The Power of Remembrance

Psalm 106:7, 21-25 ~ When our fathers were in Egypt, they gave no thought to your miracles, they did not remember your many kindnesses, and they rebelled by the Sea, the Red Sea . . . They forgot the God who saved them, who had done great things in Egypt, miracles in the land of Ham and awesome deeds by the Red Sea. So he said he would destroy them–had not Moses, his chosen one, stood in the breach before him to keep his wrath from destroying them. Then they despised the pleasant land; they did not believe his promise. They grumbled in their tents and did not obey the LORD. (NIV–emphasis mine)

This passage is so challenging! We see a progression that ends in disobedience. I think most believers can agree that we focus on trying to NOT disobey. Often, however, there’s little thought to the process that begets disobedience. What are the steps before disobedience and how do I stop the process before I get to that point? How do I even recognize that I’m headed that direction?

I’ve really appreciated various Bible teachers who’ve brought up this idea of sin being a point at the end of a path. They’ve encouraged me to stop and think (sometimes after I’m already at my destination) about what point I turned down said path. When did I decide to sin? What got me to the place where that was a viable option? Quite often I’ve found my sin is a natural outflow of unbelief. I don’t believe God is holy. I don’t believe that He loves me and has my best interests at heart. I don’t believe His ways are the best ways. I don’t see Him for who He is or myself for who I am. Lies cloak my worldview so that I can mouth one thing and yet live out something completely different.

So back up. Before unbelief you find them forgetting who God is and what He’s done. They neglect to remember. They give no thought to the things God has done.

Reading the story of the Exodus has always baffled me in some respects. How could a people see such vivid evidences of God’s presences and still rebel? How could the generation who saw the 10 plagues and watched God part the Red Sea, who experienced daily miracles, be the same one who was too afraid to enter the promised land?

They gave no thought to the things God did for them. They forgot who He is. They neglected to remember.

Two years ago, in an effort to remember, I started journaling whatever God had taught me or however I had seen Him work that particular day. It was incredibly eye-opening! I found myself on alert for whatever blessings God would pour on me that day. I’d always believed God blesses us, but I hadn’t always had eager eyes to see it on a daily basis. I also discovered how fallible my memory is. In my Bible study one morning I would be struck to the core about a certain sinful pattern. Two weeks later I’d find myself journaling about the same thing, not having thought about it since my original entry.

I want to be a person who gives thought to what God does for me and who He is . . . a woman who meditates on God and His Word. I want to arrange my life around remembering rather than waking up months later discovering I’ve rebelled and done the very thing God told me not to do and now my heart is so calloused that I despise the places God calls me to . . . I want to be someone who heads disobedience off at the pass by doing the hard work of remembering.

So, any tricks you’ve found helpful for keeping God and His works in the forefront of your mind?