I’m doing something a little different this week—I’m posting 7 days in a row excerpts from a devotional I wrote on Hebrews 10:32-11:6. My book’s title is inspired by Hebrews 10:39, so I hope this devotional helps us learn more of what the Bible says about not shrinking back!
Here is Day 2…
Scripture: Hebrews 10:32-35
Today’s #WeWontShrinkBack Tool: Remember what God has done for you in the past.
Yesterday we read about the hardships the original audience of the book of Hebrews faced. We also identified a few of our own burdens that have been causing us to feel defeated.
But we need to back up and see that the author of Hebrews writes to them (my paraphrase), “Remember your earlier days when you stood your ground. I remember it; don’t you? You’ve made it through so much, and you’re almost there.”
“Remember those earlier days…” (Hebrews 10:32)
On our days of discouragement when we want to shrink back the most, sometimes the most powerful thing we can do is to remember the things God has already done for us. Satan is trying desperately for us to forget what God has done for us in the past. He wants to blind us so we can’t see back and we can’t see forward. If he can get us to forget, then he can get us to doubt, and if he can get us to doubt, then he can cause us to stay down.
If we fail to remember, then we fail to become all that God has purposed us to be.
This is why it is dangerous not to remember.
The Old Testament provides a clear example of this with God’s people, the Israelites. God delivered the Israelites out of slavery, rescued them from the abuse of the Egyptians, parted the Red Sea for them to walk through, and then led them through the desert and rained down bread from the sky to feed them each day. You wouldn’t think that the people would forget all these mighty acts, but unfortunately, the majority of them did.
But as we already established, it is dangerous not to remember. The Israelites turned their backs on God and suffered the consequences of war, oppression, and captivity.
Generations later, Nehemiah, in talking about the nation of Israel during this time, said in Nehemiah 9:16-17: “But they, our ancestors, became arrogant and stiff-necked, and they did not obey your commands. They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them….But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them.”
God still extended grace to the Israelites and sent them their Messiah, Jesus. But their example helps us to see that we can save ourselves a lot of heartache if we simply remember what God has done for us. We can move forward in God’s plan for our lives if we take time to remember His benefits and blessings.
Remembering is an act of worship. It helps us to draw near to God and gives us the courage to know that God is with us wherever we go.
Read Psalm 77:11-12 and Psalm 103:2-5 below.
“I will remember the deeds of the LORD;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
I will consider all your works
And meditate on all your mighty deeds.”
“Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits--
who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psalm 103:2-5)
Just like the author of Hebrews asked that group of persecuted Christians to “remember their earlier days,” I’m asking you to spend a few minutes remembering what God has done for you. Today’s #WeWontShrinkBack tool is Remember what God has done for you in the past. Because Satan wants to blind us so we can’t see back and we can’t see forward, we will intentionally look for the benefits and blessings we experienced in the past. We will remember, so that we can move forward and become all that God has purposed us to be.
I encourage you to make a list of at least ten things God has done for you in your life. Write down how you have experienced the love of God. Think back to when you first heard the good news about Jesus. Think about the people God has placed in your life, the opportunities He’s given you, the times He has met your needs. I know we all have hurtful memories of times we don’t understand why God didn’t show up in the way we wanted, but today, focus on the positive things you can thank God for.
Come back tomorrow for Day 3! Tomorrow we’ll look at Hebrews 10:35 and discuss our next #WeWontShrinkBack Tool: Hang onto your identity in Christ and your confidence that He will be faithful to you.
P.S. You can download Chapter 1 of my book She Won't Shrink Back.
Mary works at Brookville Road Community Church, where she leads children's ministry and women's ministry. She is the author of She Won't Shrink Back: A Story of Building & Believing.