Summary: It is good to look back to see where we have come from (sin) so we can appreciate where we are going to (salvation), and particularly at the end of one year and the beginning of another.
Looking back on 2013 or looking back in time generally
According to the Bible we should look forward
much more than we look back,
but there is nothing wrong with looking back on our successes,
so we can repeat them,
and looking back on our mistakes, to learn from them
in order to make sure we don't make the same mistakes in the future,
and it's OK to look back and count our blessings
to appreciate what God has done for us,
but apart from that we should look forward
to the new year the Lord is going to give us,
to new challenges,
new opportunities to serve,
and new blessings from God,
in this life, and in the next.
There are many examples of looking back in the Bible;
it doesn’t actually use the words “looking back”,
but in Genesis 3 verse 8 when Adam and Eve were hiding from God,
I bet they were looking back to the time, just a day or two before,
when they were standing by the Tree that God had forbidden them to eat from
and wishing they could go back in time, and not listen to the serpent,
and not eat the fruit.
How different things would have been for them, and for us,
if they had not made that BIG mistake
but there was no going back for them, and there's no going back for us.
What’s done cannot be undone.
No matter how much we regret doing something,
what mistakes we have made cannot be un-made;
what sins we have committed cannot be un-committed.
All we can do is ask God to forgive us
and help us not to give in to temptation in future,
but give us the strength of the Holy Spirit
to be like Jesus when he was in the wilderness for 40 days,
and persevere in righteousness and holy living.
In 1st John chapter 1 verses 8 and 9, it says
‘If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves;
but if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just,
and will cleanse us /purify us from EVERY wrong-doing’.
Let’s move on to Genesis, in chapter 19,
and the story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
The inhabitants of those two cities, especially the men,
who were nearly all homosexual (Sodomisers)
were utterly evil and disgusting
and God told Abraham that He was going to destroy the cities and all in them.
Abraham’s nephew Lot and his wife lived in Sodom
and because Abraham had pleaded on their behalf,
God sent two angels to warn Lot and his wife,
and his two daughters and their fiancees, about the coming destruction.
The two boyfriends laughed in Lot’s face,
so the angels led Lot and his wife and their two daughters out of city
just before the Lord rained burning sulphur down on the twin cities,
destroying all their inhabitants.
As it says in Galatians 6 verse 7
“God is not mocked, whatsoever people sow, so shall they reap”.
The inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah had sowed wickedness
so they reaped punishment.
The "turning back" is in Genesis 19 verse 26
where it records how Lot’s wife looked back,
and was turned into a pillar of salt.
Maybe she looked back in curiosity, just to see what God was doing.
Maybe she looked back at what she was going to miss,
the sin, the wild behaviour, the godlessness.
We have all done things that we regret
and thank God, He has saved us from the consequences of our sin,
by sending His only begotten Son to take the punishment that we deserve.
We must never forget what we were before,
or stop appreciating what God has saved us from,
in this life, and in the next,
because if we do, we'll get complacent,
take God for granted, and maybe drift back into sin.
Lot’s wife probably had not “made the break” with the past,
and she paid the price for that.
We must learn from this, and never hanker for the things that we used to do
that went against God’s holiness and teaching
In the New Testament there are also examples of people who looked back.
In Matthew 27, Judas, having betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver,
in verse 5 he obviously regretted what he had done,
because he tried to return the money to the chief priests,
but they were not willing to take the money, "blood money", back,
so he went off in despair and hanged himself.
For centuries, people have tried to work out why Judas betrayed Jesus.
Part of the reason is explained in Luke 22 verse 3
where it says “Satan entered Judas”,
but no one can say why this happened.
Some say it was simply for the money because in John’s Gospel