Looking Back and Looking On: a New Year's Sermon
Psalm 115:12
The LORD has been mindful of us: he will bless us; he will bless the house of Israel; he will bless the house of Aaron.

There never has been a year in which, when we look back, we have been unable to say, "The Lord hath been mindful of us." And we may be sure there never will be a year of which, when we look forward to it, we may not say, "The Lord will bless us." The psalmist is quite sure about this: may we be so likewise! But -


1. We affirm our conviction that we all should make thankful confession of the Lord's mindfulness of us.

2. But many will look back in far other ways.

(1) Some in self-congratulating spirit, but with no thankfulness to God. They will say to themselves, that what good they have won has been all their own doing. But for their own mindfulness of them selves, there would have been but little to be glad about.

(2) Others will deny that the Lord hath been mindful of them; it seems to them that he has forgotten them, if he has not turned against them. They point to their lessened, much lessened, resources. They were ever so much better off at the beginning of the year than they are now. Or here is a widow mourning bitterly the loss of her husband and the father of her now helpless children. Or a husband, whose home is darkened by bereavement of his beloved wife. Or others, who are kept prisoners on beds of weak ness, hopeless disease, or pain. "What!" say these, "hath the Lord been mindful of us? It does not at all seem like it."

3. Well, we reply, if he has not, then it is very unlike him.

(1) For his mindfulness of us is certainly not a recent thing; he says to his people that the kingdom has been prepared for them from before the foundation of the world.

(2) And all around us are proofs of his loving forethought. See in the history of creation how all our needs were thought of before man was placed on the earth. You cannot do so simple a thing as put some coal on the fire without being reminded of this. Where did that coal come from? Was it not got ready for our use long ere we could need it?

(3) And in the kingdom of his grace this mindfulness of us is conspicuously seen. Christ was the Lamb slain from the beginning of the world. God was not taken by surprise when sin entered our world and began to do its deadly work. God had reckoned with it, and had determined that where sin did abound, grace should much more abound. The two arms of Christ's cross embrace - one, all the sinners of the past; the other, all that shall be to the end of time. "The mischief is more than met by the remedy, the malady by the medicine, and the plaster is as wide as the wound" (M. Henry).

(4) And it is true also in God's personal dealings with us. Reckon up your mercies - spiritual, temporal, personal, relative - and set them over against your sorrows, and see which are most numerous.

(5) And think, too, of what our deservings have been. Then see if you can deny any more that God has been mindful of you.


1. It is an argument drawn from what has gone before - and it is valid. We reckon, in regard to men, that what has been will be. The law of habit ensures this. And we may reverently say that God himself conforms to this law. Hence we may reason from what he hath done to what he will do.

2. Furthermore, he has known all along what reasons there are why he should not bless us. No one can tell God anything worse of us than he already knows.

3. And we are in Christ by faith in him. Therefore we are accepted in Christ. Shall not, then, God with him freely give us all things?


1. We will believe that he will bless us.

2. Inasmuch as his blessing is given into the hands outstretched in prayer and faith, and that move in obedience to him, so shall our hands be, and thus will we confidently expect his blessing.

3. And we will tell others of this. - S.C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: The LORD hath been mindful of us: he will bless us; he will bless the house of Israel; he will bless the house of Aaron.

WEB: Yahweh remembers us. He will bless us. He will bless the house of Israel. He will bless the house of Aaron.

The Call to Trust Implies Imperiled Trust
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