A couple became more and more forgetful, so they began writing themselves notes to help remember. As the husband got up one day to go to the kitchen, his wife asked him to scoop a bowl of ice cream for her. “You may want to write it down,” she said. “Nonsense, I’ll remember.”
“Great! Then I’d like to add some strawberries and whipped cream, too.” She hears pots and pans being banged in the kitchen and it isn’t long before her husband brings her a plate of bacon and eggs. “I told you to write it down,” she scolded. “You forgot the toast!”
In the book of Judges we read, “The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord; they forgot the Lord their God and served the Baals and the Asherahs” (Judges 3:7, NIV).
Sounds like a familiar problem, doesn’t it? We might not serve Baals and Asherahs anymore. But, like Israel, we do tend to “forget” the Lord, don’t we?
How do you “forget God”? The Bible talks a lot about remembering and forgetting in a spiritual sense.
David says, “Remember, Lord, Your compassion and Your faithful love…” (Psalm 25:6), and Isaiah begs, “Lord, do not be terribly angry or remember our iniquity forever…” (Isaiah 64:9). Neither David nor Isaiah really believe that God will literally forget…an omniscient God will not forget.
David’s really asking God to ACT according to his compassionate nature and Isaiah’s asking God NOT to act on his righteous indignation.
In the same way, Israel hasn’t literally forgotten God. They still met for worship on Saturdays, they still celebrated Passover and all the other feasts and festivals. They still sang songs and offered sacrifices. What they “forgot” was to live by what they knew. In other words, they acknowledged God intellectually, but their hearts and actions were no longer controlled or moved by these facts.
What’s the answer to forgetfulness? Peter discusses this in his second epistle. After listing the spiritual attributes characteristic of a Christian (2 Pet. 1:5-7) he says, “The person who lacks these things… has forgotten the cleansing from his past sins” (2 Peter 1:9). That’s why he says “I will always remind you of these things” (2 Pet. 1:12).
Peter’s telling us, just like Israel, we can forget what the Lord has done for us, so we need continual reminding. Some of the ways described in the Bible we can be reminded:
* The preaching of the Word
* The reading of the Word
* The Lord’s Supper (“Do this in remembrance of me.”)
* The gathering of the Body of Christ
So, if you’re in need of a good reminder, join us at church this week! We’d love to help you remember.
Jim Mann, Ph.D. pastors New Life Church at Robson Ranch. This interdenominational church meets at the Robson Clubhouse on Sunday mornings at 8:30 a.m. Visit New Life’s website, www.NewLifeDenton.org, for more information or Jim’s website, www.drjimmann.com.