This post is by Christy Tennant. It has been excerpted from Moment with God: A Devotional on Every Biblical Book.
I must confess that sometimes I read about the forgetfulness of Bible characters and chide them in my mind. I think, “If God showed me a burning bush, I would never doubt him again.” But I would. And so would you.
God knows our propensity to forget. That is why he is adamant that his people be intentional about remembering his goodness. He also knows that remembering helps us.
To a quaking Israel facing a daunting enemy, God said:
You may say to yourselves, ‘These nations are stronger than we are. How can we drive them out?’ But do not be afraid of them; remember well what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt. You saw with your own eyes the great trials, the miraculous signs and wonders, the mighty hand and outstretched arm, with which the Lord your God brought you out. The Lord your God will do the same to all the peoples you now fear.” (Deut 7:17–19 NIV).
Remembering how God delivered us helps us overcome fear. We haven’t fled Pharaoh, but we have stories of our own. Instead of chariots, I have faced eighth-grade bullies. Instead of a ruthless ruler, I have faced a boss who took out his family troubles and work stress on me, frequently in front of other employees. Instead of famine, I have faced an empty fridge and turn-off notices from the electric company.
Remembering God’s faithfulness
Yet as I look back, all I see is a string of provision: an upperclassman, who stepped in just as I was about to get beaten to a pulp; a human-resources manager who restructured the office, placing me under a different boss; a series of anonymous checks that came in the mail that summer, when I was really struggling to stay in New York. Remembering how God provided helps me face current bullies, bosses and bills.
Remembering also fuels praise, worship and the exultation of God. When David led God’s people in restoring the Ark of the Covenant to its rightful place, he taught them a song of thanks to the Lord, saying, “Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,” (1 Chr 16:12 NIV). David then enumerated some of those miracles and judgments, culminating in the declaration, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting,” to which the people responded, “Amen” and “Praise the Lord,” (1 Chr 16:36 NIV).
As a worship leader, my ministry depends upon being able to worship God regardless of present circumstances. There have been many times when I have awoken on a Sunday morning with a dull heart toward God. The devotional practice of remembering has served me more times than I can recall. Flipping through the journals on my shelf, glancing through a prayer notebook, or simply sitting still in my living room to reflect on God, I am jostled out of complacency and back to faith. Remembering God’s provision, deliverance, and promises changes things.
“In remembrance of me . . . “
Of all the things we should remember to remember, the death and resurrection of Christ is the most significant. As the apostle Paul reminds the Corinthian church:
The Lord Jesus, on the night when he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, ‘This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me,’ ” (1 Cor 11:23–26 NIV).
I confess that I would struggle to remember Christ when I receive the bread and the cup, if the pastor didn’t read this passage as a reminder. The battle for my thoughts is fiercest in that moment, standing before the table. As a leader, I am already thinking about what is next in the service while the wafer is still in my mouth; already picking up my guitar while drinking the wine.
But Jesus said to remember, so in the quiet of my home, during the time I have set aside for devotion, I try to do just that.
I remember to remember the goodness of God.
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