. . . posts on faith and life
When Moses was preparing the next generation to enter into their future he took them back to the Fire of God (13 times in chps. 4-5), back to their foundations. He talked to them as if they had been there (e.g. 5:4), even though it is likely that many of them, possibly even most of them, had not been there. He instructed them to remember who they are and to remember who God is, and definitely not to get those two confused (4:10; 5:15; 7:18; 8:2; 8:18; 9:7; 9:27; 15:15). While the solidarity that they held with their past, and the ownership they took of it, would have been enough to sustain their faith, God still did new things for them. But He did some old things first. Like parting seas (Josh 3:17). Compare, for example, Joshua 4:21 with Deuteronomy 6:20. They owned the story of their fathers and mothers, and that would have been sufficient to pass the fire on to their children. But God was faithful to also give them stories of their own.
Leonard Sweet, in his book Post-Modern Pilgrims, tells the story of a ship stuck in the Chesapeake Bay. With seemingly no way out they tried an innovative experiment. Several men got into one of the life boats and the other men on the ship lowered the anchor into the life boat. The men in the life boat paddled the anchor out as far as they could and dropped it. Once the anchor “took,” the ship began to pull itself forward (or really backward) by winching the anchor. They continued this process until they found deep enough waters to escape “back” into the Atlantic and moved “forward” with their journey. Sweet suggests that this picture makes a nice analogy for our way forward. The anchor, representing our past, must be cast out into the future, and we must pull ourselves back into the future with the anchor of our past. I find that very helpful to consider!