Thursday, May 17, 2007

Lest We Forget...

I am fully aware that by nature I am a forgetful creature. But I’ve come to realize that the times I forget the most is when it’s not really important to me and I don’t take the time to engrave it on my heart and mind. As Christians we can fall into the familiar. We can walk through our day, busy with life and forget who we are. I’m not saying we forget our names, but we forget WHO we are and WHO we’re living for. Everyday we forget. We forget appointments, to call someone, where we put our keys. But all of this doesn’t compare to the amnesia we have about who God is and His call on our lives. I have been going through the books of the Old Testament recently and have been struck over and over at how the story evolves. A man anointed to be king by God, will start out his reign serving the Lord and in return the Lord blesses him and his kingdom. And I’m not talking about little gifts here and there. I’m talking about palaces, incredible riches, becoming victorious in battles that would have been humanly impossible for them to win and their kingdoms becoming some of the greatest in the world. Why then would one of these kings suddenly find himself losing his grip on his kingdom and having almost everything taken from him? They forgot God and His command to “remember” Him. Here are a few of the dictionaries definitions of the word:

–verb (used with object)
1. to recall to the mind by an act or effort of memory; think of again:
2. to retain in the memory; keep in mind; remain aware of:
3. to have (something) come into the mind again:

Remember, is a verb. It’s an action. Not a passive pursuit. But day after day, hour by hour, minute by minute I forget to remember God. If God’s anointed kings in the Old Testament are plagued with forgetting God, how then is someone like me to survive this snare? Even King David, a man after God’s own heart, was fully aware of the temptations to forget and the importance of remembering.

Psalm 88:12Are your wonders known in the darkness,or your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?

Psalm 102:4My heart is struck down like grass and has withered;I forget to eat my bread.

Psalm 137:5If I forget you, O Jerusalem,let my right hand forget its skill!

Psalm 106:21They forgot God, their Savior,who had done great things in Egypt,

Psalm 22:27All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD,and all the families of the nations shall worship before you.

Psalm 77:11I will remember the deeds of the LORD;yes, I will remember your wonders of old.

God instructs His people continually to remember Him. And there are no little consequences in failing to obey this commandment. But there are indeed great rewards for obeying it. How patient and merciful a God we serve that puts up with us, even though we forget about Him more times than not.

Numbers 15:39And it shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD, to do them, not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to whore after.

Deuteronomy 4:9"Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life.

Sometimes, when life gets busy, I can put God on the back burner. I will rush through my devotions and reading His word, or worse, not do them at all. But God has been impressing on my heart the question, “Are you willing to take the risk of forgetting?” Everyday I let pass that I don’t study the Bible or let my thoughts dwell on the Lord, I forget a little bit more. But my thoughts aren’t just ebbing away to the point where there will be nothing left, they’re being replaced by something. The lies of the world and cravings of our own heart. If we aren’t purposeful to fill our thoughts with the truths of God, then sin is sure to be close behind. Forgetfulness is no small phenomenon as seen in the Old Testament passages. It is at the heart of disobedience, idolatry, pride, and destruction. Why would anyone forget God? The writer of Deuteronomy suggests that pride is the key to comprehending why we forget the one who is unforgettable (8:14). Yet is the matter as simple as this one word? It is both simple and wildly complex. Pride is a word that implies we wish to see ourselves as self-sufficient, needing no one and nothing outside of ourselves for our existence. We forget God because to remember him is to be stripped of our presumption of independence, control, and self-centeredness. So, in order to help fight against forgetfulness, we must humble ourselves, knowing that we will never be able to succeed without His help. I am thankful that God has presently given me a passion to read His word and spend time with Him and I hope that if I even detect the slightest hesitancy to read His word or follow Him, that I will quickly recount the works and wonders of the Lord, “lest I forget”.

“Lord, thank you for Your mercies that are new every morning and Your patience with a forgetful people. May I keep Your works ever before me and be inclined to remember You rather than forget You. Amen”

-Lana Calabello


kyle said...

Excellent post Lana. Especially about the definition of "remember". I often think of it as what you said, a passive pursuit. Instead it should be an ongoing activity, an everyday excercise. Thanks for the reminder :)

amber said...

Lana, Thanks for writing this! It was really thought provoking for me.

Everything you wrote just goes to show me how important it can be to look up words in the dictionary for a precise definition, particularly when it comes to God's Word. Now that I have that clear definition of "remember" in my mind, all those scripture verses you posted with "remember" in them become so much more POWERFUL. (Especially the ones that talk about remembering God's deeds.) What would happen if I remembered, actively "remain[ed] aware of," everything God has done for me? Wow!

Thanks for sharing these thoughts, girl!