A Memory of the Future

Moses is a man who’s example of prayer and leadership I frequently study, admire, and try to emulate. For a man given such a monumental task of leadership, he did more than pray, he conversed with God (Num14:11-19). God was a part of every aspect of his life and gave him the confidence that he did not normally have. Moses is the leader who, in Deuteronomy 1 alone, we see learning to delegate what he could not do by himself (Deut 1:9-18), listening to suggestions from his people and implementing them (Deut 1:22-23) and doing one more very important thing: 

29 Then I said to you, ‘Do not be in dread or afraid of them. the Lord your God who goes before you will himself fight for you, just as he did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness, where you have seen how the Lord your God carried you, as a man carries his son, all the way that you went until you came to this place.’

I’ve been mulling over this passage this morning, but it immediately impacted me. Why were verses 29-31 impressive to me? What did Moses do that was so Christlike in his leadership?

He gave his followers hope.

How?

He reminded them of the past!

In reading the book The Cry of the Soul by Dan B. Allender and Tremper Longman III, several concepts recently caught my attention. In the chapters on hope, they say,

Hope is the anticipation that desires in the present will be satisfied in the near future. Gabriel marcel calls hope a ‘memory of the future.’ (140)

We tend to think of memory as a purely mental act, referring merely to the ability to recall something to mind. In the Bible, however, it means far more. It is not just thought; it includes imagination. It is the borrowing of ‘history’ as a picture of our current story…Memory is not mere nostalgia. It is a creative borrowing of the past as a template of what we hope for the present. To remember the past is to reshape the present with desire and hope. (151-2)

So, when I was wondering if that were accurate, the Lord directed me to Deuteronomy 1, as well as Psalm 77, where, in times of despair, the authors recalled God’s faithfulness and power. What, then,  is the dividing factor between truthful and deceptive hope?

What we remember.

I’ll use a realistic example: when I need encouragement to keep being faithful to my diet, I could recount my past successes and turn my nose up at dessert, or I could recount God’s relentless love and faithfulness toward me (Lamentations 3:21-24), how He has freed me from bondage to idols such as food (Gal 5:1, 13-25) and how He has all power(Eph 3:20-21). Could I take encouragement from either memory? Sure. But which one will actually shape my future? My memory of Christ.

What is your memory of the future? What do you hope for?

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