Have you ever noticed how much today is influenced by yesterday? The close observer of history is familiar with the repetitive nature of man and world events. Lessons that were learned the hard way generations ago often have to be learned again today by the current generation. Experience is a great teacher, but often man is a poor student. For purposes of this writing, we shall look at the world in terms of three days: yesterday, today, and tomorrow. I shall too briefly discuss the idea that yesterday should serve as our guide for today and our map for the future as well as to bemoan the failures of men today to profit from the experiences of yesterday.
For example, look at the Middle East. Modern Israel hates the Palestinians and the Palestinians in turn hate Israel and we scarcely see a day pass without some news coverage about the violence that continues to destroy lives in that part of the world. Why is that? The answer is well known: yesterday. The Palestinians consider themselves the descendants of the ancient Canaanites and the Israelites of today consider themselves the descendants of David’s Israel of Old Testament fame. The Palestinians, like their forerunners, look at the Israelite occupation of “their” land as illegitimate and long to drive them out. Israel feels compelled to do now what God told their forefathers to do long ago—rid the Promised Land of the heathen. These things have their roots in yesterday, we deal today with them, and we fully expect that they will still be here tomorrow. The politics of yesterday are still with us today.
The religion of yesterday is still working today also. Of course, Truth should so operate, as it was fully delivered yesterday (cf. Jude 3), but sadly truth is not the only thing in religion to find its way from yesterday to today. Religious error is alive and well today. About three hundred years after the time of Jesus and the Apostles, men, with no authority from heaven, took it upon themselves to introduce the mechanical instrument of music into the worship of the church. As they had no authority yesterday when they introduced it, so they have no authority to allow it to stay today, but still it is there. The Bible was (and continues to be) clear: “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:9). If the teaching does not come from the Bible then it comes from men, and if our teaching comes from men and not God that teaching renders our worship vain. Still, we are dealing today with the religious error of yesterday and it would appear that we shall still be contending with it tomorrow.
Morals are not immune from such influence. Take the infamous Roe v. Wade decision of the Supreme Court. The Justices held that the “rights” of the woman over her own body are paramount—even if that means killing the life within the womb. The Bible recognizes no difference between the life that is in the womb and the young child. Our laws (or at least our courts) do see a difference. It is quite a difference—kill a two-year-old child and you will go to jail or maybe even get the death penalty; kill an unborn child and, provided you are a doctor and file the right papers, the government will pay you! A few men with lifetime appointments yesterday made a law forcing God-fearing American citizens to pay for the systematic murder of thousands of babies today and there is little hope for a better tomorrow.
I hope that some today we will learn the lessons from yesterday and thus work to make a better tomorrow.