When To Dwell On The Past
Some Bible verses tell us to forget the past while others tell us to think on days of old. So which is it? Do we remember the past or leave it behind to focus on what’s right in front of us? Find out when God wants us to dwell on the past.
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old.Psalm 77:11 ESV
The Bible can be confusing when Scripture seems to contradict itself. One example is the Bible’s instructions for remembering the past.
In Psalm 105:5, King David promises to “Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he uttered.”
Then, in in Proverbs 4:25, David’s son, King Solomon, tells us to “Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Proverbs 4:25 ESV
So who do we listen to, the father or the son? Do we remember the past or leave it behind to focus on what’s right in front of us?
The answer is in Psalm 77, where we find Asaph in a long, sorrowful night of memories.
First, Asaph remembered the times of joyful nights filled with song and dance as Kind David’s worship team leader. But those days are over, life has changed, and Asaph isn’t singing anymore. He’s overwhelmed, longing to be comforted, and too upset to even pray.
What’s more, Asaph is so focused on his circumstances, that he’s blaming God for his unfortunate twist of fate. Surely, the loss and suffering he endures is a sign that God has left him to wander the wilderness of life alone.
Then Asaph remembers others who wandered the wilderness before him. God delivered the Israelites out of slavery and into the barren desert to walk through the wilderness for forty years. There, God performed some of His most miraculous wonders. Despite the Israelites grumbling just as bitterly as Asaph, God was always there.
Asaph was still thinking on days of gone by, but instead of dwelling on his own problem, he remembered God’s provision. As Asaph’s recalled God’s goodness, his perspective and his mood pivoted from grief to gratitude.
It’s a fine line…
Sometimes I need to remind myself there’s a fine line between dealing with a situation and dwelling on it. Usually this is as I kick myself out of my own pity party to start solving problems and moving on.
Yes, there is a time to grieve, to process our hurt and suffering. Even Jesus cried. The father of lies wants us to believe God has forgotten us so we will remain broken. Satan knows his days are numbered, so he will do anything he can to ruin ours. But God never changes, so He walks through our wilderness with us, just as He did for the Israelites.
God comes alongside the broken hearted to comfort and heal us. He loved us thousands of years before any of us were born, and He will continue to love us for eternity.
Scripture doesn’t contradict itself; it elaborates, filling in every piece of the puzzle as we read. We are to listen to both David and his son, Solomon, as the Father tells us to leave our old self behind to remember what His Son has done.
Do you spend more time dwelling on your problem or on God’s provision? Join me today in praising God for who He is and what He’s done.
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Valerie is a wife, mother, blogger, breast cancer survivor, and virtual assistant. After suffering years of debilitating anxiety, she learned that victory over anxiety comes only through surrender to Jesus. Valerie writes to point women to the Jesus as co-director of Candidly Christian, and as a freelance writer and editor. You can learn more about Valerie at ValerieRiese.com
He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it (1 Thessalonians 5:24).
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