A few weeks ago, I had a day full of a long list of errands to accomplish.
My final stop was the grocery store. I’d made a list of ten to fifteen items I needed. I’ve learned the hard way that if I don’t have a list when I go to the grocery store – even if it’s for five things – there’s a huge chance I’ll get home and realize I forgot the key ingredient I needed to make supper.
Excited that I was almost ready to go home, I grabbed a grocery cart and headed to the back of the store. About halfway to the dairy section, I realized I’d left my list in the car. At this point, I was too focused on just getting done to walk all the way through the store and back to the car to retrieve my list.
I decided to rely on my memory – a risky proposition, for sure! After I checked out and put my bags in the car, I looked over my list still lying on the front seat. Thankfully, I actually remembered the most important things, and only forgot stuff I didn’t need till later. I have to admit to being pretty proud of myself that day!!
The reason I’m talking about remembering things today is because of a verse I noticed as we ended our Sunday School lesson this week. We’ve been studying Gideon, and Judges 8:34 tells us what happened right after he died.
“And the children of Israel remembered not the LORD their God, who had delivered them out of the hands of all their enemies on every side.”
One of God’s frequent commands to the Israelites in the Old Testament was for them to remember what He had done for them. Remember means to bring something to mind, or to think about it again.
In the book of Deuteronomy alone, God specifically told His people at least nine times that they were to remember what He did in bringing them out of Egypt. (If you’d like to look those up on your own, here are the references – Deuteronomy 5:15, 7:18, 8:2, 8:18, 15:15, 16:3, 16:12, 24:18, 24:22.)
Surely if God was that insistent on the Israelites remembering what He had done for them, He would want us to do the same. I found five verses in Psalms to encourage us in this area.
“And they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God their redeemer.” ~Psalm 78:35
God is my rock and my redeemer. He is firm and unchanging, and I can always depend on Him. Reflecting on any of God’s character traits will lead me to praise Him.
“Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;” ~Psalm 105:5
Reflecting on His works and His wonders also causes me to praise Him. Whether it’s studying the miracles of the Bible or looking back at the wonderful ways He’s shown Himself mighty in my own life, I can recognize that whatever I’m currently facing is no match for an all-powerful God.
“I have remembered thy name, O LORD, in the night, and have kept thy law.” ~Psalm 119:55
I love how this verse mentions remembering the Lord’s name in the night. If you’re like me, and sometimes have trouble sleeping, what better way to comfort yourself than by meditating on the names of God.
“I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands.” ~Psalm 143:5
This type of remembering isn’t just a passing thought. No, we think on His works carefully, thoroughly, and seriously.
“Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,” ~Isaiah 46:9
We serve a great God. He alone is God. No one else can do what He can. Only our God can keep His every promise
So why all the commands to remember? Why was it important for the Israelites to remember how God delivered them? What will remembering do for us?
Here are four benefits of remembering what God has done for us.
1. It cultivates gratitude.
I think this quote from Ann Voskamp in her book, One Thousand Gifts, says it well.
“Remembering is an act of thanksgiving, this turn of the heart over time’s shoulder to see all the long way His arms have carried.”
How can we help but be grateful when we spend time remembering all that God has done for us! In big ways and small, He has been faithful to love, guide, and watch over us.
2. It creates trust.
A God who has brought us through trials in the past can be trusted to carry us through whatever is ahead.
3. It brings blessings.
It was only when the children of Israel forgot what God had done that they left off worshiping Him, and followed after Baal and other idols. Then God’s judgment came as punishment for their sin. How much better if they (and we!) could stop the cycle by keeping God’s greatness always before us.
4. It causes all glory to go to God.
Remembering keeps us humble because we realize that God is the one who has accomplished everything good and productive in our lives. If it had been left up to us, what a mess we would have made of things!
We can be confident in our future because we know, based on the past, that our God will continue to perform His will faithfully in our lives!