Have you
ever noticed how many stories there are in the Bible?  There are so many life stories of those who
have gone before us.  We can read about many
people from beginning to end. There are stories of their families, battles,
triumphs and tragedies. Why has God given us these historical records to read
and review? Is it because He is a good story teller? Does He want to give us
something to read beside doctrine?
The answer
is that those records are there for us to learn from, to help us learn from
their mistakes. You may be familiar with the saying, “hindsight is 20/20” and
through the Bible; we have the benefit of seeing how decisions at one end of their
life have affected them at the other end of their life. Sometimes there were devastating
results, and other times there were glorious ones.
I want you to understand that your past can be of great benefit to you.
For example,
you can use the victories God has given you in the past to go on to another
victory in the future.  Previous
victories help you to face challenges with strength and confidence.
Take a
minute and recall the story of a young man named David.  David took his sling and told the King he would
go and fight Goliath.  Saul was not in
favor of this, as David was just a boy but David was very confident he would
prevail. He told King Saul about the time he saved one of his sheep from a lion
and a bear.  He said to King Saul:
“Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep,
and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, I went out
after it and struck it, and delivered the
lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed
it. Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised
Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the
living God.” Moreover David said, “The Lord,
who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will
deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and
the Lord be with you!”
1 Samuel 17:34-37 (NKJV)
Recalling the past was of great benefit to both David and ultimately to the nation
of Israel.
Recalling the past can also help us to handle trials in the present. As Job
grappled with the loss of all things and nearly all the people who he loved in
his life, he thought about the goodness of God.
Shall we indeed accept good from God, and
shall we not accept adversity?”
Job 2:10
Job was able to speak honestly to his wife in spite of the grief and
heartache because he remembered the goodness and the kindness of God.  He understood God’s faithfulness, and this carried
him through the otherwise unbearable trials of the present.
Thirdly, looking at the past helps us to forgive.
the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with
his servants. But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be
sold, with his wife and children. The servant therefore fell down before him,
saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, Then the master of that
servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.
“But that
servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred
denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ ‘Have patience
with me, and I will pay you all.’ And he would not, but went and threw him into
prison till he should pay the debt. Then his master, after he had
called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt
because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant,
just as I had pity on you?’ And his master was angry, and delivered him to the
torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.
Matthew 18:23-35
As we look
at this parable, we can see that along with mercy and grace there is justice. What we learn from this poor fellow’s
story is that we are to be forgiving; demonstrating
mercy as we have been shown mercy.  Those
who have trouble forgiving are not benefiting from their past.
A woman
who focuses on the good that has resulted by what God has done in her past is most
likely applying truth today out of love and thanksgiving.
So let me
ask you; how much do you apply the truth of what you know to your life?  Do you take Bible verses such as Romans 12:1-2
and practically apply them? Do you consider yourself a living sacrifice?
Are you
excited about growing and changing?  Does
progressive sanctification excite and energize you?  
I hope you are, because the degree to which
you are excited about growing and changing; that is the same extent to which
you are been a steward of your memories and the lessons of your past.