A Look Back, A Look Forward – Part 1

We’re now into the 2023 chapter of our existence here on earth, so it seems appropriate to take a look back and a look forward. That is a common thing around the beginning of a new year, but today and tomorrow we’ll do so from a Hebraic, Biblical perspective. Let’s get into God’s Word a bit to see if He left us clues about understanding these times! We’ll take a look back today, then a look forward tomorrow and, while the two may seem slightly contradictory, hang with me as we consider these thoughts!

The Hebrew language is interesting and much more descriptive than our English language. There is often hidden meaning in Hebrew words and when we unlock those meanings, the Bible comes alive! I love that!

We live in tumultuous times and understanding two Hebrew words helps us navigate times like these. Consider this:

The Hebrew language has a peculiarity when it comes to the looking back at the past and facing the future – it has the two concepts switched up entirely.

The word for yesterday, אתמול (etmol) is connected to the concept of being opposite to, or facing something. We are facing and looking directly at the past, not the future. Equally, the word for tomorrow, מחר (machar) is connected to the concept of being behind or after.

~ Biblical Advice about the Future, Hidden in the Hebrew, One for Israel, accessed 1/1/2023

Based on Hebrew thought, we are left face-to-face with our past, while our back is turned to the future! It is as though we are walking backward into the future. In fact, there are implications that looking back may be more important than looking to the future. For example, Deuteronomy 18:10 indicates that fortunetelling finds itself in the same evil category as burning one’s child as a sacrifice. Of course, we know fortunetelling is evil, but is there further Biblical reason one should face the past at expense of the future? Perhaps.

God’s Word is filled with instructions to remember particular things: Jews were to remember their ancestors Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and God’s promises to them (Exodus 32:13); their journey from captivity, including the covenants and feasts (Exodus 13:3, Leviticus 23:42-44); and how God provided and dealt with them (Numbers 15:39, Deuteronomy 6:6-12).

Looking back in remembrance is, undoubtedly, a good thing. In fact, there are at least 234 references to “remember” in the Bible! So, as we get our feet wet in 2023, why not take time to look back in remembrance of our spiritual ancestors, how God has taken us (as believers) from captivity to freedom, and how He has provided our every need. To live in tumultuous times requires that we be anchored to truth that God has not abandoned us, nor has He left His throne in glory! Remembering His faithfulness, goodness, and sovereignty will serve as our anchor when evil throws its curveballs at us in this new year!

Want to go even beyond that? Why not remind God of His faithfulness to His people, and the covenants He made with them (of which we reap benefits)! Our heavenly Father is blessed when we remember His Word and repeat it to Him, as though reminding Him of His goodness. In essence, we are only reminding ourselves, but how pleased our Father must be to hear His children repeat back His promises!

That is how we face an uncertain future! Try it…you’ll see!

So, you got the first half of our thoughts regarding the past and the future. Check back tomorrow as we look forward. See you then!

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