BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
“Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples! Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; talk of all His wondrous works! Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the LORD! Seek the LORD and His strength; seek His face evermore! Remember His marvelous works which He has done, His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth” (Psalm 105:1-5 NKJV).
In Isaiah 43:18-19, God tells us not to remember the former things; He will do a new thing. However, Psalm 103:2b says forget not His benefits. In addition, Psalm 105:5 says, “Remember His marvelous works which He has done, His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth” (New King James Version).
God wants us to look back and thank Him for what He has done for us. The psalmist said, “I recall all you have done, O LORD; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago. They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about them” (Psalm 77:11-12 New Living Translation). Unfortunately not everybody does this. Many have short memories, and are, therefore, ungrateful.
According to Psalm 78:42, the Israelites did not remember God’s power: the day He redeemed them from their enemy. Psalm 106:7 says the Israelites’ ancestors in Egypt did not remember the multitude of God’s mercies.
From these scriptures, we could see that there are things we must not remember and there are things we must remember. God told Joshua to choose twelve men from among the twelve tribes of Israel, who would pick up a stone each from Jordan River to serve as a permanent memorial to the children of Israel that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the LORD’s covenant went across (Joshua 4:1-7). That was a good remembrance.
Paul said in Philippians 3:13-14, “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (New King James Version).
Joseph named the two sons he had before the years of famine Manasseh and Ephraim. Manasseh means, “For God has made me forget all my toil and all my father’s house.” The second born, Ephraim, means, “For God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction” (Genesis 41:50-52). Joseph had some things to forget and some things to remember!
We must not be stalled by past achievements or successes but we must never forget what God has done for us and through us, and thank Him for it. We must never forget where we were, what we have been through and where we are now, and give thanks to God. Psalm 44:1-3 says, “We have heard with our ears, O God, Our fathers have told us, the deeds You did in their days, In days of old: You drove out the nations with Your hand, but them You planted; You afflicted the peoples, and cast them out. For they did not gain possession of the land by their own sword, nor did their own arm save them; but it was Your right hand, Your arm, and the light of Your countenance, because You favored them” (NKJV).
There are things to forget, but there are things we must remember. We must forget hurts, offences, failures, etc., not allowing them to tie us to the past, but we must always remember the benefits or the blessings of God – what He has one for us.
Benefits of looking back and thanking God
1.You will love and fear God more. If you can cultivate the habit of looking back and thanking God, you will fear and love Him more. This is because you will keep appreciating what He has done for you. There is no better way to pay Him back than to express your love for Him. In Psalm 18:1, believed to have been written by David on the day the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul, David opened the psalm by saying, “I will love You, O LORD, my strength” (New King James Version). You, too, should appreciate God and show that you love Him.
2. You will be able to trust Him more and have faith in Him. When you consider what God has done for you, it will encourage you to put more trust in Him and have more faith in Him. “He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be astounded. They will put their trust in the LORD” (Psalm 40:3 New Living Translation). Psalm 55:22 says, “Cast your burden on the LORD, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved” (New King James Version). God is a dependable God. He never fails.
3. You will not fear your present circumstances, the future and the devil. David is a case study. David said to Saul, assuring him of his determination to fight Goliath, “Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it. Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.’ …‘The LORD, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine’” (1 Samuel 17:34-37 New King James Version).
God never wants His children to fear, and remembering His Word or promises and what He did for us in the past, helps us not to entertain any fear. “If you should say in your heart, ‘These nations are greater than I; how can I dispossess them?’ — you shall not be afraid of them, but you shall remember well what the LORD your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt: the great trials which your eyes saw, the signs and the wonders, the mighty hand and the outstretched arm, by which the LORD your God brought you out. So shall the LORD your God do to all the peoples of whom you are afraid” (Deuteronomy 7:17-19 New King James Version). God says, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10 NKJV).
4. You will not live your life complaining. Those who don’t remember what God has done for them in the past can become grumblers at the sight of the smallest problem. That was the case of the Israelites – always murmuring. It was their lifestyle (Exodus 16:8; Numbers 21:4-9). 1 Corinthians 10:10 warns us not to complain like the Israelites did, and were destroyed by the destroyer.
5. You will enjoy peace of mind and good health. This is the logical result of not being anxious about anything or putting yourself under unnecessary pressure because of certain situations or negative expectations. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (New King James Version).
Because anyone who looks back and thanks God will be able to put his trust in Him, he will enjoy peace of mind. Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You” (New King James Version).
Worrying has negative effects on your health. Science has found that it can cause fatigue, headaches, suppression of immune system, digestive disorders, muscle tension, short-term memory loss, premature coronary artery disease and heart attack. It can also cause, among other things, depression, suicidal thoughts and even suicide in some cases. Looking back and thanking God will protect you against you all this.
6. You will be able to fulfill God’s purpose for your life. If you look back and thank God, you will be able to fulfill God’s purpose for your life. This is because you will live life with confidence in God. You have seen, and you can remember what God did for you in the past, therefore, you are confident that He will work all things together for your good as you love Him. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28 New King James Version). David said, “The LORD will work out his plans for my life” (Psalm 138:8a New Living Translation).
Conclusion: How much looking back and thanking God do you do? Have you reflected on the past and what God saw you through? You need to thank God for the fire and flood you went through; thank Him for bringing you through them to a place of great abundance (Psalm 66:12). You may not have met all your expectations, but give Him thanks for bringing you from where you were to where you are now. “If the LORD had not been on our side when people rose up against us, they would have swallowed us alive because of their burning anger against us. The waters would have engulfed us; a torrent would have overwhelmed us. Yes, the raging waters of their fury would have overwhelmed our very lives. Blessed be the LORD, who did not let their teeth tear us apart! We escaped like a bird from a hunter’s trap. The trap is broken, and we are free! Our help is from the LORD, who made the heavens and the earth” (Psalm 124:2-8 New Living Translation).
If you are not born again, have you considered where you will spend your eternity? I urge you to take the following steps:*Admit you’re a sinner and you can’t save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start to attend a Bible-believing, Bible -teaching church. There you will be taught how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I confess my sins and repent today. Forgive me Lord. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and my Lord and surrender my life to him today. I invite Jesus into my heart today. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible believing, Bible teaching church in your area where you will be taught how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. May the Lord be with you.
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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