Your past can be at peace
Matthew 4:24 (KJV) “And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.”
Today I want to talk to you about torments. Some years ago I read a headline that said, “The thorns we reap are often from the tree we did not plant.” A whole lot of people are tormented by something that happened in the past. Often the torment was not of their own doings. Jesus delivers people from such torments.
The word “torment” refers to torturing pains in the mind and in the memory that hold a person in their grip like an eagle’s claw. The word “torment” also means being kept in prison by things that haunt a person, mental anguish, mental harassment, and mental pain. These torments can come from war memories, drug flashbacks, from a rape experience, from abuses, from frightening experiences, from molestation, from near accidents, etc. Torments can come from embarrassing deeds of your parents and from sinful deeds by other family members. Many in the Bible had to overcome embarrassing torments.
Genesis 41:51-52 (KJV) “And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father’s house. And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.”
These verses are part of Joseph’s story. Great truths are seen in the naming of his children. “Manasseh” was named as a reminder that “God made him to forget all the toil of his father’s house.” Notice the word “toil.” It refers to the weakening effect that torment had brought on him. There was worry and anxiety in his life. He loved his father Jacob very much and missed him and was concerned about his health. “Ephraim” was named as a reminder that God had caused Joseph “to be fruitful and prosperous in the land of his affliction.” As a young lad God favored Joseph with visions and anointing. His brothers plotted against him, put him into a pit, and then sold him. He was treated as an outcast, as a slave, as a dreamer, as a prisoner, and as an outsider. He was reaping thorns from a tree he did not plant. Joseph was determined to be faithful to God and to the purposes that God had for his life. He was not going to allow himself to be bitter and negative about the memories of what had happened. He had memories, but those memories were not ruling him. Joseph said, “God has made me to forget.” The word “forget” means “to remit and to remove forever.” God had removed his tormenting memories. He was free. He was happy. He was at peace.
Today there is a spirit that attacks believers through counseling that is called “post traumatic memory syndrome.” This counseling is rooted in human philosophy: “Man is essentially good. It’s the bad things that happen to us that are to blame for our problems.” This type of counsel puts suggestions and false ideas and accusations in the person’s mind. They leave out man’s responsibility for his actions. They use the power of recall, at times using hypnotism. When a negative thing is recalled, they blame that past thing for present problems. Good spiritual counseling is needed in the church. A good counselor is one who knows the Word of God and is anointed with wisdom to counsel. The Spirit of counsel rested on Jesus (Isaiah 11:2)
When a person repents of their sins and receives forgiveness from God, God forgets that person’s sin. Christ’s death on the cross satisfied the Father’s heart regarding sin. Jesus is the only one that can heal our memories from negative experiences of the past. Paul teaches that God gives us a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). If God has forgiven a person’s sin and forgotten it, then He can’t remember it any more. How can the devil dig up what God has forgotten (Isaiah 43:25)? The devil’s memory does not exceed God’s memory. The devil cannot put his hand under the precious blood of Jesus and dig out what the blood has covered forever. If believers who have been forgiven would keep their mouth shut, then the devil would not have the information to torment their mind. Too often we talk of what we used to do and listen to others talk of the things they used to do. By doing this we inform the devil and give him a weapon to use against us. He torments us by what we feed him. Many counselors dare to dig up what God has forgotten and forgiven. There are better things to talk about (Philippians 4:8). The Holy Spirit can speak healing and peace in less than a second. It does not take Him ten sessions to heal a person from bad memories. He is a Comforter, a divine Helper. The Holy Spirit can deal effectively with the things that cause people torments. He can also deal effectively with the things that attract the devil. God made Joseph to forget, remitting and removing forever all hurts. He was at peace with his past. God can make you to forget as well.
Matthew 1:6 (KJV) “David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias;”
The Spirit recorded this adulterous and murderous affair. That is the tormenting memory. I’m sure that Solomon’s brothers and sisters reminded him of it. Solomon reaped the thorns of the tree his father David had planted. David was not proud of what he had done. Psalm 51 records his repentance. David had feared losing the presence of the Spirit in his life. After the repentance both Solomon and Bathsheba were able to contribute to life in spite of past mistakes. Many people sit in church haunted and tormented in their minds because of some past forgiven sin. They will move from church to church whenever someone ever finds out and exposes their past conduct. God wants to heal your memory from such torments. King David asked the Lord, “Wash me thoroughly and cleanse me from sin.” He said, “Make me to hear joy and gladness.” His mind had been tormenting him after Nathan the prophet had exposed his sin. Many of the Corinthian believers had a shady past (1 Corinthians 6:9-11), but Paul said. “Ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” God had delivered them from sexual misconduct and thus from torments. God raised Solomon to reign. His name means “peaceable.” The prophet changed his name to Jedidiah, which means “God’s little darling” or “beloved of God.”
Ruth 1:1 (KJV) “Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem-judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons.”
