The Lesson Of History

2 Peter 3:1 – This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:

2 Peter 3:2 – That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:

2 Peter 3:3 – Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,

2 Peter 3:4 – And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

2 Peter 3:5 – For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:

2 Peter 3:6 – Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:

2 Peter 3:7 – But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

Hello readers, recently I heard an age old saying which goes something like this… “those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” It’s a true saying when you think about it. Insanity is when you do something over and over again expecting a different result. This world is insane, they’re mad. They’ve been filled with madness because they’ve been blinded by Satan. When you reject Jesus Christ, you’re actually mad, because you’re rejecting truth, life, and light. You’ll only ever be in your right mind when you repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

But I thought that saying was pretty profound, and thought about it some more. We’d do well to learn from history, because if we don’t, we’re just going to repeat the same mistakes. Solomon wrote a book about his mistakes, yet we don’t learn from that. How many people repeat his formula for his life. Solomon had everything, tried everything, did everything… without God. And at the end it was waste. Vanity and vexation of spirit.

The Bible is written so that we can learn, so we can receive instruction, so we can avoid things and do things. We can avoid wasting our life. We can avoid hell. We can find truth, we can overcome at judgment. We can live a future proof life just by believing God’s word. We can have wisdom and get understanding and knowledge as we read the Bible and God ministers his truth and his Spirit to us.

But then I realized that history is already teaching us a lesson. Because history already has an answer for the statement. The lesson of history is that we don’t learn from history. History shows us that we don’t learn from history. We repeat all the same madness over and over again. Humans need light, and without Jesus Christ, you don’t have light. You’re in darkness, and you’re stumbling in darkness, and you don’t know what you’re stumbling at.

If you read the Bible, you see a nation, God’s nation, who never learned from history. You cannot read the Old Testament and not be struck by how round and round in circles the nation of Israel went. Israel would start out good, then forget God, reject and forsake his word, and go into sin and wickedness, God would send judgment, they’d repent, he’d deliver them… and we would be back to them starting out good. They’d inevitably go back into apathy and compromise and moral decay and sin… they were only ever one generation from failure.

Perhaps one of the best examples of not learning from history is a guy called Belshazzar in Daniel 5. Belshazzar didn’t learn from his father (we read about his father in the previous chapters), and he spurned the lessons of the God his father had come to know. Think of all Nebuchadnezzar’s recorded experiences in life, he certainly learned the hard way about God. And his son threw all that away, all those advances made in their family toward truth thrown away by a spoilt, selfish, arrogant, conceited and deceived son. He cost his nation the kingdom with his utter stupidity.

Belshazzar had all of history to reference, and not just any history, but family history, his father and what his father learnt and the God his father came to worship and serve and humble himself before… and he threw it away. It’s amazing. We truly don’t learn from history. Are we that different from Belshazzar? Think of all the godly men who have gone before, maybe your father, or maybe a grandparent, the fathers of the Bible… people that found the truth and walked in it and handed it on… only for the next generation to throw it away thinking they knew better. How arrogant and proud we are. How short sighted, how foolish, how stupid. We’re like that foolish young man who went by the strange woman’s house and like an ox to the slaughter he got talked into sin with her. He had no foresight, no wisdom, no perspective, no understanding.

We read about Rehoboam, he went with the counsel of the young men he’d grown up with and he made stupid decisions which divided the kingdom of Israel. He had the wisdom and knowledge at his disposal, aged and wise men who knew history, who were capable of giving him sound advice for how to rule Israel. But he forsook the wise counsel of the old men in exchange for the new, cool, edgy ideas of the young guys. Just because you’ve grown up thinking sin is ok, it’s still not ok. It doesn’t matter where you’ve grown up, who you’ve grown up with, there is still the standard of God’s word and right and wrong.

But how true the principle found in Rehoboam’s decision making was. He forsook the counsel of the old men, people who had lived longer than he, who had history behind them. There’s a lot of old proven stuff that we’ve forsaken. From raising children, to choosing and marrying a spouse, to what we do and don’t do with our lives, to what we live for, to how we live and speak and act, to how we dress and behave ourselves… from how we govern the country, from what policies and legislation is right for a free and prosperous nation… we’ve got to not just rejecting, but despising the old ways. The old way was that sodomy is an abomination to God, but nah we’ve rejected that, we despise that old judgmental intolerant Bible stuff. We’ve rejected the old marriage is between a man and a woman and sex belongs only in a covenant relationship. We’ve rejected all that old out of date stuff.

People have forsaken the old paths, the old Bible… they’ve traded it in for the new and cool stuff. Rehoboam had wise aged advisers who knew a thing or two about actions and consequences, who had more perspective and could see a bit further back and a bit further forward than him… and he threw it away in his short sighted and dumb stupidity. And he was one generation removed from Solomon, whom God gave wisdom! He had a father who had wisdom, and the son has ZERO wisdom. Think about all his dad learnt and wrote about, and Rehoboam threw away the lesson of history and proved that the lesson of history is that we don’t learn from history.

