Remembering (Part 1)

Take care lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today, lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, who led you through the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, who brought you water out of the flinty rock, who fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end. (Deuteronomy 8:11-16 ESV).

The Bible has a great deal to say about forgetting and remembering things. It’s not difficult to recall some of the verses about forgiving and forgetting. They are throughout the Scripture. Some of the great examples are sprinkled through the stories of some of the great men and women of the Bible. I think of Joseph and how he forgave and forgot the transgressions of his brothers literally saving the nation of Israel from extinction. I think of David who was hated and pursued by Saul and yet forgave and forgot those offenses when it came time to rule so that Mephibosheth could enjoy the royal status and protection of his home. Jesus prayed for those who were cruelly torturing him asking for their forgiveness at his death.

Today, as we continue to ease into the early days of this New Year, I want to explore the “Book of Remembering.” Deuteronomy is such a book in the Bible. Today’s reading comes from Moses’ last address to the people. He has been instructed to turn leadership of the nation over to Joshua and retreat into the mountains. His statement Take care lest you forget the Lord your God (v. 11) is an essential principle of the Christian life.

Memory is a wonderful gift that I am realizing is more difficult to count on as I get older.  There might have been a day when I didn’t need a calendar to keep track of my schedule.  However, that day is not today. Even in “semi-retirement” I have found that my days are as busy as ever with ministry related activities. I’m a paper and pen kind of guy, so my Day Timer is my memory. I started using a scheduler after graduation from seminary and beginning my vocational ministry. It was essential then and remains so today. However, as important as deadlines and appointments are, they pale in comparison to remembering the goodness of God. So, as we begin to remember that goodness in the coming days, start with your commitment to reflect and remember his goodness and grace toward you. List those specific gifts today. Then thank Him!