“And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence the came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.” 

Hebrews 11:15

It’s impossible to go with God if we’re looking or walking the other direction or content to stay where we are.

“Don’t look back.”

That’s what the two angels told Lot, his wife and two daughters that day as they hurried them out of the soon-to-be-destroyed city of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 19:17).  And, we know that Lot’s wife didn’t heed their command, choosing instead to turn around and gaze upon the falling fire and brimstone, which caused her to be turned into a pillar of salt (vv.24-26).

Now, at first glance, this seems like cruel-and-unusual punishment.

It was just a look, wasn’t it?  A sneak peak.  A quick glance over the shoulder.

Or, was it?

The Hebrew word “nabat” is used for “looked” and also means “to look intently at, to regard with pleasure, favor or care, etc.”  Thus, it was more than a casual or cursory look; it was a long, lingering look, filled with deep emotion.

Thus, it’s clear the angels knew their looking backward would cause them excruciating mental anguish and heartache since their relatives, neighbors and friends were being consumed.  And, this would also cause them to call into question why God was doing what He was doing.

In reality, the same principle is true in today’s Manna concerning Abraham and Sarah’s “going without knowing where they were going” (Heb. 11:8).  If they’d “been mindful (Grk. ‘mnemoneuo’—‘to remember, exercise the mind, recollect, rehearse, etc.’) of that country from which they’d come”—the land of Haran, their family and friends (Gen. 12:1)—they, too, would have been tempted to turn back when the going got rough.

That’s why Jesus said “No man, having put his hand to the plough and looking back is fit for the Kingdom of God” (Lk. 9:62).  He knew it’s impossible to plow a straight row when you’re looking in the rearview mirror.  That’s also why the Apostle Paul said, “But this one thing I do:  Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth unto those things which are before” (Phil. 3:13b).

Intentional forgetting.  A “surrendering” of the past to the Lord.  A refusal to dwell on “the good ‘ole days” or allow past sins, mistakes, bad decisions, etc., to control the present and the future.

Dear Pilgrim, are there any “weights and sins from yesterday/yesteryear that continue to trip you up as you run the good Race that’s set before you” (Heb. 12:1b; II Tim. 4:7)?  Are you refusing to “let go and let God” for fear of losing control or for fear of where He might lead you?  The Heavenly Father is truly a “known” God Who holds tomorrow in His Hands; therefore, “stay focused and faithful” (Heb. 12:1-2) as the Master says “Forward!  March!!”

By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated March 29, 2011


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