’s heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine. And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth. And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God. David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee. (1Sa 17:32-37)

THE STUDY:

In our two Scripture references we find two men reminiscing over their life’s experiences:

Job 29:-30:

In the case of Job, this “looking back” led to greater depression and misery. As Job looked back at the “good old days” when God’s blessings were upon him (chapter 29), he did not use his past experiences to give him faith and strength to continue on.  Just the opposite was true.  He used these thoughts of the past to remind him how miserable he was in the current time (chapter 30:).  This led to a greater depression and lack of faith in his Lord.  In Job’s case, based on how he used his memories, looking back at his past blessings was not glorifying to his Lord.

Paul also knew of the danger of depression and anxiety when we reminisce, and he wrote in Phils 3:13-15:

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.

Paul knew that recalling past sins, or lost blessings, can lead to depression and anxiety as we seek to serve the Lord now.

1Sa 17:32-37

In the case of David, his “looking back” resulted in him being encouraged to take a greater step of faith in his service.  Note what he did… David was blessed with the opportunity to glorify his God by facing the giant Goliath.   But how could he ever win such a match?  Well, by looking back and remembering how the Lord had given him past victories over a lion and a bear, David realized the Lord could give him the victory over the giant Goliath as well.

This is why Moses instructed the Israelites to always remember the great deliverance the Lord gave to them when he brought them out of Egypt and delivered them to the Promised Land:

Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the LORD brought you out from this place: there shall no leavened bread be eaten. “(Exo 13:3)

Many times, when we remember the Lord’s past blessings, they can encourage and strengthen our faith as we face difficulties now.  One of my most used expressions is this… “If the Lord was able to do all that for me in the past; surely, He can deliver me from the troubles I face today.”

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For the Christian….

So to answer our previous question, “When facing difficult circumstances in our life is it a good thing to look back at our younger days?”  The answer is …. It can be a good thing, if it is done properly!

If we can look back with a heart of faith, remembering His blessings and using them to encourage us in our current situation… the Lord is greatly pleased.

If however, we are looking back in our flesh, using our remembrances as a hindrance to our future service… it will not help, it can even harm us.

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

Today is the day to begin your life’s walk with the Lord.  By trusting in Him and His work on the cross, you will be gaining a loving Heavenly Father who will be there to aid you in every situation of life you come to face.  Until you place your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, there is no reason to believe that you will be blessed or that you are securely in His care.   It is only when we humbly turn to Him in faith, trusting Him with our life that we can know that He is with us. (Roms 8:12-18)

For you looking back at your life, will only reflect a life that is filled with missed opportunities to serve the Lord.

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. (1Pe 5:6-7)

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

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May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”