Just think about it. If you really learnt from history, you wouldn’t be living the way you were living. If you truly believed in the lesson’s of Noah’s flood and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah… would you really be pursuing a vain life of sin knowing that these stories are recorded as examples and warnings to us not to follow in the footsteps of Christ rejecting sinners? History is a testament to God… he is who he says he is and he’s done what he’s said he’s done, and will do what he’s said he will do.

Why do you think Noah’s flood is so attacked and disputed, because people don’t want it to be true. There’s  evidence everywhere for it , so much so in 2 Peter 3, our text verses, the Bible says they are willingly ignorant. They’re ignorant because they want to be ignorant. It’s a choice. History the way it really happened is being changed everywhere today … why? Because if you change the history, you change history’s lessons. So much history that we are told is not true, and it has an atheistic ungodly spin on it. This world’s history, this world’s narrative of history, it’s just as big a lie as that Amalekite who came to David in 2 Samuel 1 with his little story about how Saul died. He held forth Saul’s s crown and bracelet as if it verify his lies. So many people have been sold a lie, and they’ve bought it… they’ve believed the “evidence”… but they’ve believed a lie. The Bible says that the simple believeth every word, but the prudent man looketh well to his going.

The Bible is a book of history… it covers the beginning and the end  and everything in between. It’s the book of life! You don’t know more than God. You weren’t around at creation, in the garden of Eden, you weren’t there in Noah’s flood, you weren’t there through all of history, you’ve popped up on the planet at the end of days and now you’re an expert on every issue of life? God sees all of human history at once, we literally know nothing, and yet we think we know more than God.

We tend to think we are the smartest, brightest people to have ever walked the planet. But the fact is, we are not. There is a generation, the Bible says, that is wise in their own eyes.  The wisdom of the generation we are in lies only in their own eyes. They’re not actually wise, they just think they are. They think they’re smart. That’s because they’ve been told they’re smart… and in thinking they’re free thinking, in thinking they know everything… they actually know nothing. You have no capacity to see anything for what it truly is without the light of Jesus Christ to illuminate your vision and understanding. People don’t see what’s going on in this world, they see nothing, because they’re blinded and under the power of Satan… Satan who is a slave owner. Satan deals in slaves, his subjects are not free citizens. You live a life of sin and think you’re free, you’re not… you’re owned by Satan… and you answer to your master every time.

The start of the last chapter we have from Peter begins with this…

2 Peter 3:1 – This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:

Remembering things may just stir up your mind. We need our stagnant minds stirred up. We can become stagnant in life and in our thinking. Getting in God’s word stirs you up and purifies you. How can we get a pure mind in this evil world? Getting in the Bible, letting it wash over your soul.

When you start remembering what the Bible said, I’ll stir up your mind. There are things we have to remember to help guide our thinking and our lives. Remember what God did to that old world, he judged sin… and he saved the man and his family who believed his word. We really aren’t in that different a time. A flood may not be coming… but fire certainly is… just how fire proof is your life you’re living?

The wicked make a great error in living like there is no God and no judgment. What an error to disregard the warning of God’s word. What an even greater error for a Christian to also think and live this way. They don’t think God’s word is true, but history shows us God is who he says he is and does what he says he will do. The wicked walk in willful ignorance of truth. Just because they didn’t believe a flood was coming… it didn’t change the fact the flood was coming. You can believe whatever you want to justify and excuse your sin… but none of that changes the truth of God’s word. History provides stark reminder after stark reminder of the error of the wicked in disregarding God’s word, the examples of God’s judgment and thinking they’ll do what they want and God won’t do anything about it ever. History is given to us so we don’t need to make such a fundamental error with our lives… yet we do.

Peter draws on history through both his epistles, particularly referencing Noah’s flood. Why are we told to remember? So that we learn from what has gone before. That’s why we have the Bible given to us. It’s to teach us what is truth, what to believe about God and all issues of life, to reprove and correct and instruct us. The Bible is a wealth of knowledge, but when our nation and people in it have disregarded the Bible, they’ve surrendered their true wealth. Hezekiah showed some Babylonians’ his wealth… and he’d lose it all later on. You have to protect the wealth of knowledge in the Bible that has been given you. Satan’s after that wealth just like the king of Jericho was after those spies that had lodged in Rahab’s house.

One of the greatest lies the devil sells us is that we will make it where everyone else hasn’t. It’ll be different to me! That Bible doesn’t apply to me! We go into sin thinking somehow our end will be different from those before us. It never is, we aren’t the exception to the rule. 2 Peter 2 is telling you that. God didn’t spare the angels, he didn’t spare the old world, he didn’t spare Sodom… will he spare you?

