Faith – Yesterday

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By Brian Kelly

   “Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” –A prayer of Moses, Psalm 90.

   Qedem, literally, “the direction of the rising sun,” is the Ancient Hebrew word for East.  Now qedem can also mean In front of, and it can mean The Past.

   Likewise, we also use words for space and direction to express The Past and The Future:  We mustn’t look Back, that is Behind us, but let us look Ahead, and go Forward.

   To our way of thinking, Tomorrow is something before us, something we face.  And Yesterday is something behind us.  But to the Ancient Hebrew, Yesterday (The Past) was something In Front Of them, not behind them.

Profound, yes.  And yet, So what?

Well, imagine you are in a rowboat, you’re seated at the oars, working the oars:  your back is to where the boat is going, where you Have Not yet been—The Future…and your Face is toward where the boat has come from, where you Have been—The Past.

Now, the Future you cannot See.  The Future is unknown.  But the Past you can See.  For the Past Is known.

So in our Metaphorical rowboat, if we turn our head away from what we do know, what we can see…to look behind us at what we do not know, what we can not see…we end up rowing blind.

Rowboats, like canoes, easily drift off, and every so often have to be counter-paddled to straighten them out.  And if we are Turned Away from what we Can See, then we have Nothing by which to correct our course— we’re just rowing blind.

Now David of Scriptures, David of the Psalms, was a man, and No Less subject to anxiety, to doubt, to fear, than any one of us.  But David kept before him what he could See, what he Knew—Yesterday, not Tomorrow.

He kept before him all that God had done in his life: God’s mercies—and these are daily; God’s abundant grace—whether on the field in combat, or on the lyre in song; God’s deliverance—the many occasions of it; God’s Nearness.  This is what David kept before him—ever mindful of All that God had, again and again, shown Himself to be—faithful, just, compassionate, loving…

And this Is what directed David.  What strengthened him.  Steadied him.  Comforted him.  What brought him through it all…

And then David chose Early Retirement: from the Field, from Serving his generation, from Giving of himself…

And little by little he turned away from Yesterday… Turned away from thinking of his soul, for thinking of his stomach…

And began to live in the Now, the Having of the New…With his eyes on The Next, his eyes on Tomorrow…

And he became Lost.  He truly lost his way.  And his eyes were Not opened to what he Had Become…Until After he had committed a grave Wrong…

and Took what was Not his.

Now if we turn our back to Yesterday, we turn our back to whatever experience—whatever firsthand knowledge—of God we have.  And eyes that are fixed on Tomorrow are eyes fixed on nothing more than Bread and Circuses…

And we are truly rowing blind, and going nowhere…

but round in circles.