Why do we think we can get away with behaving like three year olds even when we are adults? I realise that it is the New Year and many of us are making resolutions about this and that and in a sense it is all well. However, I cannot get over the fact that many of those resolutions will not be kept. Don’t get me wrong, I it is good to make choices to do things differently each year, however it is pointless to make the resolutions if there will be no change. Many times we intend to change it but we do not have the internal resolve to keep on track.
I strongly believe that we can make sure that the choices we make will be long-term and achievable. It is based on connecting with God and seeking his will and keeping in it. This is often easier for us to say than do because we often operate in our strength. When we check into his vision for us and understand that he will never leave us nor forsake us then we are on the road to success. One thing I now believe is that remembrance will keep us on track. We are called to remember. We are required to remember. We need to remember to survive.
Ok, this is all good but; remember what? That is not too hard to answer. Constantly in scripture we are called to remember who God is. This is in relation to his person (loving, gracious, a judge, faithful, etc). Secondly, we are to remember what he has said/commanded and done. There are words he has spoken over us through his word and others as well as through us to others. We also need to keep that in mind the reality that he has provided, protected, preserved and will do so for the rest of our days. This helps us keep perspective in life as we remember what God has done for us, said he will do for us and challenges us to be for him.
I suspect that the main reason the children of Israel lost faith at the Red Sea and numerous other locations was because they simply forgot. Think about it, the Israelites had arrived in Egypt under divine direction to be preserved in the midst of the greatest famine the world had ever seen. They had been in Egypt for generations and become slaves to the nation due to fear of the hosts that they would be too fruitful and overrun the nation. Being there for so long made them think and interact with life in a very specific way that was not beneficial to them yet they were unaware of their state of mind. Then one day out of the blue, a strange guy who many of them did not remember came and told them that he was one of them and had been sent to rescue them from bondage. I bet they all thought ha ha. So the initial reaction was probably yeah right until he begins to speak to the king of the land on their behalf and do signs and wonders which surpassed and confounded the local magicians.
They began to realise that he had to be about more than just luck and magic. First the rivers went bloody, then frogs were all over, and then irritating gnats, flies all over, dead livestock, boils on all regardless of social status, hail that killed, locusts that ate all the hail left, darkness over the nation and finally the death of the firstborn. Yet they the people of Israel were protected from all the plagues. Surely it was time for them to believe? Well they finally believed that there was a God in heaven who was interested in them. All this resulted in the order to leave Egypt and let them restore the sanity of their nation. The Israelites even left with gold and silver from their neighbours. Who ever heard of unwanted guests leaving with gifts?
The Egyptians soon realised that their source of cheap labour was gone and Pharaoh ordered and led the pursuit to return the slaves. I can only imagine the reality setting in when in the morning they realise that there was no one to build the pyramids or clean their homes. Amazing! When the Israelites saw them they panicked and blamed Moses for wanting them to die in the desert. Ultimately, God came to the rescue and parted the waters of the Red Sea and they passed through on dry land to safety. Each time they met an obstacle they went back on their resolve and wanted to go back. And each time without fail God rescued them and showed his presence miraculously. He provided water, manna and quail. He gave strategies to defeat their enemies, spoke in thunder and lightning, preserved their clothes, healed disease and many more. Yet most of the time all they did was complain and few like Caleb and Joshua remained steadfast in faith and belief in God. The end result was only Caleb and Joshua entered the Promised Land. A whole generation died in the desert.
It makes me question what is going on in the world in and around me. Why is it that it is so easy lose track of the faith that has been built into my life through the things I have been through and learnt? Then I realised that humanly I forget everything. I had forgotten what God had done and written of the daily stuff as my right. I had come to believe that it was my right to life, move and have a life filled with treasures and pleasure. The reality is that He gives what I need and the rest is a bonus. So why is it so easy to forget God’s goodness and daily provision? On my part it has often because I don’t focus on God and His Word and works. What about you?
I need to remember. I need to focus. I need to change. To remember is to recall with clear focus on the events that have happened. I need to recall with clear focus the person of God. This is who He is in the spoken and written Word. Remembrance creates rejoicing, repentance and understanding. In remembering I must be careful not to become fixated on the way God did it that I try to box him in. rather it is the recognition of what he has done and focus on him and he will daily resolve issues in different ways with the same result…that his name be glorified. I am alive to bring glory to God and produce fruit. May I always remember the true purpose of my life.