Ruth’s father-in-law made a bad judgment call when he moved the family to Moab in a time of famine and unemployment. The name “Moab” stands for the sins and influences that came from a judgment call Lot had made after his escape out of Sodom (Genesis 19:29-38). In trying to save his family Ruth’s father-in-law lost it along with his two sons. The death of Naomi’s husband and her sons prompted Naomi and Ruth to return to Judah after hearing that the famine was over. They were reaping the thorns that Naomi’s husband had planted through lack of faith in the time of famine. The women feared the stigma and the torment of returning, but they were surprised when the whole city welcomed them back. They came back in humility and in faith, and God removed the torment. Ruth married Boaz, their kinsman redeemer, and ended up in the genealogy of Christ. A lot of folks are tormented by a bad judgment call that their parents made. The children reap from a tree that they did not plant. Don’t be tormented by a bad judgment call. If you have anger and bitterness, come to the Lord in humility and in faith, and you will find acceptance and release from the things that brought torment. God is a God of acceptance. Just ask apostle Paul: “To the praise of the glory His grace wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved.” (Ephesians 1:1-6)
1 Samuel 1:15, 2:1-5 “I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit…”
Hannah’s mental torment and sorrow was her inability to have children. Added to this torment was the taunting by her husband’s other wife. Hannah prayed, “Lord, remember me.” She was determined not to reap the thorns someone else was planting. With the promise that she would give her first born to the Lord, Hannah had faith in God’s ability to deliver her from torment. When her baby was born, she called his name Samuel, which means “salvation” or “deliverance.” Are you a woman of sorrow? Are you tormented because of things other than being “barren”? God can deliver you from your personal torments.
1 Chronicles 4:9-10 (KJV) “And Jabez was more honorable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow. And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.”
Jabez was born when his mother was going through a personal sorrow. He was born in adversity. He entered life with negatives all around him. He may have been an unwanted child, an unwanted pregnancy, an unplanned child. Jabez may have had a physical handicap as well. The words “more honorable” have a double meaning. It means “heavy and burdensome” in a bad sense and “rich and abounding and successful” in a good sense. There is both a positive and a negative meaning here. Jabez may have been injured at birth and may have had a spinal problem. He may have said, “I don’t like what’s happening to me.” Jabez was reaping the thorns of someone else’s planting. He asked God to enlarge his coast. The words “enlarge my coast” also have a positive and a negative meaning. On the negative side these words refer to handicap in movement. They mean “a twisted cord.” On the positive side these words mean, “I’m not going to be tormented by my handicap.” God heard his cry and delivered him. In his cry to God he asked God to keep him from evil and disaster. God can hear your cry as well.
2 Samuel 9:1-3 (KJV) “And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake? And there was of the house of Saul a servant whose name was Ziba. And when they had called him unto David, the king said unto him, Art thou Ziba? And he said, Thy servant is he. And the king said, is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may show the kindness of God unto him? And Ziba said unto the king, Jonathan hath yet a son, which is lame on his feet. And the king said unto him, Where is he? And Ziba said unto the king, Behold, he is in the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, in Lodebar.”
Mephibosheth was Jonathan’s son. He lived in sorrow and anger and torment. His name means “breathing shame.” His nurse had dropped him when he was a baby, and both feet were injured. He lost his grandfather Saul and his father Jonathan. He was reaping the thorns of someone else’s planting. Bitterness filled his spirit. He lived in a place called Lodebar, which means “nothing there,” a place of no pasture. Jonathan made David promise that he would look after Mephibosheth if something happened to him. David brought him to live in the palace. Many people both old and young are breathing shame and are living in nothing places. Jesus can give you abundant life in palace places. He knows your torments, and He invites you to live free from torment in the kingdom of God.
Judges 11:1-1-3 (KJV) “Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valour, and he was the son of a harlot: and Gilead begat Jephthah. And Gilead’s wife bare him sons; and his wife’s sons grew up, and they thrust out Jephthah, and said unto him, Thou shalt not inherit in our father’s house; for thou art the son of a strange woman. Then Jephthah fled from his brethren, and dwelt in the land of Tob: and there were gathered vain men to Jephthah, and went out with him.”
Jephthah was reaping the thorns his father had planted. He was left out of the inheritance. He was kicked off the property and publicly ostracized. He was humiliated, rejected, and also tormented by the fact that he was not wanted. He went to a place called Tob. This word means “good.” Are you tormented? Go in the direction of “good.” In Tob Jephthah molded other rejects into a mighty fighting force, and his reputation began to grow because of his successes in battle. When rejection from his family tormented him, he did not quit. He did not become evil; he became responsible. God has a way of turning the torment of rejection into triumph. The men of Ammon began to threaten Jephthah’s family back home. Gilead had no qualified captain so he sent for Jephthah and asked for help in his time of distress. Jephthah asked Gilead, “Why did you call upon me when you rejected me some years before?” Times of crisis change attitudes and points of view. Jephthah allowed no bitterness and accusations to rule him when the request was made. He left off personal offences. He took the initiative, led his men to battle, and won and became a judge in Israel. The character Jephthah developed over the years took precedence over the fact that he was born out of an adulterous affair. Are you tormented because of some sin that was of someone else’s planting? Run towards “good,” and let “good” be the door to your future. Put your faith in God’s ability to prosper you. You can make it on your own. You can succeed. God can turn rejection into acceptance. Jephthah did not run towards evil and plant trees for himself that would bring more bitter fruit. Jesus Christ came into this world to die for sins and to give forgiveness and healing. Jesus Christ heals people from torment.
God does not want you to be a captive to past abuses what ever they may be. The grace that God gave to Paul was strong enough to handle the thorns (2 Cor. 12:7-9). I’m sure Jephthah forgave his family that had wronged him. God made Joseph to forget all his hurts and torments. God has not changed.