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Remember the past for confidence of the eternal future!

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How do you think about the past?
(i) Some people don’t want to remember the past. They have suffered tremendous loss and the past just has too many bad memories.
(ii) Some people don’t want to leave the past. They are trying to re-live the past. They want to return to the 1950’s when things were simpler.
Paul said in
Philippians 3:13 KJV 1900
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
Did Paul mean that he just mentally forgot all of the things in the past? I suppose not, since we see him recounting his testimony twice in the book of Acts and referencing it in two other of his epistles (Galatians & I Timothy).
One of the special things that the Holy Spirit did was that He gave to Israel songs to remind Israel of their past. Some of the songs were jubilant. Some of the songs were penitential. The song in question this evening is a song that is one of “degrees - song of ascents”.
A song of ascents is one that Israel would have sung when they would have been journeying up to Jerusalem or to Mount Zion. From any direction, as a traveler would come to Jerusalem, he or she would be ascending.
This particular songs have three stanzas:
Stanza #1 -
Stanza #2 -
Stanza #3 -
Past -> Future
Within this song, there is a reference to a wonderful happening of the past, and it is the fact of the historical event that gives hope for the future.
It was a song that was continually showing what had happened so that people would believe what was going to happen.
It was a song that taught history with the hopes of encouraging faith for continuity.
This is not an uncommon in the scriptures.
For example:
Exodus 19:4 KJV 1900
Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.
Joshua 1:5 KJV 1900
There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
This is also not far from our normal life experiences. Typically when we have experienced or witnessed something, it leads us to anticipate something.
For example:
Today, I was being tail-gated by an older man. Because of this, I was continually concerned that he was going to rear-end my vehicle.
You see, when I was 18 years old, a man rear-ended my vehicle. After my vehicle was replaced, that experienced caused me and still causes me to pay closer attention to vehicles behind me with anticipation.
Now that is a negative example. Here is a positive one:
When a friend took me out hunting for my first experience, I was excited even though I had not killed anything. The first year I went out, I shot two deer. That experience gave me hope and anticipation for the subsequent years.
This particular song reminds Israel how the past gave them confidence for the future, and they sang this song as they would ascent to Jerusalem.
Proposition:
And so, it would do us well to take note this evening that what God has done in the past is a rock solid foundation for what He is going to do in the future.
This means that you don’t have to wait for any more signs in your life right now.
This means that you don’t have to wonder if God is really going to come through on what he has said.
This is one of the ploys of the mockers of the last days.
2 Peter 3:3–4 KJV 1900
Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 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.
Beloved, rest assured in what God has done as evidence of what God will do.

I. Notice a past that was plagued by affliction & desire ()

(i) David’s life was one of affliction but here the passage seems to be indicating his humility.
(ii) The humility in reference is found in - it was David’s desire to build a house for the Lord.
This song would remind Israel of the humility and desire of David. This desire was for the very presence of the Lord to have a place among the people of God in a house.
The humility is seen in David’s comparison. David dwelled in a nice house, but God in a tent.
The humility is seen in David’s calling God - Almighty.
It was a
Application:
It would do us well to recall that the Lord delights in humility.
2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV 1900
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

II. Notice the joy of the past was because of the coming presence of the Lord ()

(i) Ephratah is the location where Kirjath-jearim is located - It is here for 20 years
(ii) The joy was that the presence of the Lord was brought to dwell among his people -
This was the real pleasure. It was that the mighty God would dwell among his people.
This song was a reminder of the historical happenings of how God’s presence in the ark of the covenant came to dwell among his people.
It was a historical reminder of what was the source of their joy.
Application:
Whether you know it or not, it is the presence of God that men both desire and desperately need. Nicodemus was a religious man but sensed that God was not with him.
Paul told the superstitious people in Athens that the God they were searching for was not far from them.
Such is the case, look at how people pursue their idols. See how they worship their accomplishments. Notice how they extend themselves for more. What they desire and desperately need is the presence of the Lord.

III. Notice that the hope of the eternal future is based on God’s oath ()

(i) God’s oath to David (v. 11 - key verse)
When God told David not to build, God responded with an oath. God would set upon the throne of David someone from his very lineage.
(ii) God’s oath included an eternal view (v. 13 - 14)
2 Samuel 7:16 KJV 1900
And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.
This song was a reminder of David’s humility and desire.
This song was a reminder of the historic manner in which God’s presence came to dwell among his people.
This song was a reminder of an everlasting kingdom with the eternal presence of God.
For Israel, it was not just what God had done in the past; but Israel’s confidence was founded upon what God has said. He made an oath.
This oath was confirmed in the very Person of Jesus Christ.
Acts 2:29–30 KJV 1900
Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;
(1) David was a prophet
(2) God has sworn
(3) Christ had to be of the physical lineage of David (both Joseph and Mary were)
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