Today’s reading from Jeremiah had a pass that just struck me. I wouldn’t let go of me. That’s one of the ways that I have always known that God is speaking to me through Scripture, I pay attention to what words, phrases, concepts, things like that, that stick out. That jump out. That linger with you. I pay attention to those things, and for me, that’s normally where God is speaking to me.
Today, this is what I read in Jeremiah 7: 23-24:
23 But this command I gave them, “Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people; and walk only in the way that I command you, so that it may be well with you.” 24 Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but, in the stubbornness of their evil will, they walked in their own counsels, and looked backward rather than forward.
This was God recounting to the people what happened when they entered into the Promised Land. He told the people to obey His voice and He would be with them. But, they walked in their own wisdom, and (this is the key to me) they looked backward rather than forward.
They looked backward. But here’s the thing, so often in Scripture, we are told to remember. Now we are told that the people are looking backward. Why is this thing wrong?
It is what they are looking backward too. They had just escaped slavery in Egpyt. They are now free. But it is different. They have to depend on God for everything. And the old life, it was a life of slavery, but at least they knew it.
Being totally dependent upon God can be really scary. They were looking back with longing toward their old life. And not looking forward with hope towards their new life.
Scripture says if anyone is in Christ, they are are a new creation. The old has passed away. They were not looking to the new creation. They were looking back, at the old.
Today, are you looking forward? Or are you looking backward? Are you looking ahead with hope at what the Lord is going to do in your life, in the life of your family, in the life of your church? Or are you only longing for the past.
Yes, we need to remember what the Lord has done. Scripture is clear about that. We need to remember His promises and His word. But we need to be looking ahead. What is God calling us to, today? Where are we called to go today, tomorrow, and the days to come?
God is calling us forward. Remember what God has done. But look ahead. Do not long for the old life, like the Israelites did. But more forward into new life. New hope. New peace. New purpose.
God is not done with us yet. Look ahead to what He wants to do. And live in that purpose.