Another great lie of the devil is that we are doing something new, that’s the narrative of evolution, and the narrative of society… we are so much more advanced that our ancestors. Kids grow up thinking they’re smarter than their parents. Oh they’re old fashioned, they’re idiots. But there is no new thing, you know rebellion, wickedness, corruption and sin has been around since the start.

Many people tread a well worn path… that well worn path of ages past that is the broad road to destruction. Many there be that go in thereat Jesus said. What a thing for Christ to say! The Saviour, God in the flesh, the Judge, the Lord God, the most High, the Creator… saying MANY there be that go in thereat. You think you’ve found a new road, but you’ve just found the broad road that everyone else is on. The end is destruction, history tells you that. The error of the wicked, and yet you’ll make the same error even against all the wealth of history that warns you against it. God’s word is for you. We seem to develop this adversarial God’s a killjoy attitude to God… but he’s for us, his word is so that we can be forgiven, saved, know truth, and live joyful, peaceful, abundant, blessed… eternal lives. The end of this 2 Peter chapter says that God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. All these lessons of history are telling you God is full of grace and mercy and longsuffering… why reject him? Why choose sin and wickedness?

That life of sin and rejecting God’s word, you’ve seen how it’s worked out through history, generation after generation has made the error that God’s word instructed them against… and how can you walk on the well worn path and avoid it’s destination? The broad road leads to destruction, you think you can walk on it and find a different place though. The lesson of history is that we don’t learn from history. Our nation hasn’t learnt. We haven’t learnt. There is no learning in how we think and live and speak. We ignore all the history of the Bible. God is speaking out of the cloud of witnesses and we refuse him.

Peter talked about pure minds. Thinking on Noah’s flood might just purify your mind from that sin that you love. Mightn’t it? We need our minds purified by God’s word. What can cleanse our mind from all the filth and lies and rot but God’s word… clean, pure, running water. We need to get God’s word in our minds, God’s word is what we need to be mindful of. All this epistle is remembering, reminding and reinforcing truth. Peter said “knowing this”. We can know stuff, and actually know stuff. It’s not guesswork when you have God’s word… it’s truth, it carries the seal of God… the eternal word.

In the last days there will come scoffers. They’re people that debate, dispute, criticize and cast doubt on God’s word. They deny God’s word, they make fun of it, they belittle it. And if you are a believer, you’ll be a target for their scoffing. Scoffing carries with it contempt and ridicule. But what are these guys and their fancy words and arguments all about? Their own lusts. It’s amazing how people really just at the end of the day love their sin, their life is all about sin, and all their arguments arise from the fact they just want to do what they want to do. They’re not interested in the truth, and what’s right.

They say, things have always been going on like they are, God’s never done anything about anything. But they’re ignorant of Noah’s flood. God destroyed the old world. Oh you always say God’s coming, where is he? They’ve been saying that for centuries! Ever heard that? You know, the only reason we aren’t all ash is because God is longsuffering, he’s giving people time to repent… because eternity is a long time once you’re dead isn’t it. All things continue as they were… well no that’s a lie… they haven’t. God destroyed the old world. Scoffers are liars… let God be true and every man a liar. People are willingly ignorant of history, because they are walking after their lusts. We have the history of Noah’s flood, and knowing that should realign our thinking and priorities in life. Save the lost, don’t live for this world, because everything’s going to be burned up… time is short.

What manner of person ought you to be in light of this history? That’s what Peter’s saying… now that you know the history… shouldn’t that affect your life here and now? We need our minds set straight… and that takes God’s word… that’s how we get the right mind about things. You’re not in your right mind rejecting truth, you’re in darkness and you’re stumbling around. That’s why you don’t learn from history, and that’s why we don’t learn from history. History’s got a lesson for us, and it’s that we don’t learn from history. But that can be different from you, Peter was saying, learn from history, remember it, be assured of the God of that history, be assured he is who he says he is and will do what he said he would do. We have God’s word, our lives can be future proof just like Noah was. May we learn history’s lesson, may history’s lesson change our own lives today.


Joseph View All →

Hi, my name is Joseph Zadow. I am a 32 y/o Bible Blogger. I was new to blogging once! God’s word is the best thing that we can be given, and once we have it and know it for ourselves it is both a privilege and responsibility to bring it to others! We are blessed to be a blessing! I am a sinner (for sure!) saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ and I am a Lord Jesus Christ follower. He is faithful even though I rarely am to him. I believe the Bible is the word of God, and stake my life on it. My destination is heaven. As they say, I’m just a passin’ through this world… although most of the time it’s more like hangin’ by a thread in Jericho! I love playing sports – particularly cricket… I currently work on an orchard and a side hobby business of mine is growing vegetables etc – they are good for you! I love writing. Always happy to talk, so feel free to leave a comment. You can read more about me and my blog here – :)

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