The Good Old Days

Lamentations 1:7
“In the days of her affliction and roaming, Jerusalem remembers all her pleasant things that she had in the days of old.”

Lamentations is a book of mourning that has been compared to a funeral durge. Jeremiah is not weeping over the death of a family member, but over the fall of a nation. We know that, although Judah fell, they would be restored. Seventy years after the captivity began, a remnant of believers would return to rebuild the Temple and the city. Within a century, Jerusalem would be bustling again; cured of idolatry and actively worshipping the Lord. In our text, we see the first step that led them back to the Lord.

“In the days of her affliction and roaming, Jerusalem remembers all her pleasant things That she had in the days of old.”

The first step back was to remember; a word that implies the use of our minds. For them to return to Jehovah, they had to think about how much better life was when they were walking with Him. This was true of the prodigal son who “came to his senses” and remembered what life was like in his father’s house (Luke 15:11-31). It was also true of the church of Ephesus, who had left their first love and needed to remember from where they had fallen (Revelation 2:1-6). This is also true of us. Those who will take the time to consider how much better off they were when they were following Christ, will take the necessary steps to return to Him.

Sin has a way of blinding us. We get so caught up in what we are doing, we fail to simply lift our heads, look around, and see if we truly want to be living like this. Most backsliders are not happy. They are guilt ridden because of their failures. The things that allured them away from the Lord no longer provide the pleasures they once did. It is time to take the Psalmist’s advice and look up. Get your eyes off of what you are doing, look around, and determine if you are better off since you wandered from the Lord.

Just as remembering is a thinking word, so is repentance. It means to change your mind. To repent, we simply decide we are no longer going to live in the things that keep us from walking with Christ. We then set those down and begin to follow Him once again.

“In the days of her affliction and roaming, Jerusalem remembers all her pleasant things that she had in the days of old.”

Pastor Jim

 

Memories

Job 29:2
“Oh, that I were as in months past, As in the days when God watched over me”

My phone currently contains over 900 photos. Each one reminds me of something from the past few years. Most are pictures of my family or some fun activity we did together. Whenever I travel, I find myself scrolling through those photos and remembering the times we spent together. Job has a similar experience, in the midst of his trial, he begins to look back at a time in his life when things were much better. He reminds himself of how things used to be and longs for those days to return. Looking back, especially in trying times, can be very helpful, but it is important how we look back.

As Israel walked with God, they experienced some pretty amazing things. They received tablets written by the finger of God, had manna miraculously appear on their doorstep each morning, and saw the Jordan part. After each of these events, they were instructed to memorialize them. The tablets and manna went into the ark, and an altar was built near the Jordan crossing. Each of these events was to remind them of how God had worked in the past. There is great value in looking back at how God has ministered to us, and the ways we have served in times gone by. When we find ourselves drifting from the Lord, it can be helpful to look to a time when we were tight with Him, and repent and do our first works.

That being said, looking back can also be detrimental. Paul declared, the secret to his success in following Christ was his refusal to look back. That does not mean he had no memories, but that he did not live in the past. Bruce Springsteen sang about the glory days, portraying a person who let past experiences be the best days of their life. I do not think our best is behind us. No matter what your past may have been like, God desires to do a work in your present, and your future. Rather than always looking back, take some time to look up and receive your marching orders for today.

Pastor Jim