“Be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt.” Deuteronomy 6:12
We all have little slips in our memory once in a while, right? I love the story about the guy who decided to do something about his increasing forgetfulness. This poor chap decided to attend a seminar on how to increase his ability to remember things. And, to his great delight, the seminar worked! A few weeks later he sat in his living room, chatting with a friend about his newly improved recall ability.
“You won’t believe it,” he gushed, “This memory seminar really has helped me remember things better. I have a whole new lease on life!”
“That’s great,” his friend replied. “How does it work?”
“Well, you simply think of a common object that helps you build a link to whatever you need to remember. If you can remember the common object, then you’ll remember the other object.”
“Wow!” said his friend. “You know, to be honest, my memory’s slipping a little. What’s the name of the seminar? I think I might sign up for it.”
“Okay,” the guy replied. “Let’s see, think of a flower with red petals . . . long stem . . . thorns . . . rose.” Then he yelled to his wife in the next room, “Hey, Rose, what was the name of that seminar I went to?”
In Deuteronomy 6:12, Moses is talking to the Israelites about the danger of memory loss when it comes to forgetting God. God’s people were standing on the edge of the Promised Land, ready to enter a land with great cities they did not build, houses full of good things they did not fill, and vast and lush vineyards they didn’t plant. And, as good as the prospect of all this prosperity was, there was a danger lurking under the blessing. Moses knew that in good times it’s easy to forget God. The people were in danger of forgetting that it was God who had given them this land flowing with milk and honey; forgetting that it was God who went before them in each battle; forgetting, in fact, that it was only through God’s gracious choice of them as His people that they were enjoying the blessings of their new home and country. And, when we forget God, we become unthankful, proud, and self-sufficient—the kinds of things that are offensive to the Giver of every good and perfect gift.
So the solution for Israel—and for that matter, for us—is keeping God in mind! The book of Deuteronomy is actually a memory seminar about God’s goodness to His people. Moses reminds the Israelites of the law that was given on Mount Sinai. He tracks the Israelites back over the ways God miraculously provided for them—battles won, food given, shoes that didn’t wear out—the list of God’s providing work is long.
So, here’s the lesson. Beware! When God is abundantly good to us we are in great danger. We are in danger because in good times it’s easy to forget God. It’s easy to be so consumed with the gifts that we forget the Giver! And if we do that, we end up worshiping the blessings and not the One who in His amazing grace has blessed us.
The benefit of keeping God in mind is that it keeps our hearts grateful, appropriately humble, and delighted in our God for His goodness to us. Believe me, delighting in Him beats being consumed by the stuff that He has given us.
Memory lapses in our daily routines may be normal for us. But remembering God’s goodness in our lives is something we can’t afford to forget!
- Take some time to write out what God has done for you. Let it be an exercise in remembering His goodness and grace in your life!
- While we can rejoice in the fact that God forgives and forgets the sins that we confess before Him, it’s sometimes helpful for us to remember just how much He has forgiven us. We are, as Paul said, examples of God’s “unlimited patience” (1 Timothy 1:16).
- How does remembering what God has done for you personally affect the way that you will live your life today?