Life is lived forward but understood backward

Life is lived forward but understood backward

Life is lived forward but understood backward

“Life is lived forward but
understood backward”, proclaimed our Sabbath week speaker,
Phineas Dube from Zimbabwe. An African man who had no time for
God when he was young, is now being used in a very powerful way
to help others “understand the times”. During his
days of running from God a white missionary lady tried over and
over again to show him that he needed God in his life but he kept
rejecting her. It was only when she stood up for him - against
prejudice - one day in a store, did he realise she truly embodied
the love of God and therefore surrendered his life to the God
that she served.

In one of the sessions, calling a
spade a spade, Mr Dube pointed out that when Jesus selected His
12 disciples, He bypassed the church of the day because it did
not contain material He was able to use.

When I considered this point, I
realised that this ‘useable material’ does not just
evolve, it is developed and this only if the individual is

After it was brought to our
attention that in our world “we have a system of education
that prepares us to work, not to live", it became easier to
understand why the book of Proverbs is full of exhortations and
instructions that begin with “my son”. God is very
concerned about the state of His childrens’ education and
development and is not happy with our inability to
‘understand the times’ that we are living in. In
Matthew 16, Jesus told the Pharisees off for being able to
forecast the weather and yet having no idea of what was really
going on. In Esther 1:13 it says, “…the wise men,
which knew the times,…”
while Ecclesiastes 2:14
goes on to say, “The wise man’s eyes are in his
head; but the fool walketh in darkness…”

Halfway through the sessions, Mr
Dube stopped and asked a pertinent question. “Why is wisdom
so important?” When a variety of answers had been thrown
around, he supplied this response – “The secret is to
be wise before we are old. Otherwise we grow up in a state of
foolishness, we get married in a state of foolishness and we
bring up our children in a state of foolishness.”

Many times we don’t even
know that we are not seeing clearly. The two disciples on the
road to Emmaus are a good example. In Luke 24:16, it records that
they were kept from recognising Jesus. They didn’t even
know that they were in a state of blindness until Luke 24:32
– “And their eyes were opened, and they knew
Imagine not recognising Jesus! Sad to say,
it’s not that hard to do. When we don’t actively seek
to understand the times we live in, we often miss the Author of
those times. When those same disciples’ eyes were opened,
they spoke differently from the discouraged, depressed, dejected
people that had set out on that road because their hearts were
responding to Jesus and His explanation of what had just happened
in their time. “And beginning at Moses and all the
prophets, He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things
concerning Himself.”
Luke 24:27.

In the Old Testament, the
Israelites were told to teach God’s commandments and ways
diligently to their children and promises were attached if they
obeyed. Throughout the Scriptures, there is a thread running
constantly throughout which implores us to choose wisdom and
understanding. It is not merely education that God is wanting us
to acquire. Mr Dube rightly pointed out that educational degrees
(of which he has a couple) are granted by men who dictate which
books are read and when they are satisfied with the summary
produced, they give the degree. Man qualifies us to be expert in
certain things but the Apostle Paul railed against the wisdom of
man in 1 Corinthians 2:5 and told us flatly that we are to rely
on the power and wisdom of God (v 5-7). (Please note that I am
NOT saying that education is of no value – it is the
reliance on that education and not on the wisdom and power of God
that is the problem.)

If the wise men of Issachar (1
Chronicles 12) and the prophets can understand the times, and
Jesus tells the Pharisees off for not understanding them, then it
would appear that we too, are able to do so.

Thankfully, God knew that when we
came around to seeing things His way, His contingency plan would
be firmly in place in James 1:5 – “If any of you
lacks wisdom, he should ask God, Who gives generously to all
without finding fault, and it will be given to