“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana
“Sometimes in life, your situation will keep repeating itself until you learn your lesson.” – Brigitte Nicole
Painful experiences can be great teachers. As a kid, I rarely wore shoes. It didn’t matter where we were or what we were doing, if I could get away without wearing shoes I would. I don’t know why I was so obsessed with being barefoot, but I was. Unfortunately, our house did not have a sticker free yard, and I was prone to getting stickers and thorns in my feet all the time. You think I would learn, but I was too thick-skulled to grow in knowledge about putting on footwear. After getting a sticker, I would...
...run (or limp) and hide because I knew what my mom would do. She would grab ahold of me and yank it out with the force of a polar bear, and that HURT. Sometimes I would go hours hiding out over a simple sticker in my foot, and on more than one occasion my mother would have to chase me down to get it out. You are likely drawing a mental image of this right now, me hobbling through the house and my poor mother tackling me and pinning my flailing legs to the ground. Despite my protest and physical attempts to escape, she would get the sticker. Rinse, wash, and repeat time and again, I was a very slow learner. Camping was even worse, because a live coal on a bare foot does not feel good, OUCH! The simple truth is that I could have avoided much of this pain if I had just learned my lesson the first time. No shoes = pain.
Before you get too judgmental of me, I bet there are some lessons you had to learn the hard way more than once. If we suffer but learn from our pain, than our agony seems worth it and understandable. When we have to learn the same painful lesson over and over again, those around us begin to wonder if we have a learning problem.
Israel had made a terrible sinful mistake by not trusting God and entering the Land of Promise. Moses in his great compassion and wisdom wants to make sure that they avoid that mistake again. He takes time in these first couple chapters to rehearse the wrong decisions of Israel and the consequences that followed. They were strict and harsh consequences, and Moses didn’t want this generation to have to suffer through them. The blessings of the Land were right before them, and they only had to act in faith.
Today, take some time to remember some painful lessons you have had to learn in your life. Take note of the principle and truth you learned through the discomfort. What consequences came your way because of your bad decision? If you could go back and do it over, what would you change? You cannot alter the past, but this exercise can help you make better choices moving forward.
Another great thing you can do today is look for opportunities to show others the lessons you have learned without them having to experience the pain. Someone wisely said that you don’t have to jump off a bridge to know it is not a good idea; all you have to do is see the consequences of the poor sap that did jump. Be willing to share your experiences with others, and learn from the wisdom of another. You can be spared heartache by learning lessons others can teach you.
Daily Scripture Reading
Deuteronomy 1 - 2
“Behold, I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed after them.”