"Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged." (Isaiah 51:1)
While it is not good to dwell too much on the past—whether in pride of past accomplishments or despondency over past failures or grieving over past losses—it is well never to forget what God has done for us. In this passage, Israel is reminded of Abraham and Sarah, who had been lifted out of the pit of paganism and cut out of the rock of idolatry, and whom God had greatly blessed.
David, looking back, had written that God "brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay" (Psalm 40:2). Paul looked back and said: "In time past . . . beyond measure I persecuted the church of God. . . . But when it pleased God, who . . . called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me . . . they glorified God in me" (Galatians 1:13, 15-16, 24).
Whatever our own background may be—bigoted skeptics, or flagrant sinners, or self-righteous hypocrites—God has indeed, if we are now saved by His grace, lifted us out of a pit and set us on a solid rock. We were "strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world" (Ephesians 2:12). But God "hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son" (Colossians 1:13).
"Such were some of you," wrote Paul of such gross sins as fornication, idolatry, homosexuality, adultery, and thievery, as well as covetousness and drunkenness. "But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus" (1 Corinthians 6:11). An occasional look back will help us to remember more often to look up in humble thankfulness for the grace of God. HMM