"Look Back So You Can Move Ahead with Confidence! "
June 19, 2017
Exodus 19:3-6 a - Moses went up to God. The LORD called to him out of the mountain, saying, "Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the people of Israel: 'You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, you shall be My treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.'"
I just finished watching this documentary about a star football player who came from a very tough community in America, who kept saying the key to being able to deal with success and failure is "Don't ever forget where you come from." He meant in spite of all the circumstances, troubles, and fleeting glories of life, don't ever forget the love of family, the realness of community, and the truth that when all is said and done how you treat one another is the indicator of what kind of person you are. There's much truth in that.
Don't ever forget where you come from. His words got me thinking. In fact, it reminded me of the joy I used to have when I went to my grandparents' house and starting looking through the photo albums, or the joy of Friday nights at their place looking at slides of relatives and events that were precious to us all. Those pictures, those memories, brought back to me the reality of the faith my family had in Jesus Christ, the love my family showed to one another, and the real challenges my family had in life like everybody else. Of course, there were the joyful times of victory we all shared, too. The point: don't ever forget where you come from, especially when you are remembering what matters: the love, the sacrifice, the honor, and the perseverance that so many did so that you could be the person you are today.
That's a glimpse of what Moses is trying to not only say to the people of Israel in our text, but to all of us who believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the One who sent His son Jesus to be our Messiah, our Savior. Moses is telling the people of God to look back, and to not just see the love of their family, or the joy of their culture, or the persevering spirit of their leaders. As wonderful as that might be, it's nothing compared to looking back on the loving actions of God who redeemed, restored, and still resources His believers with eternal life and salvation, joy and peace.
When you look back to God's actions for you, it actually empowers you to live hopefully today and tomorrow -- no matter what any future circumstances might bring. So the next time you get a smile looking back at the picture that brings back a wonderful memory of love, or sacrifice -- things that blessed your life then and today -- look deeper. Look to the Bible where the picture is painted for you of God who rescues His people from bondage, who leads them into freedom, and who promises to bring them life and salvation in His Name. You can see that most clearly in the event of the cross and resurrection of Jesus -- a picture Moses never got to see but must have known was coming, for sure. Why? Because He never forgot where he came from. He was a believer in the God who always keeps His promises, and that good news made all the difference in how one can live, now and forever. Look back, so you can boldly move forward because you have a Savior who has already secured the future for you by His grace.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, there are times when the future seems so daunting. Give me the faith to look back and see what You have done so that I can move forward in that gracious love to face whatever comes before me, because You are trustworthy in all things. In Your holy Name we pray. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries