Pastor's Blog

Remember your “before” and “after”
12/31/2018 7:16:00 PM by: Randy Clarke

“He turned the sea into dry land, they passed through the waters on foot…” (Psalm 66:6) If you know Jewish history, you’ll know the writer of this Psalm is talking about the Exodus from Egypt. Although this event took place hundreds of years before this writer even lived, it is still the most significant event he remembers. Why is this event from centuries prior so significant to him? Because the Exodus is when God delivered his people, Israel. See v9 “he has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping.” He is excited and grateful for the deliverance that kept the nation of Israel alive and brought them into the Promised Land. V12 calls it the place of abundance. This is the deliverance event of the OT and no Jewish person to this day has ever forgotten. They continually remember and celebrate this in the Passover each year.

In v10-12 the writer of this psalm explains a little more of what life was like before the Exodus. The Israelites were enslaved by a Pharaoh who was afraid they would rise up and overthrow him. He oppressed them with forced labor to build his cities. They became like prisoners with no hope of escape from their Egyptian task masters who stood over them with whip in hand. Remembering the Exodus is not just about passing through the Red Sea on dry land. It’s also about remembering the enslavement and bitter oppression they endured. Remembering is not just about how you got to where you are today. It’s also remembering where you started – where you came from. The hard times you endured. The sin that enslaved you. The oppression you lived or worked under. The strongholds that were your taskmasters. The depression that plagued you. The heartache that gripped your soul. The emptiness you felt. The hopelessness that clouded your thinking. The loneliness that enveloped your heart. The abuse you may have suffered. When the Lord God brings you to a place of abundance, don’t ever forget the place where you started – what he delivered you from.

In Luke 7, Jesus was reclining at a meal in the home of a Pharisee. During dinner, a prostitute came into the house and stood behind Jesus. You can imagine that this was quite a shock to the Pharisee and made for quite a scene! The woman was so grieved in her spirit, so convicted and upset as she remembered how she was living her life, that as she stood there, she wept. The tears rolled down her cheeks and fell on Jesus’ feet. Then she knelt down and wiped his feet with her hair, kissed them, and poured perfume on them. As everyone looked on in shock, Jesus took the opportunity to speak a parable on forgiveness to those around him. He finished with this, “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” (Luke 7:47)

When you look back and remember where you’ve come from – remember your lifestyle before Jesus – I think you never forget how much you’ve been forgiven. Jesus paid the price for all your sin, all of it. Remembering your former way of life – your “before Jesus”, (where you’ve come from) fuels a deep love for Him who has replaced that with “after Jesus” (who you’re now becoming in Christ). Your “after Jesus” is the place of abundance being produced in you. The psalmist also teaches us something else about this: don’t keep this to yourself. Don’t hide what God has done for you. Tell your story – your before and after story. It’s how you give God the glory. It’s how you give witness to the changes that have taken place in your life. You re-tell that story as your testimony – your before and after story. And that’s just part of your story because God is always at work in you to transform you into the person he created you to be. You are his masterpiece in the making.

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