Does history repeat itself? I believe it does, and I hope to show you four ways to prove it.
Failing to Learn From History
When Hitler rose to power, the power corrupted him, as they say that absolute power corrupts absolutely. One of the earliest lessons from history he learned was that every time Germany fought a two-front war, they lost. So Hitler determined to never fight a two-front war. Apparently, he forgot this lesson and started a two-front war: one against the Allies and the other against Russia. By failing to learn from history, Hitler repeated it (fortunately for our sake). Many people today have a strong hunger for a world leader, but the risk is that the worse the economy gets, the more desperate the people become in choosing a leader. It has happened before, and it can happen again.
The Cycle of Israel
It seems that Israel was on a vicious cycle: prosperity, forgetting God, pagan idolatry, captivity, repentance, restoration to their land, obedience, and then back to prosperity to start the whole cycle over again (Judges 2:16-23). Instead of asking how they could be like that, I ask, “How am I like them?” When things are going well, my natural tendency is to drop off in prayer, Bible reading, and, finally, attention to obeying God’s commands. Some people cannot handle prosperity because it ends up handling them! When we are prospering, we tend to replace God with our money because money can be like a god in the sense that it seems to take care of every need and want. That’s when we may forget God.
The Rise and Fall
Just like the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, nations can rise to power and seem to be more dominant than before. The world has never been a more dangerous place. The mass migration of refugees who are mostly undocumented is changing the fabric of many nations. They are becoming more pluralistic and secular. Just as in the case with Rome, there was increasing corruption, violence, over-taxation and overspending, and it was the beginning of the end. Only a few nations today can claim that they have no debt. Nations rise and nations fall; usually they implode from within.
Knowing Your History
The quote “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” is from George Santayana, and this truth still rings true today. Perhaps the greatest reason we see history repeating itself is that we don’t know our history. It’s harder to forget when you know what’s happened before, but in many public schools today, history is being whittled down or phased out altogether. Today I see history repeating itself in that we’ve forgotten our history. For example, the Christian principles that this nation was founded upon were the Ten Commandments and the biblical teachings of Jesus. We are not only forgetting history–we are forgetting God.
History does have a way of repeating itself. We fail to learn from our past, our prosperity tends to make us forget God, we don’t recognize those things which caused other nations to implode from within, and we don’t really know our history well enough to learn from it.
May God richly bless you,
Pastor Jack Wellman
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