Today in movie making, a flashback is often used to take the viewer back in the story to fill in details and supply the story’s backdrop. Cinematic flashbacks put past information into the present, keeping us on track. Cultural flashbacks do the same — remind us of simple truths worth perpetuating in the present.
It is the same with our walk with God. It is a good thing to remember the past as we move forward in victory in the present.
Power of Remembering: New Testament
To keep us on track in the present, God gives us spiritual flashbacks of information from the past that He wants us to pull into the present.
Flashbacks were more common in the Old Testament than the New. In the New Testament, the one central remembrance is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Paul exhorts us to remember what Jesus said on the night of His betrayal and arrest as He shared a final meal with His disciples.
“Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me,” Christ said. “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me” (1 Corinthians 11:24-25).
For two thousand years, the Christian church has remembered the death of Jesus by celebrating the Lord’s Supper, Communion, on a regular basis.
We not only remember Jesus’ death, we remember His resurrection! Paul wrote to a young pastor named Timothy to remind Him not to forget the Resurrection. “Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my Gospel” (2 Timothy 2:8).
In the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, everything God had done in the Old Testament was fulfilled. Those three days in the history of the world — and especially resurrection morning, the Lord’s Day — are the most important memories the Christian can have.
Jesus Christ overcame the greatest enemy and obstacle in life — death itself. That means there is no enemy or obstacle in our lives today that we are not capable of overcoming through Christ as we trust in Him.
Power of Remembering: Old Testament
Old Testament exhortations to “remember” and “don’t forget” keep us mindful of who God is and what He’s done. The exhortations keep us mindful to use the past as a beacon for the future.
Here are seven flashbacks about God that gave Israel a backdrop for the circumstances she faced day by day. They serve you and me as well.
- Remember God’s deliverance. “Remember this day… for by strength of hand the Lord brought you out of this place” (Exodus 13:3). Through Christ, God delivered us from sin’s enslavement (Romans 6).
- Remember God’s holiness. One of the Ten Commandments is to remember God’s holiness one day each week: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8).
- Remember God’s commands. It is God’s will that we, “Do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes” (Deuteronomy 8:11).
- Remember God’s judgments. “Remember … what the Lord … did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt” (Deuteronomy 7:18). God does not wink at sin (1 Corinthians 11:29-32).
- Remember God’s blessings. “Remember the Lord … it is He who gives you power to get wealth” (Deuteronomy 8:18). Remember Him by your thankfulness and generosity in His name.
- Remember God’s covenant. “Remember His covenant” (1 Chronicles 16:15). God’s promises are our permanent possession (Jeremiah 31:33; Luke 22:20).
- Remember God’s works and wonders. “Remember His marvelous works” (Psalm 105:5). God created the world and everything in it, and nothing can separate you from Him (Romans 8:38-39).
Take time to remember what God has done. Flash back on that as you work and worship. Remembrances of Him help complete the storyline of your life.
— by David Jeremiah
Jeremiah is the founder and host of Turning Point for God and pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, Calif. For more information on Turning Point, visit www.DavidJeremiah.org.