“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” – Corrie ten Boom

In our last study, we explored the peculiar Hebraic concept of “past” and “future.” The perspective in Hebrew is that the “past” is “in front”—we walk, in essence, backward with our eyes facing the PAST. All you really can see and KNOW for sure is what has already happened. But, in contrast, the FUTURE is “behind the back.” No one, but God, can see the FUTURE, unless you have eyes in the back of your head. In fact, attempting to “see” or predict what is in the future, by witchcraft, divination or astrology, is strictly prohibited in God’s laws.

Nehemiah 9 retells the story of God’s continual patience and mercy to Israel as they approached, and possessed, their Promised Land. They confessed: “Nevertheless (our forefathers) were disobedient, and rebelled against Thee, and cast thy law behind their backs …”  (Nehemiah 9:26 KJV)

They wanted nothing to do with God who had done so much for them. They wanted His laws and His judgment out of their sight. But just because you cannot see something, does not mean that it does not exist. You can evade the police, but the LAW still remains in full force. Ignorance is no excuse, and willful blindness will not alter TRUTH. God does not change. When Israel “cast God’s law behind their backs” they did not destroy it—they only postponed its effect and consequences. Sure enough, for Israel the judgment for disobeying God’s LAW—in the form of the invading army of Babylon—was waiting for them in their FUTURE. Right where they tossed it.

There are a couple valuable lessons for us to learn here. First, when we walk into the future “backwards,” our eyes focus on the past, proven faithfulness of God and His righteousness. We see before us the trail of God’s goodness that has followed us all the days of our lives. Because of what we HAVE SEEN, we know we can trust the enduring faithfulness of God into all our tomorrows—behind our back—that we CANNOT SEE.

Second, the consequence of our response to God’s Word is judgment. For everyone. The consequence for obedience is reward; the consequence for willful disobedience, without repentance, is punishment. We will all be judged. This sequence cannot be cancelled—it may only be postponed.

The attitude of our current culture is to insist—even scream—Don’t judge me!  When confronted with their faults, some people will try to justify themselves by adjusting the focus off their own sins and accusing others of the “sin” of “judging.” They may even invoke the words of Jesus when He said, “Judge not that you be not judged.” But the fact is, sweetheart, we will ALL be judged. No one gets a pass. We can stand at the altar now, face our sins and repent, and watch the judgment of God turn to mercy before our very eyes. (Isn’t that a lovely thought?!)  Or … we can kick the can down the road and deal with it later, after we’re dead when God will judge without mercy. It’s our choice. God’s mercy NOW—or never.

As believing Christians, we need not judge one another—but simply LOVE one another—and lead them to Jesus. Let Him be who He IS—the ultimate JUDGE.

Prayer: “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23,24 KJV) Amen.


Barbara Hilderbrand and husband, Derrald, live in Wausau, Wisconsin. They’ve served in various ministerial roles within the UPCI over the past fifty years – pastoring in Illinois, Alaska, Wisconsin, and Global Missions’ Europe/ME region. Barb also served in Ladies Ministries in Alaska and Wisconsin. They now eagerly await their next assignment and/or the NEXT stamp on their passports.

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