Reading: Psalm 34
(*) On this Remembrance Sunday, we acknowledge that the events of the past, especially the sacrifice of others on our behalf, have enabled our country evolve into what it is today, with it’s prosperity and freedom.
[a] WE ARE ALL THE PRODUCTS OF EVOLUTION!
[b] When we mention EVOLUTION, people usually think of men like CHARLES DARWIN, who was the first to cause uproar by suggesting in his book “The Origins of Species”, that mankind had DESCENDED FROM APES!
[c] Now of course, I’m not for a moment promoting his ungodly theories, because that’s all they were and shall remain! However, it is interesting to note that he himself, on his death bed, repented of his theories in this respect!
[d] The Bible says that God “CREATED MAN IN HIS OWN IMAGE,” which of course, makes the idea of evolution from an ape repugnant to Christians.
[a] Now, let me return to what I said in the beginning!
WE ARE ALL PRODUCTS OF EVOLUTION!
[b] In other words, we are all PRODUCTS OF OUR PAST.
That past has made us into what we are today!
[c] The STRUCTURE OF GOVERNMENT which we have today, has evolved over many years learning lessons, hopefully, from the mistakes, and errors of the past.
The problem is that, as we’ve found in recent years, it sometimes takes a long time for the lesson to sink in.
[a] SO MANY THINGS HAVE EVOLVED to what they are today.
Our modern QUIET MOTOR-CARS have evolved from the “CHITTY-CHITTY BANG BANGS” of the past, where you needed GOGGLES AND RAINCOAT if you were going anywhere, not to mention a MAN WITH A RED FLAG to walk in front of this “horse-less carriage!”
[b] T.V. viewers some years ago, enjoyed the program “Marching as To War”, showing how, UNDER THE HAND OF GOD, THE SALVATION ARMY HAS EVOLVED into a worldwide movement, from those O so humble beginnings. If it had not been for those EARLY DAYS, with the VICTORIES and FAILURES, the INSPIRATIONS and the MISTAKES, then we would not have our modern Army of today continuing to march around the world taking the message of the Saviour!
[c] All of the MODERN HOME CONVENIENCES which we enjoy today, have EVOLVED out of the very BASIC DOMESTIC ITEMS OF THE PAST!
Once when in Northern Ireland, we went to the ULSTER FOLK MUSEUM, and were able to view first hand, life as it was hundreds of years ago!
They have literally taken from their original setting and then RE-BUILT, stone, by stone - WHOLE BLOCKS OF HOUSES, A SCHOOL, CHURCH, RECTORY, COURTROOM, FARMHOUSES, FLAXMILL, A WEAVER’S HOUSE, A BLACKSMITHS FORGE AND OTHERS.
When you walk into those buildings, it is as if you are WALKING BACK IN TIME.
The best about it is that you can go in and LOOK IN DETAIL at everything: SIT IN THE CHAIRS, CLIMB THE NARROW STAIRS, FEEL THE HARDNESS OF THE IRON BEDSTEAD, WARM YOUR HANDS AT THE HEAT OF THE PEAT FIRE BURNING IN THE ANCIENT GRATE, on which all cooking for the family had to be done!
[a] There are so MANY THINGS in our PAST which have MADE US EVOLVE into what we are today - both GOOD and BAD things!
There are times when we’ve GONE TO BELFAST, and so MANY THINGS FLASHED THROUGH MY MIND.
How did that HUGE TIN BATH ever FIT INTO THE LIVING ROOM for us to have our baths, with water heated in saucepans?
I could look at the STREET in which I lived, and imagine the times I PLAYED there as a child, and the FRIENDS I played with, and wondered what became of them.
The street ROUND THE CORNER brought MEMORIES OF MY FATHER RUNNING DOWN IT WITH ME ON HIS SHOULDERS as a tiny tot.
A short distance away, an ESTATE is BUILT ON what used to be MY POND for catching TADPOLES, NEWTS AND SPRICKS, to bring proudly home.
