Looking Back to Move Forward

Also I sent Moses and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt, according to what I did among them. Afterward I brought you out.”—Joshua 24:5 (NKJV) 

Joshua sensed that his charge as the leader of the nation of Israel was drawing to a close. At this aged stage of his life, he couldn’t swing a sword or lead a harrowing charge into battle. But what he could do was give a history lesson!

In many ways this was the most powerful thing Joshua did for his people, because their history was no ordinary history. The Hebrew history is inextricably interwoven with the divine dealings of the one true and living God. At every turn and bend in their family tree, the Lord revealed Himself and intervened in a way that continually reminded them of His providential protection, provision, and plan for them.

Speaking for the Lord, Joshua reminds the people in the passage above how He supernaturally freed them from the bondage of Egypt. He then goes on to recount the miraculous way in which He defeated their pursuing adversaries: “Then I brought your fathers out of Egypt, and you came to the sea; and the Egyptians pursued your fathers with chariots and horsemen to the Red Sea. So they cried out to the Lord; and He put darkness between you and the Egyptians, brought the sea upon them, and covered them. And your eyes saw what I did in Egypt . . .” (Joshua 24:6-7 NKJV).

The purpose of this reminder wasn’t to revel in past glories but to prepare Israel for the future. Its history was still being scripted with many adventurous chapters of God’s miraculous workings yet unwritten. Faith in Him would be an essential component in their national identity; and the best foundation for such faith was the irrevocable record of their God’s faithfulness towards them.

One of the most powerful things we can do, for ourselves and for others, is to do what we see Joshua doing here—recall the long history of what God has already done for His people—not only in what we see in Scripture, but in what He has personally done in our individual lives! 

There’s no stronger support for our faith in the Lord going forward than looking back. When we see how He has intervened at the most pivotal twists and turns of our life’s journey, we can trust that He will be with us at every step of the unforeseen path ahead. Do as Joshua did, know your history when it comes to God, and be faithful to declare it to yourself and others.

DIG: What did Joshua do to help Israel?

DISCOVER: Why should we emulate Joshua’s actions?

DO: Take some time today to list how God has been involved in your personal history. How does this change you?   

About the Author

Pastor Dan Hickling

Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.