SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT OUR . . . . MEMORIES – THE WAY WE WERE
We often call to mind memories in our lives. The day of our marriage to the one we love (loved). We remember the birth of the children God gave us; we remember (sadly) the lost loved ones that we still hold dear to our hearts. Memories can be joyous; memories can also be painful.
I write this because over the last few weeks, I have been teaching the minor prophets the same time at the Georgia School of Preaching, as well as at South Cobb. As a result, I have jumbled where I taught what and when – hence, I have not had my act together. Thank you for your patience. By the way, I am not saying this to gain sympathy, but to emphasize how, as we grow older, these things happen. My memory is not what it once was but then, my father always told me that . . . “I would forget my head if it weren’t attached.”
Teaching the minor prophets at GSOP and South Cobb caused me to stop and reflect on what the Bible has to say about our memories. We find that the Bible talks about the fact that we should remember God. Notice these few passages out of the many that could be chosen:
· 2 Kings 17:38, “and the covenant that I have made with you, you shall not forget, nor shall you fear others gods.”
· Nehemiah 4:14 And I looked and arose and said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.
· Psalms 44:20-22 If we had forgotten the name of our God or spread out our hands to a foreign god, would not God discover this? For he knows the secrets of the heart. Yet for your sake we are killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.
· Psalms 63:5-8 My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me. (how often has God helped us in our troubles and has comforted us?)
· Psalms 77:1-3 I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, and he will hear me. In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted. When I remember God, I moan; when I meditate, my spirit faints. Selah
· Psalms 78:32-38 In spite of all this, they still sinned; despite his wonders, they did not believe. So, he made their days vanish like a breath, and their years in terror. When he killed them, they sought him; they repented and sought God earnestly. They remembered that God was their rock, the Most High God their redeemer. But they flattered him with their mouths; they lied to him with their tongues. Their heart was not steadfast toward him; they were not faithful to his covenant. Yet he, being compassionate, atoned for their iniquity and did not destroy them; he restrained his anger often and did not stir up all his wrath. DO NOT take God’s compassion for granted!
· Ecclesiastes 12:1 Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, “I have no pleasure in them”. . .
· Isaiah 26:7-9 The path of the righteous is level; you make level the way of the righteous. In the path of your judgments, O LORD, we wait for you; your name and remembrance are the desire of our soul. My soul yearns for you in the night; my spirit within me earnestly seeks you. For when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.
· Isaiah 64:5 You meet him who joyfully works righteousness, those who remember you in your ways. Behold, you were angry, and we sinned; in our sins we have been a long time, and shall we be saved?
· Jonah 2:7 Jonah prayed while in the belly of the great fish, and said, “When my life was fainting away, I remembered the LORD, and my prayer came to you, into your holy temple.
The Jews wore fringes on the borders of their garments so that they would not forget God, “The LORD said to Moses, “Speak to the people of Israel, and tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a cord of blue on the tassel of each corner. And 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 lust after (Numbers 15:38). The same things were done for the phylacteries and frontlets work by the children of Israel to remind them of God’s laws. Yet, just wearing these things DID NOT NECESSARILY MEAN that they obeyed God; but it was a sign of how “devout they were (Matthew 23:5)/
Why did God give the children of Israel memorials such as the Passover in Exodus 12:14
The laying up of manna in Exodus 16:32? The stones of the ephod in Exodus 28:12? The Brazen censors in Numbers 16:40? Why did Joshua take stones from the Jordan in Joshua 4:7?
WHY DO WE PARTAKE OF THE LORD’S SUPPER EVERY WEEK as per Matthew 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:19-20; 1 Corinthians 10:14-35; 1 Corinthians 11:17-33; John 6:53-58 and Acts 20:7; Luke 22:19; and Acts 20:7? He knows we are human. He knows that we get sidetracked by so many other things that we forget. If we do not partake with a humble, learning heart that understands the sacrifice and love shown by the Father, Son and Spirit, then we may treat it as a ritual without any thought whatsoever for the sacrifice that Jesus gave to us. And that is partaking in a manner unworthy of the gospel. It is despising the sacrifice made by Jesus.
It is not just something we do to appease God – it is a weekly reminder of how much God loves us; of His love shown by the death of His Son on the cross; and how he wants all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. The least we can do is to remember his sacrifice, and fall on our knees before him in honor and glory.
THANK GOD THAT HE REMEMBERS US ! (Read ALL OF Psalms 136: especially 136:23-26).