Looking back just ain't worth it
As soon as the men had brought them out, one of them said, “Run for your lives! Do not look back, and do not stop anywhere on the plain! Flee to the mountains, or you will be swept away!”
- Genesis 19:17
Clinging to your past is one of the worst things that you could ever do. It restrains you, leads to bad consequences, and delays your journey to destiny. However, many of us do it all the time; we study our past like it's a passage in a textbook, and wonder why we're stuck. Or we dwell on yesterday as if it’s the only place available for us. But, we were created for more, therefore we must look ahead and never look back. Sometimes we look back because we miss what's behind us, have regrets, or are simply unable to see the miracles that lie ahead. But we mustn't be fooled, because greater things await us all. Although there are various examples in the Bible that reveal the dangers of looking back, here are two of my favorites.
In the book of Genesis, God destroys Sodom and Gomorrah while sparing the lives of Lot and his family. However, their protection came with instructions to not look back. Nothing complicated right? Just one simple instruction. However, I can only imagine the wave of emotions that flowed through their hearts as they heard their home being destroyed. The shock, confusion, and sadness probably mirrored the intensity of the commotion behind them. However, God still expected them to fix their eyes ahead and move forward. But Lot’s wife couldn't help herself; she looked back and turned into a pillar of salt as she witnessed the destruction of the cities behind her. Her curiosity, disobedience, and inability to let go, made her salty (literally).
Lessons to be learned:
Even when your past seems enticing, God still expects you to look ahead!
There is no need for you to look back as God moves you forward!
Leave the past in the past, and disregard the commotion behind you!
Looking back could cost you everything.
Be obedient as God preserves you and elevates you to a new level.
God wants to take you to new places, He had greater plans for you, so don't sabotage them by looking back. It will cause you to stumble, it will distract you, and you will waste your time in the process. As tempting as your past may seem, and as satisfying as going back may appear; it's a trap! don't do it! The enemy would love nothing more than for you to look back and miss out on what God has for you. He knows that looking back will make you stuck and unproductive. Moving forward can be scary but it’s necessary, so look at the days ahead; because looking back just ain’t worth it.
Then the whole congregation lifted up their voices and cried out, and that night the people wept. All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt, or if only we had died in this wilderness! Why is the LORD bringing us into this land to fall by the sword? Our wives and children will become plunder. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?”
- Numbers 14:1-3
If you know anything about the Israelites' journey out of Egypt and into Canaan; then you’re aware that they begged, wept, and wrestled with God to be set free. The 400 years that they spent in slavery had them feeling helpless and hopeless. They cried out to God while feeling betrayed, and broken. However, upon freedom, they sang a different tune. They began to desire slavery and longed to return to their past bondage. Because their current state (although liberating), was challenging them beyond comprehension. They worshipped idols, adopted ungodly customs, and disobeyed God. Because they failed to realize that even in their current state, He was moving.
Now you may be wondering “Who would thirst for slavery in the wake of freedom?” but it’s deeper than that. They wanted to return to a life of victimhood, less responsibility, and a lack of leadership. Their new freedom cost them a lot, they had to give up their routine, and lifestyle to move into a new beginning. One that required them to have faith, perseverance, and maturity. Simply put, on their journey to the promised land, the life of bondage looked like paradise. Honestly, I would be lying if I said that bondage has never appeared easier or more convenient amid a trial. But there's a reason why deliverance occurs, and it's not for us to run back to the very things that once enslaved us. Instead, we must obediently and openly march towards the new things ahead.
Lessons to be learned:
As you venture towards your promised land, don't lose sight of God’s faithfulness and goodness.
God has never turned His back on you, so in times of trials, don't turn your back on Him, instead turn your back on your past.
Leave it all behind you! You may get weary and discouraged, but God will continue to provide you with strength, mercy, and resources as you move on.
Yes, the Israelites were in the middle of nowhere, but they were on the road to somewhere greater! Yes, they had no access to food, but God miraculously fed them, Yes, they didn't get new clothes, but the clothes that they had on never got old. Yes, they didn't have any water on them, but God nourished them through rocks! You see it’s all about perspective. Don't allow the wrong perspective to get you off track, God's doing a new thing and He doesn't want you to get sidetracked. Just because the new direction doesn't look the way that you anticipated it to, doesn't mean that God's not working in your life. I'm pretty sure when the Israelites dreamt of freedom it looked different than what they experienced. But God was still with them on the journey regardless of their circumstances!
So don't lose heart, lack trust, or look back, because your future awaits! Face it, looking back just ain’t worth it.