Do you learn from your mistakes, or do you repeat them?
In Daniel 4:10-13 (13-16) we have read about how God spoke to Nebuchadnezzar in a dream. The chapter narrates how the king, receiving a warning of judgement, got from Daniel an interpretation of this dream of warning with a counsel which should deliver him from that punishment. But he forgot the prophet's instruction and the doom beat him. Observe how Daniel uses the story of chapter four as a prophecy to king Belshazzar:
"Your Majesty, the Most High God gave your father Nebuchadnezzar sovereignty and greatness and glory and splendor. Because of the high position he gave him, all the nations and peoples of every language dreaded and feared him. Those the king wanted to put to death, he put to death; those he wanted to spare, he spared; those he wanted to promote, he promoted; and those he wanted to humble, he humbled"
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Do you learn from your mistakes, or from the mistakes of other ones?
In 1894 in Illinois, Mr. William Hooker received a patent because he invented an artefact that has become one of the most popular and effective means to have a mice-free home, if you don't have a cat. Probably you have seen it or maybe you have some:
For more than one hundred years people have catched mice with this thing, and it is produced by millions and used. Why haven't learnt mice that it is dangerous to touch that cheese? Maybe, they haven't seen a colleague being catched? Or don't they understand that, in the same way that the artifact got others, it will get them too?
Before laughing at the mice because of their poor intelligence, it is important that we consider how we, human beings created in God's image and likeness, get caught all the time in Satan's traps. It has been happening for a very, very long time. More that one hundred years. And it has happened to us, which have received from our Creator many more resources than those He gave to the mice. But we forget them and get caught by the evil one.
In the interpretation of the writing on the wall that Daniel gives to king Belshazzar, there is a whole instruction based on the story of Nebuchadnezzar's madness, that we read in chapter four. The king's dream is called by Daniel "the decree of the Most High", confirming this way that it's been God who comunicated His will to the king, as it happened in the second chapter of the book of Daniel, with the dream of a great image. But that Nebuchadnezzar sinned and got punished, and that Belshazzar commited even greater sins, shows us that they learned not much about God. The word of God to Belshazzar, which he should have been able to receive from Nebuchadnezzar's experience, was ignored by him. As his father defied God's sovereignty, he did it, too. The same error he could recognise and avoid, he commited.
Why did these two Babylonian kings got punished by God?
The word of God shows us that Nebuchadnezzar ignored Daniel's counsel and was punished, as he had been warned. Belshazzar forgot Nebuchadnezzar's story, and was caught also in Satan's trap.
Why do we commit the same errors all the time? Maybe God doesn't talk to us, and we are without help in this earth? Or maybe God does talk to us, but we forget His words and do not put them to work?
One of the most used and studied Scriptures, which have most heaviliy influenced humankind, is the letter of the apostle Paul to the Romans. The exposition of Christian doctrine that Paul gives us there has given us light for many centuries, and is the foundation of the Reformation, which lead the church to put the Scripture again as the basis for our faith. Observe how Paul shows us in this Scripture four ways in which God talks to us:
1 - GOD SPEAKS THROUGH OUR CONSCIENCE
"Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them"
Even without knowing the Scriptures, God gave us the ability to define what is good and what is evil, and in this way, to obey His laws even without knowing them. It is possible to "do by nature things required by the law", and even persons who have never read the Scripture know that it is not good to steal or to betray their spouse (to commit adultery)
But we have so miserably failed in hearing God's voice in our conscience! The word of God tells us about a "seared conscience" (1 Timothy 4:1-5) which lead people to be hypocritical liars, and to call good for evil and evil for good. And also about people which don't give ear to their conscience, because "their deeds are evil" and they choose evil and don't repent from their deeds (John 3:19)
2 - GOD SPEAKS THROUGH THE SCRIPTURE
"For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope"
The word of God was given to us so that we get knowledge about our Creator and about the plan He has for us, so that we will walk under His guidance in our lives, and be save in eternity. If it is a commandment, a warning, a promise, a prophecy, an illustration, EVERYTHING we find written in the Scripture is written "to teach us".
But we have also erred miserably in hearing God's voice from the Scriptures! The Reformation in the church was born because of the infection brought by doctrines of demons, without some biblical base. The charismatic movement was also born because even "biblical" Christians created a "biblical" doctrine moulding the Bible according to our desires, instead of conforming ourselves to God's desire. It is not about reading and keeping the Scriptures; it is also to do it by following the lead of the Spirit of God.
