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Meditations by John Dean

Monday, November 28, 2011

Remembering The Past


(Exodus 13:3 ASV) And Moses said unto the people, Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand Jehovah brought you out from this place: there shall no leavened bread be eaten.

Remembering the past seems to fall into one of three categories. The first category has to do with those whose present is an extension of their past and they enjoy both. These folks are probably the happiest of all the categories because they realize their past (as difficult as some of their pasts may have been), was a character builder for the person they are today.

The second category has to do with those who do not want to remember their past at all (good or bad), but want to move on into what they believe to be a new season. However, when one wants to forget their entire past they are also prone to forget how God delivered them. Therefore they tend not to fully enjoy their present blessings because they always want to move on.

The third category is those who are stuck in the past and they can be easily identified by their hair style or the way they dress. This is particularly true with women who have the same hair style they did when they were young or at their most popular age. Without realizing it, they are trying to recapture their glory days even though they have become much older. There is nothing more distasteful than an old woman trying to look like a young girl, or an old man trying to look like a teenage boy. What may have been joy and freedom at that time in their life has now become bondage. It is fine for one to look back and enjoy their past experiences as long as they are moving forward into their future.

There are many experiences in my own memory bank that I cherish, but I would never want to go back and repeat any of them. Such was the case in the following story which could have been a modern day version of what Moses was talking about. 

And Moses said unto the people, “Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage...” (Exodus 13:3 ASV).
In the late 1930s and early 1940s many farm families still did some things much like the pioneers had done 50 or 60 years earlier when they were moving westward in wagon trains. One of those things—many of the women in the country still washed their clothes in a big iron wash pot over an open fire. My mother was one of those women.

My job on wash day was to pump water out of the well and fill the wash pot. I would then gather wood and build a fire under the pot in order to make the water boil. When the water was boiling, my mother would put our clothes in the pot with lye soap and stir them with a long stick until she felt they were clean. She would then put the clothes in pans of cold water and we would rinse the lye soap out and hang them on the clothes line to dry in the sun.

To some folks, the thought of washing one’s clothes in a wash pot or reading by an oil lamp or growing one’s own food may seem exciting and adventurous. However, that was not the case at all, because the moment we learned there was a better way the “glamor” of the past quickly vanished. There is nothing quite as sweet as the taste of a better way.

To get the full meaning of what Moses was trying to say, one has to highlight these three important words of our text…remember, bondage and deliverance.

“And Moses said unto the people, Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand Jehovah brought you out from this place: there shall no leavened bread be eaten” (Exodus 13:3 ASV).

It is very important to remember where you came from as long as you do not try to relive it. If one is not careful, yesterday’s life could be today’s bondage. The idea is to remember, rejoice and then move on. 

Father,
I thank You for using our past experiences as building blocks for our character. I also thank You Lord for showing us that there is a better way.
Amen

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