• Our hope-filled future is bound up in sharing the story of Jesus, in discipling others, in bringing those disciples together into communities of believers, and in developing and releasing those believers to create other communities... till Jesus the King comes again!

Reading backwards

These words of a 17th century English Presbyterian minister, John Flavel,right-to-left are worth ‘chewing over’ in our day:

The providence of God is like Hebrew words—it can be read only backwards.”

The Hebrew language is read backwards, from most of our perspectives.  It is read from right to left, rather than from left to right.  What Flavel meant to say was that God’s providence must be read in a similar way, or as one writer put it: “backwards in time”.

Remembering what God has done is one of the structuring devices of the Bible. It would do us well to ‘remember’ more often what He has done for us in the past in order to hold more firmly to the assurance that He will continue to show His mercy to us in the future.

John Flavel had this to say further in that regard:

Search backward into all the performances of Providence throughout your lives. So did Asaph: ‘I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings’ (Psalm 77:11, 12). He laboured to recover and revive the ancient providences of God’s mercies many years past, and suck a fresh sweetness out of them by new reviews of them. Ah, sirs, let me tell you, there is not such a pleasant history for you to read in all the world as the history of your own lives, if you would but sit down and record from the beginning hitherto what God has been to you, and done for you; what signal manifestations and outbreakings of His mercy, faithfulness and love there have been in all the conditions you have passed through. If your hearts do not melt before you have gone half through that history, they are hard hearts indeed. ‘My Father, thou art the guide of my youth’ (Jeremiah 3:4).

Those words are definitely worth ‘chewing over’ in our day!

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