As this year comes to a close and a new one begins, I can’t help but wonder what adventures await us. 2017 has been a blur of busyness and blessings! Sometimes I get so caught up in the present, and excited about the future, that I forget to take the time to look back and remember the goodness and grace of God up to the present time.
It’s important to look back and praise God for his presence, power, provision, and people he’s placed in your life. Look back at your prayer journal and see all of the answered prayers. Look back at where you were last January, and where you are now.
How have you grown in your faith, character, and in ministry? What trials did the Lord bring you through? Who were you able to invest in and bring closer to Christ, or who helped you grow this year?
As you look back, remember to thank God for each and every answered prayer, and divinely appointed person who had an impact on your spiritual growth. Praise him for his goodness and grace.
Psalm 107 is a song of remembrance of all God had done for the children of Israel. It begins with: O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever, and closes with: Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the LORD, with 41 verses in between recounting the story of God’s deliverance, chastening, provision, and character.
There are two sets of key verses that repeat themselves, and one key word, that I think we can learn from as we look back on 2017.
Four times we see:
- Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses. (v.6)
- Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses. (v.13)
- Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saveth them out of their distresses. (v. 19)
- Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. (v.28) (emphasis mine to show the slight difference in these very similar verses.)
- Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! (v.8, 15, 21, 31)
(These four verses imply that the people were lacking in the area of thankful and grateful hearts. They took advantage of God’s goodness and were forgetful of his works.)
The key word is: Mercy
While it only appears as this English word one time in this psalm, the Hebrew word checed appears 6 times as:
- mercy (v.1)
- goodness- 4 times (vs.8, 15, 21,31)
- lovingkindness (v.43)
Checed is goodness, kindness, faithfulness, favor, and mercy. This psalm perfectly combines God’s character and his conduct.
Even in his chastening for their disobedience and rebellion (and ours), he is at his core and in the very essence of his being, good, loving, and kind. That’s evident in all he does.
This psalm also showcases God’s sovereignty. Just highlight all of the verbs related to God in these verses! Doing so you’ll see that he redeemed, gathered, delivered, led, satisfied, filled, humbled, healed, saved, brought, and blessed (and more).
What action words can you write down to recount how God has revealed himself to you this year? Maybe you can write your own psalm of remembrance!
As I look back on all of the answered prayers, the miracles, the faithfulness, the love, and the fruit that has come in this year, I can’t help but praise God for his checed.
Did we have some tough times? Of course. Were there trials and tribulations? Absolutely. Have I made mistakes and missed the mark? You betcha! But through it all, God’s mercy endures forever.
Pause to ponder the goodness of the Lord this past year. Look back on the Lord. Even in the heartbreak and hard times, he has been faithful.
He is good and is working all things out for good.
Believe it and move forward by faith, trusting that whatever lies ahead, the same Lord who was with you this year, will be with you in the next, and the year after that until he comes again or calls you home.
~Psalm 107:9~ For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.