Does the past predict the future?
Past performance is not indicative of future results.
We see that phrase all over the place, especially when investing money is involved. It’s the author’s attempt at a legal disclaimer: “Don’t blame me if you lose all your money by trusting this investment I’m recommending.” And yet, more often than not, the author is basing his or her assessment of “investment worthiness” on the stock’s historical performance. Strange contradiction, right?
Isn’t that how we treat God sometimes? We look back at everything He’s done for us, all the times He’s rescued us…and while we confidently say the right things “I trust God with my future.”, we end up worrying about how events will unfold. Like the unsteady investor, we’re contradicting ourselves as we attempt to point others toward Jesus.
David begins Psalm 27 with his current outlook, looks back at his past, then extrapolates these out to his future. Do you find any unsteadiness?
The Lord is my light and my salvation –
whom should I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life –
of whom should I be afraid?
When evildoers came against me to devour my flesh,
my foes and my enemies stumbled and fell.
Though an army deploy against me,
my heart is not afraid;
though war break out against me,
still I am confident.
David could look back and see that when someone was gunning for his life, God stepped in and took care of it. We shouldn’t blow this off with the thought of “well, no one’s trying to kill me, so I can’t relate”. There are many, many ways others will try to take a pound of flesh from us. Ruined reputations, finances, careers, marriages, community involvement, even volunteer positions could all be targets of those who want to take us down.
Notice, too, that David doesn’t say God prevented all hardship; rather, with the benefit of hindsight, David could see how his foes and enemies stumbled and fell. Best of all, David recognized that God was the one who handled his foes. Instead of proclaiming that he survived the ordeal, David gives God the proper credit for his protection.
David’s current confidence and faith in God was rooted in God’s previous workings in David’s life. So much so that David says he will still trust God even if the future trials are significantly worse. Previously, individual evildoers threatened him. Now, David says that even if multitudes come against him – armies or full-scale war – he will remain confident in God’s ability to handle the future.
David is not worried about the future. He knows that he can find light and rescue and strength in the Lord. He’s not adding any disclaimers or hedging his bets anywhere else. Given everything God has done for us in the past, we should also be giving Him our full trust with our futures.