The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off memory of them who do evil. Psalm 34:16
If this verse only pertained to wicked people who do evil things (and we qualify at times), why do we still remember them? Memories abound and are purposely recalled in hope that future generations won't make the same mistakes. So what does this scripture mean?
Consider Moses. His name conjures up images from the movie classic, The Ten Commandments. Moses defying Pharaoh and the court magicians, working miracles that challenged the validity of
gods. Moses splitting the Red Sea and then closing it up
on the army that came to take the Israelites back to slavery. Moses standing on
the mountain with the Ten Commandments horrified at the scene below him. Moses,
the larger than life man of God who would later describe himself as the most
humble person of his day (Numbers 12:3). It's easy to forget he didn't start
out that way.
Before he became
deliverer, Moses was a prince of Egypt.
He was schooled in all the royal family needed for success. What changed his
heart from loyal member of Pharaoh's household to champion of Hebrew's rights
isn't clear. Envisioning himself as the answer to the slavery issue, he killed a man. Moses was a murderer before he was a deliverer. Do you often
think of him in that way? I rarely do unless something reminds me of that fact.
When he encountered God at the burning bush his past felony record was not the key issue. He had a speech impediment not a criminal history that he believed disqualified him for God's service. Even if he felt justified in killing the man, he never mentioned it to God or anyone else that we know of.
This reminds me of Paul, the former Saul of Tarsus. Most of us think of him as the great missionary evangelist who wrote much of the New Testament. Paul fearlessly confronted anyone with the Gospel. He worked tirelessly to preach the Good News and disciple those who believed. He also jailed many believers and sent them to their deaths. In 2 Corinthians 7:2 he boldly stated that he'd wronged no one. In light of his past, this appears to be an arrogant lie. Like Moses, Paul experienced the grace of God that obliterated his past mistakes. David and Peter also had similar backgrounds of failure that seemed to be forgotten in the light of God's goodness extended to them.
God wants to remove from our consciences the toxicity of these memories. Maybe you literally murdered someone or killed them with your words. God's in the restoration business. Regardless of past mistakes He desires to reinstate us to unbroken fellowship with Him and direct us to His destiny for our lives. He did this by blotting out all sin with the blood of Jesus. He chooses not to remember them and wants us to do likewise.
If you struggle with things in your past, take heart. Others like Moses, Paul, David and Peter have walked in those same shoes and overcome their failures and downfalls. They went on to do great things with God. If they can, we can too.
Photo compliments of Photo Morgue