3 - GOD SPEAKS THROUGH THE CREATION
"For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse"
Paul says clearly that "since the Creation of the world", the things that "has been made" should be for us as a testimony about God's eternal power, and about God's divine nature. We live in a world which is perfectly conceived, where all creatures live together and find their habitat and their food, everyone of them adapted even to the most weird situations. Even more, they got the ability to evolve between certain limits to adapt to environmental or circunstancial changes.
But even so, we have also failed miserably in hearing God's voice through Creation! From 1859, the year when "On the origin of species" saw the light, we have been entangled in a controversy which has caused to ban from schools tha concept of "creation" and adopt the one of "evolution", denying in this way the existence of a Creator. To speak about this theme could take a whole encyclopedia, that's why we don't do it in this message. But we heartily recommend a site which will give you precious information about it, "http://www.reasons.org/explore/topic/evolution". You can also see the NOTE nr 1 at the end.
4 - GOD SPEAKS THROUGH HISTORY
"Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off"
This verse is in a special context: the history of God dealing with Israel. It speaks to the Roman believers so that they consider how God punished even those who are His people, because of their sin. It is a warning for us non-Jews who have become God's people through Jesus Christ.
Because God speaks through history, Daniel used the story of Nebuchadnezzar to tell Belshazzar that he didn't have an excuse for his orgy, drinking, desecration and idolatry, because he had Nebuchadnezzar's example to learn how to respect God. And because God speaks through history, the Jewish people celebrate every year special occasions in which God intervened to save them (see NOTE nr. 2 at the end) In every one of these celebrations they are confirming their gratitude to God, the one who rescued them from slavery in Egypt and lead them to the promised land, the same God who has destined a place in eternity to them. There is a reason that a big part of the Bible is history: God wants to speak through history.
On September 1st, 1939, the Nazis under Adolf Hitler command invaded Poland. It was the beginning of the most devastating war which mankind has seen, causing an estimation of 70 millions casualties, 6 millions Jews among them. The singularity in the case of the Jews is that they were not involved in war, because most of them were not in the military fighting. Most of them were civilians and died as a result of a Nazi policy of extermination of the Jewish race. Non coordination, non response and non decision among the rest of nations, made possible for Hitler to conquer almost all Europe in a "lightning war". It is considered one of the greatest political mistakes of all times, because the beligerant conquering spirit of the Nazis and their hatred against Jews were known before they conquered Poland. Their dream of world dominion and the persecution of Jews and other "inferior races" was no special secret.
We live in times when some new "Nazis" are arising, and planning a war to kill all Jews and, after them, all Christians in the world. If you think, "it is not my problem, I'm not a Christian", let me tell you that for these murderers, "Christian" is everyone who lives in the "Christian" nations which have become "secular"; they don't make a difference. Whereas these new "conquerers of the world" are preparing their war, almost all nations continue in the same condition of indifference which allowed Hitler to get surprising results in a very short time, and caused that the war was more painful and deadly. We are ignoring a lesson of history we should have learnt.
SHALL WE FAIL MISERABLY AGAIN IN LISTENING GOD'S VOICE?
It is our prayer that it shall not be that way. We pray that the God of heaven give a spirit of revelation and wisdom to the leaders of this world, elected and enthroned in order to PROTECT their nations from every menace or disastrous event. And we pray that the Lord keep Israel save from the fury and hatred of their enemies, and also from the betrayal and indifference of their "friends".
If you have not yet received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, let me tell you: you don't have to commit the same mistakes all the time, during your whole lifetime! The Lord came to give us life, so that we have it to the full. His plans for us are blessing, protection and salvation. Receive Jesus today!
In the love of Christ, your brother
PS. Jesus is coming soon!
1) On the controversy "creation-evolution"
Some important points which have to be considered are these:
* The theory of evolution sustains that life came from inorganic matter. Through experimentation, this has been tried to reproduce since Darwin times, without a result. The simplest living being is impossible to understand if we deny that it was God who created it. Let me tell you why.
Living creatures need "proteins", or amino acid chains. To imagine how complex a protein can be, let me give you the simplest molecule of an amino acid, glycine (its formula is NH2CH2COOH) This is the littlest "thing" you can find in organic chemistry. Observe that it contains nitrogen, hydrogen and carbon, arranged in certain order. This coumpound, which you can see is not very simple, is the simplest of the amino acids, and a protein is a chain of amino acids.
How did glycine appear in an world wiithout life, "by chance"?
How did the other more complex amino acids appear by chance, too?
How did those amino acids collaborated to form a protein?
