For a whole barnload of Walter's thoughts, go here.
Not only must a man look forward, but he needs to look beside him as well. There is whole lot in my Bible about caring for our brothers and sisters in the Lord. But you can’t care for what you can’t see. Now the looking I’m talking about here is a tad more than the “O, look, here is Joe at church again” kind of thing.
Now, I understand that you brothers meet together once a month, and that is why I am taking the time to write this letter. And this meeting together is a mighty good thing, but in my days around the block I have seen men that meet and still don’t take a good look at one another. They tend to let their brothers get as close to them as a tail-raised skunk. So, part of what I want to urge you men to do is work real hard, tonight, to get to know one other brother. Ask him a whack of questions and see who it is you talk sports with every other week. You could start by asking a fellow how it is the Lord got to saving him. If that well dries up too quick, ask him to tell you one of the smartest things he ever done – then one of the dumbest!
And once you start to get to know these brothers, you’ll have ample opportunity to keep one eye on them. I ain’t much for modern music, but I did hear a song once that caught my fancy. It goes like this:
And I will be my brother's keeper
Not the one who judges him
I won't despise him for his weakness
I won't regard him for his strength
I won't take away his freedom
I will help him learn to stand
And I will ~ I will be my brother's keeper
As great as it is to look ahead and march forward, a true soldier never leaves his fellow behind. Besides, one day you might be the wounded one needing a shoulder to lean on!
One of the things a man ought regularly to do is stop and survey the ground behind him. It can be discouraging to wake up every morning to the same old battles, so a wise man will learn to selah here and there - not to catch his breath, but to remind himself of past grace.
Dr. Piper wrote a book called Future Grace that I liked a lot. Well, truth be told, I liked about 30% of it, since I found her a little hard to finish! But the big point made sense to my little mind – we ought to look back in order to strengthen our resolve as we look forward. If God has been faithful to us (and He has) and that at every time we really called on Him, no matter how tough or terrible the situation appeared, then it only makes sense that He is going to be there for us in the future!
Seems to me this is precisely what Joshua was doing with Israel at the end of his life. “Look back in order to go forward” as the case may be.
When is the last time you took a good long look behind you to see where the Lord has taken you? Why, some of you have been snatched out of the fire and others pulled from the bog and still more ripped from the caves – and the Lord did it! And He is just as strong and just as able to do it now as He was then. Thing is, we have this nasty whispering Enemy that is always murmuring something about God running out of power or expecting us to do things in our own strength. Blasted Devil! Would that the Lord would lock him up and throw away the key – Oh, I guess that is coming. Anyway, we need to fight through his smoke screens and cling to the Truth. One great way to do that is to consider what God has done in the past.
And not just with us – but with all the saints of God since time began. Seems to me that was the point of writing Hebrews 11. As if that author were saying, “Look at some of these blokes! Yet, the Lord did some mighty amazing things through them!” Now that brings me some encouragement. Maybe you fellows could do that tonight – you know, tell each other one great deliverance the Lord has wrought on your pilgrimage.