Andy Hollifield 6-3-17
Psalms 118:24 This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
Just one verse of scripture and no definitions. I just want to focus on this day. A lot of times we want to worry about what may or may not happen tomorrow so much that we can’t enjoy the blessings of today. Instead of looking forward and worrying, sometimes, looking back makes you more thankful for today’s blessings.
One of the most quoted, taken out of context, scriptures has got to be Luke 9:62 “And Jesus said unto him, no man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God”. We have twisted that to mean so many things that it don’t, when the true meaning is actually very simple. To plow straight, you set your eyes on a mark ahead of you and aim for it. In our Christian walk, if we look back at our past, AND DWELL IN IT, we will never accomplish anything for the Lord. Any farmer looks back at the row he has just plowed to make sure he is doing it right and plowing straight. If at no other time he does it when he makes a turn at the end of the field to plow the other direction. If Jesus didn’t never want us to look back at anything, he wouldn’t have used the word “remember” 148 times in his word. We should be able to draw strength from the fact that we aren’t where we used to be spiritually speaking. We should be able to look back in our lives and see some growth “in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” as Peter said in 2 Peter 3:18. We will never know how much we have grown if we never consider our past. A quote from the late philosopher George Santayana is very appropriate here and has a lot of truth to it: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”.
As I looked back in time, I didn’t realize the important events that took place in history. History.com is a good source for looking at past events all in one place. On the lighter side of life, this is the day baseball legend Babe Ruth retired in 1935. On the more serious side, probably the darkest hour of American history came to a close with the end of the civil war on this day in 1865. Prior to the founding of our country, one of the acts of parliament that spurred the colonists toward the revolutionary war for independence, was the Quartering Act of 1774. That law provided for British soldiers occupying Boston to be housed in the homes of private citizens against the will of the homeowner. Also, on this day in 1924 the Indian Citizenship Act was passed that granted US citizenship to Native Americans born within the territorial limits of the country. In 1954 on this day, then Senator Joseph McCarthy alleged that there were 205 Communists working in the CIA. He would roll over in his grave if he seen some of what we have in the senate now wouldn’t he? In England on this day in 1953, the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II took place. More recently in 1997, Timothy McVeigh was convicted for the Oklahoma City Federal Building bombing. In 2012, Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak was sentenced to life in prison. Maybe the most important event that took place on this day, aside from the civil war ending, was that the D-Day invasion was scheduled for June 5th but actually didn’t take place until June 6th. My point is, a lot of the events that took place on this day helped shape our country for better or for worse. These are nevertheless important events even though some of them may not have seemed as important at the time they occurred.
What about the events of your life? There is a phrase used in scripture 14 times that looks back at the past in relation to the present day: As it is this day. It occurs first in Genesis 50 as Joseph talks with his brothers about the acts they had done in the past concerning him that God used for good. It is used to remind them to remember what God had already done and to encourage them to remember God as they went forward. To remind them that one day, they would look back on the present day and see how much God had blessed them. It would do us good and humble us if we looked back at where God has brought us from. From the life we had before being saved, or in my case from the time I spent backslid, to where I am now. As a songwriter once said “when I remember where the Lord has brought me from, it’s a mighty long way from where I used to be”. Where would you have been if not for the Lord? In Psalms 124, the psalmist answers that question beginning with these words; “had it not been the Lord who was on our side”. Truly when I look back at the events of my life and just where he brought me from in general; I have to conclude; had it not been the Lord who was on my side… You can just fill in the blanks from there. As it goes on to say in verse 3, I would have been swallowed up quick by the enemy. The storms of life and the troubled waters I have seen would have overwhelmed my soul. “But God!” That is all I can say. What about you and your life? Would things have been “as it is this day” without him? Ask yourself that question. If you look back at your past, I think you will be blessed when you compare your life then to “as it is this day”. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!