There are so many things to remember these days!
“Have you got your key?”
“Mum, did you remember to pay for my school trip?”
“Did you remember there’s a meeting this evening?”
“Don’t forget your P.E. Kit!”
“I must remember to take those library books back on Tuesday.”
“Don’t forget your packed lunch bag!”
Just last week, I fell prey to absent-mindedness on a number of occasions! On Monday I filled in some important forms for my daughter’s new school. I put them by the front door so that I wouldn’t forget them the next day…and then on Tuesday, I managed to leave the house without them! On Wednesday, I popped into the shop and bought a few groceries…but came home without the milk. On Friday, I took my car into the garage, walked all the way back home, only to discover that I’d forgotten to take my door key off the car key-ring.
You know that old saying: “You’d forget your head if it wasn’t screwed on”…well, that pretty much sums me up!
And here we are again, heading towards November – the month of remembrance. Soon we’ll be buying red poppies and taking part in two minute silences. Lest we forget…
A few days ago, I stumbled across an interesting verse in the book of Judges:
“The sons of Israel did what was evil in the sight of God, and forgot the Lord their God and served the Baals and the Asheroth.” (Judges 3: 7)
Hang on a minute…back up the truck….I thought doing evil in the sight of God would entail murder or betrayal or deepest, darkest deception. What did the sons of Israel do that was so offensive to God? They forgot Him.
God has always wanted a people who will love Him and serve Him with wholehearted devotion. And the truth is, He’s worthy of nothing less.
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy mind…”
But the Sons of Israel ‘forgot’ Him. They forgot the God who had brought them up out of Egypt. Split open the Red Sea so they could walk though on dry land. Provided Manna from heaven and water from a rock. Who knows what distractions may have lured their affections away? But I would hazard a guess that it was a gradual slide. Perhaps they gradually stopped talking about Him quite so often – stopped remembering the miracles. Perhaps they stopped being thankful. Perhaps they got too busy trying to pay the bills. But somehow, their hearts drifted away from their first love. And it wasn’t long before they were serving Baal and Asheroth – worshipping idols. How tragic.
The word ‘remember’ comes from the Latin root ‘mem’, which means ‘call to mind’ or ‘be mindful of’. So many words that we use in our everyday language stem from this root: Memento, memoir, memorandum, memorabilia. All of these things are designed to prompt our memory. They remind us of important things, or preserve special memories. But what can we do to remind ourselves of the One who is more important than any other treasure?
David had the right idea – In Psalm 103, we see an example of him “calling to mind” the goodness of the Lord:
“Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits,
Who pardons all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from the pit,
Who crowns you with loving-kindness and compassion,
Who satisfies your years with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.”
It seems to me that remembering the Lord is not some hit and miss thing, like it so often is with things like milk and car keys. We must choose to remember. We need to keep calling to mind the goodness of our God. We need to constantly remind ourselves of His past mercies and all of His faithfulness. It’s a deliberate thing.
Jesus made this clear to us on the night before he died.
And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them saying: “this is my body which is given for you, do this in remembrance of Me.” (Luke 22:19).
If there’s only one truth that we choose to remember in this lifetime, surely it should be this one: That Jesus Christ, the Son of the Most High God, laid down His life, so that we might live. Let’s never forget.