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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Power to Remember

I just thought I'd share an insight from my reading this morning.

When we reflect on the nation of Israel in the Old Testament, it's easy to be critical of how fickle and rebellious they were towards God. From our perspective, we might say that their major problem was a heart attitude; deep down they just didn't want to follow or obey God. Interestingly enough, the Old Testament, particularly the Psalms, give us a different picture of the malady they faced. Psalm 78:10 gives a typical description of how Israel went astray,

They did not keep God's covenant,
and they refused to live by His law.

That sounds plain and simple enough. But the next verse is revealing, as it seems to answer the question, "Why?" Why did they not keep His covenant?

They FORGOT what he had done. (vs. 11)

And again a few verses later,

They forgot about His power...They forgot about His miraculous signs. (vs. 42, 43)

The Israelites plunged themselves into sin and rebellion primarily because they forgot about God! They forgot about His presence, His power, and His provision for them. As their vision of the Divine faded from view, their eyes turned to other things, and soon they were lost in the worship of other so called gods.

But in this passage comes one glimmer of hope; one flash of hope that they might get things right:

Then they REMEMBERED that God was their rock,
that their redeemer was the Most High. (vs. 35)

Unfortunately this awakening was short lived and the very next verse says they only honored God with their words and so fell back into rebellion. But I don't want to miss the point here. Could it be that one of the most spiritual things we do is simply to REMEMBER? To remember God's presence and think about him all through the day?

C.S. Lewis seemed to agree. In his book Letters to Malcom: Cheifly on Prayer, he said, "The real labor is to remember, to attend. In fact, to come awake. Still more, to remain awake." What Lewis was saying in this brief quote was that we don't find God by escaping from life and world around us, but by recognizing God within life and the world around us. As we are constantly aware of Him even in our routine and our common world, we come to know Him in a deeper, more profound way.

So now, may you be awake today; awake and aware to God who surrounds you at all times.

Remember Him on your journey.



Anonymous said...

Last fall I was going through a particularly difficult period in my life. I felt completely stressed, depressed and swallowed up by defeat. During a period of silence at the EHA Women's Retreat I cried out to God to speak to me. You know what He so clearly told me? God said I had "forgotten to remember". WOW - and of course, God was absolutely correct. At the retreat we were given a sheet of paper with several scriptures written on them, to utilize during our time of silence if we so choose. I "randomly" selected one and here's what I read:
"Praise the Lord, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, O my soul,
and FORGET NOT all his benefits --
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's."

What more could anyone ask for - all these things my Lord has done for me - but I had forgotten and instead chose to remember and dwell on my present circumstances.

By the way, I quit being harsh on those Israelites a long time ago - I've been in their sandals a time or two.

Marian W.

Anonymous said...

Good stuff. I have often found that my times of rebellion and/or anger and dispair in my situation come not from my circumstances themselves, but because I have forgotten how God's power had acted in my life before. Why do I need to keep reminding myself?? It's like having to remind my kids to do stuff over and over...why don't they just KNOW by now?! Surely I must frustrate God as much as my kids frustrate me!! hehe

Thanks for reminding me to remember...I need that right now.