How did those different proteins - which had appeared by chance from the union and arrangement of twenty amino acids, more complex than glycine - specialize themselves to form a membrane, ribosomes and the other components of a procaryote cell? - "procaryote" means a cell without nucleus
If we were capable to answer all these questions with evidence, ONLY THEN should we say SCIENTIFICALLY that the least bacteria could be formed without God's intervention. Because real science is based on observation and study of facts, and from this observation and study, it establishes principles.
The simplest living organisms are unicellular ones (as the procaryote cells) And their formation from nitrogen, carbon and hydrogen (with many other elements) implies the phases we saw in the questions above. All these processes had to take place "by chance" in order to form the simplest bacteria.
The cause of the existence of life is not some "evolution" from inorganic matter. Because the formation of the simplest bacteria "by chance" is virtually impossible. We believers are accused of being "irrational". But it is more rational to believe in God, than to believe that life appeared on earth because some chemical elements collaborated to form amino acids, then the amino acids collaborated to form proteins, then those proteins collaborated to form all the parts of a cell, and the cell parts collaborated to form a cell. Amino acids and proteins do not think. And even less, they plan and execute the design and formation of that perfectly functioning organism which is a bacteria.
* Evolution sustains that "macroevolution" exists. Let me tell you about the difference between "micro" and "macro"-evolution. Microevolution is a scientifically proven fact. It means that the living beings are capable to adapt to changing situations, changing themselves. But "macroevolution" means that through many "microchanges", some dinosaurs became fowls, some terrestrial quadrupeds - which no one has ever found - became whales, and some primates, human beings. This kind of evolution has been never scientifically proven, and the contrary is in fact which is proven. Scientists have found millions and millions of fossils, which show us that some species existed on earth and they are now extint. But no one has found a fossile of "species in a state of transformation to other ones". There is a reason for this: the living beings transmit their features to their descendants through DNA - something that Darwin never knew.
The DNA which we transmit the the next generation is responsible to secure that a mare, from her union with a horse, shall give birth to a foal - and not to a crocodile - a lioness, from her union with a lion, shall give birth to a cub - not a foal - and a woman, from her union with a man, shall give birth to a baby. The chromosome theory of inheritance, which explains how it happens, was postulated in 1902, 20 years after Darwin's death. Even in Darwin's lifetime, the work of the Austrian scientist Gregor Mendel (aka "father of genetics") denied macroevolution. But Darwin ignored this, too.
A feature which we have to know about Darwin's theory, and which causes its "scientific" quality to fail, is that he DELIBERATELY wanted to show that his theory made creation false, with the implication that no God created life. This transforms a "theory" - something "scientific" - in a "doctrine" - something political or religious. When genetics appeared, darwinism was already a "new religion" which atheists had to defend with all possible means, and the "scientists" explained macroevolution because of "mutations". Obviously, it is impossible to observe through real scientific experimentation the kind of mutations which made birds from dinosaurs. But to "proclame this principle" was necessary in order to confirm that there's no God. Darwinism, that is taught in our schools as a "scientific true", is the theory of a man who was 100% ignorant about genetics, and who wanted to deny God's existence.
In "http://www.reasons.org/explore/topic/evolution" you'll find mountains of SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE supporting creation, and about why it is not right to call biblical creation a "myth" and darwinism a "scientific true".
2) JEWISH CELEBRATIONS; THEIR REASON
PÉSAKH - "Passover" corresponds to Easter. In this feast they celebrate how the Hebrew people was delivered from the captivity in Egypt.
SHAVUÓT - "Feast of Weeks" corresponds to our Pentecost. In Shavuót they celebrate how God gave Moses the Law, in mount Sinai.
SUKKÓT - "Feast of Booths" is celebrated between september and octuber (from 15 to 23 Tishrei, the 7th month in the biblical Hebrew calendar) They remember when the people was in the desert, on their way to the promised land.
HANUKKÁH - "Festival of Lights" is celebrated in December (corresponding with Advent and Christmas time) and is about the deliverance of the Jewish people from the Seleucid Empire, when the Greeks were defeated in the Maccabean revolt. The Hebrew datum is 25 Kislev (the 9th month in the biblical Hebrew calendar)
PURÍM - "Lots" is celebrated on Adár 14th (Adár is the 12th month in the biblical Hebrew calendar) It is in remembrance of the deliverance of the Jewish People from a genocide during the Persian rule, a story we know about from the book of Esther in the Bible.
Except Hanukkah, all celebrations have a Biblical reason. The story which is celebrated in Hanukkah is found in the books of I, II Maccabees.