I've DRIVEN DOWN THE HILL, down which I used to RIDE MY BIKE at seemingly BREAKNECK SPEED, HOPING MY BREAKS WOULD WORK at the bottom - OTHERWISE it would have been TRULY ‘BREAK-NECK SPEED’.
I went to the LOCAL CHIP-SHOP, and the owner MARGARET, still remembered me coming in as a little boy, and CAUSING SOME CONSTERNATION amongst the customers, when my PET WHITE MOUSE STUCK IT’S HEAD OUT OF MY TOP POCKET.
You know what memories are like, ALTHOUGH SO LONG AGO, much of it JUST SEEMS LIKE YESTERDAY!
[b] When I go home, I always took my mother to the CHURCH in which I GREW UP, both PHYSICALLY and SPIRITUALLY - the place where I uttered my FIRST STAMMERING PUBLIC PRAYER - the place where I SANG MY FIRST SOLO, and where I GAVE MY FIRST WORD OF WITNESS in the open-air.
[c] It was THROUGH ALL of these PAST EXPERIENCES that I HAVE EVOLVED into what I now am - and exactly the same is true of you!
But of course, I can also LOOK BACK to PAST EXPERIENCES which, BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD, COULD HAVE DESTROYED me, and would have meant that my PRESENT WORK AND WITNESS COULD NEVER HAVE BEEN!
[d] Surely it is at SUCH MOMENTS of self revelation, that we must humbly look up to God and whisper “THANK YOU LORD!” At such times, the REALISATION COMES AFRESH to all of us that it is “All of HIM AND NONE OF ME.”
[a] In our reading, we read in verse 4 of a GOD Who hears and BRINGS DELIVERANCE FROM OUR FEARS when we seek Him in prayer. DAVID is saying, “I know it to be true, because I am looking at what God has done for me in days gone by. I’ve proved it!"
[b] This is the SHEPHERD BOY who PROTECTED HIS SHEEP from all manner of wild animals!
[c] This is the boy who AGAINST ALL THE ODDS KILLED THE EVIL GIANT of the Philistines! Here we see God, again using the WEAK THINGS OF THIS WORLD TO CONFOUND THE MIGHTY, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:27.
[d] He was well qualified to state in verse 7, “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them.”
[e] We all at one time or other have bad times - David certainly had, and plenty of them! He even had to hide from the murderous intents of King Saul! He backslid miserably, when he fell for the beautiful Bethsheba.
But he INSISTED IN LOOKING BACK AT THE TIMES WHEN GOD HAD PROVED HIMSELF, and this instilled in David, faith for the future!
[f] We too must look back at those times when we can say, “Hitherto hath the Lord helped us”, and like David, take them as an ASSURANCE FOR THE FUTURE!
[g] Remember I said we are ALL PRODUCTS OF OUR PAST - we have EVOLVED through those events.
MANY of them will be MEMORIES WHICH WILL BRING BLESSING AND ASSURANCE FOR THE FUTURE, but MANY may also be MEMORIES which will NEED SOUL HEALING from the Lord.
[h] THE GOOD MEMORIES should bring forth PRAISE from our hearts, like David in verse 1 of our Psalm when he says, “I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”
The BAD MEMORIES CAN BE BROUGHT TO HIM, so that HIS HEALING BALM can be APPLIED. Often in fact when we FOCUS our minds upon the GOOD MEMORIES, they, in themselves CAN HELP IN THE HEALING PROCESS!
[i] We are STILL EVOLVING SPIRITUALLY through the EVENTS OF THE PRESENT, and our SENSITIVITY TO THE HOLY SPIRIT, will either HELP or HINDER that evolution, towards BECOMING MORE LIKE THE SAVIOUR!
Sing Chorus 107: “To be like Jesus.”
Prayer Chorus 107
Chorus, “When I remember what He’s done for me”