“And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm..”  Deuteronomy 5:15

“Do you not yet understand or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up? Nor the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many large baskets you took up?”  Matthew 16:10

We have a very human habit of taking an idea that has merit to it and then taking it to an extreme that diminishes if not completely vacates the value of it. Take the aspect of looking to/living in the past.  It is said that we should not dwell in or on the past.  To the extent that is trying to instruct us that, by its very nature, we have no way to impact the past.  Thusly, if we live only in the triumphs of our past; we become stagnant and irrelevant to the present and our future is likewise bleak.  Additionally, if we live in the failures of our past then we approach any aspect of new with fear and trepidation making it difficult to impossible to move forward.  I can definitely see and agree with those points.

Now here’s where I say that we take those thoughts and in taking them to an extreme, go too far and not only negate the value that those concepts have but also end up disregarding the value that learning from the past can teach us.  In the current mantra to “live for the day”, most if not any thought about or analysis of the past is folly and a waste of time.  “The past is past”, so it is said and therefore no value or wisdom can be derived from considering it.  I will admit that while many don’t take this extreme view of looking at the past, there is far less understanding of the rich wisdom and counsel, let alone the spiritual confidence in the future, that can be derived from spiritually remembering the past.

Moses with spiritual insight from God, knew this very well.  The people of Israel had been wondering in the wilderness for 40 years due to their disobedience from God.  Now a new generation was preparing to go inherit the land promised to the them, the land “flowing with milk and honey”, from God.  So Moses was addressing all the people and recounting to them the Ten Commandments; the sacred law of God.  Yet Moses knew that even this new generation would not take automatically to these laws.  They needed to be reminded of just how powerful and mighty their God was how much He cared for them.  So Moses reminds them about how the people were slaves in Egypt and the mighty power God had shown in freeing them from the Egyptians.

Christ knew that sometimes we need to be reminded about things that have happened very recently in our own lives for us to gain understanding.  Jesus was warning them concerning the wrong doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees, about how even mixing a little of their teachings into Jesus teachings can ruin the whole thing.  He uses the example of leaven getting into bread dough and causing the whole loaf to rise.  However, the disciples thought Jesus was speaking literally and was rebuking them for not bringing bread.  In reminding the disciples concerning the very miracles they witnessed, they actually participated in, the feeding of the thousands with a few simple loaves and fish and the fact that there was plenty left over, Jesus was telling them He cares nothing about and can easily provide bread for the stomach as needed.  He’s telling the disciples to instead of fixating on bread, on things of this world, to fixate instead on spiritual things and righteousness.

Through these examples we can see that there can be much wisdom and discernment derived from looking into the past, both our recent past as well as a past more ancient.  In my own life, I can see the blessing of God’s Grace in keeping my physically safe in some very dangerous circumstances, bringing my wife and then children to me.  God has sustained me in times of need and provided abundantly for me as well.  In God’s word I find the only way to true salvation and countless examples of His Love for us His creation.

I will admit that there is a danger in looking to the past.  For we have an enemy and the devil will want to skew and/or disrupt our looking into the past.  He will try to get us to focus on our sins, trying to use guilt to drive a wedge between us and the Lord.  Failing that, Satan will try to have us see past triumphs and victories as our own doing, filling us with pride as well as seeing failures as an absence and abandonment from God.

Thus Dear Sisters and Brothers I implore that we use prayer for accurate spiritual discernment as well as God’s word as a grace filled guide to look for His loving, guiding, protecting hand in our past.  Why?  For one, because then I can move confidently forward today as well as having hope and faith in the future.  That I feel His calling to write, I can change my job from full-time to part-time, which I have done.  You see He has called me to make moves, physical and with jobs before, sometimes resulting in 2/3 cut in pay.  Yet even at those times He graciously and bountifully sustained my family so I can have confidence to step out in faith again.  While the writing has yet to derive sustaining income in and of itself, I can have faithful confidence in His plan and timing to be blessed by answering His call.

Look to your past, look to the past history of the people of God and see the blessed nature and impact of Our Heavenly Father’s love in your life.  In seeing that impact, may we be swift in singing out and long in proclaiming the glory, honor and praise to Our Heavenly Father.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, we prayerfully thank You that You have allowed Your wonderful word to be captured so that we can look back and reflect on Your love for Your people.  Thank you that You allow us to have memories where we can also reflect on the personal ways You have blessedly impacted our lives.  Forgive us when we fail to recall Your mercy, grace and blessings for us or claim credit and praise for Your actions.  Pour out Your Spirit upon us that as we reflect on our lives we would see You and Your magnificent plan for us in all its glory and give You all honor and praise.  In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.  Amen

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