I have heard about you, LORD, and I am filled with awe by the amazing things you have done. Show us your power to save us. (Habakkuk 3:2 nlt)
Something that has struck me as important recently is the significance of remembering. When I lead, I’ll often ask God to help us remember who He is, what He has done, and how He wants us to live. I do this rather frequently. You may wonder, why?
The aspect of remembering is huge for us. We go to great lengths to remember things that are important like significant moments in life, treasured relationships, birthdays, and more. We do so through pictures, videos, treasures, and conversations to help jog our memories. We feel sad when people forget about events that were meaningful to us, and it’s heartbreaking to watch some people forget as they age. We will also go to great lengths to block memories of situations that were painful, hurtful, or destructive.
Remembering is a huge necessity in our lives. We need to remember the stories, memories, and commitments of our life because we are forgetful people and are easily distracted. When we don’t remember, we lose a part of ourselves. We forget how God has used the events of life to shape us and reveal Himself to us. Author Robert Webber once wrote that “forgetting brings death, but remembering brings life.”
God knew this about us. As sin entered the world, He knew that we would need help in remembering who He is and what He told us. You can trace this theme throughout the Bible. God constantly told the Old Testament Israelites to build monuments to remind them and their children of the great things He did for them. He encouraged them to takes steps to remember His grace and mercy so that would not get distracted by other gods. He wrote down the 10 Commandments so they would not forget the essential things to live a God-honoring life.
As the early church began to meet, they meet weekly on the first day intentionally so that they would not forget the importance of the resurrection. Meeting together in fellowship was important throughout the week so that they would not forget each other or what God was doing. The writer of Hebrews recognized the importance of this as he told his readers to not give up meeting together. God’s message for us was that when we stop meeting together, we stop remembering and begin to forget.
So, why is remembering the greatness and character of God so important? When we remember, we are not distracted by temporary things or drawn away into sin. I think author David Powlison captures it well. “If you could remember just one true thing in the moment of trial, you’d be different. Bible ‘verses’ aren’t magic. But God’s words are revelations of God from God for our redemption. When you actually remember God, you do not sin. The only way we ever sin is by suppressing God, by forgetting, by tuning out his voice, switching channels, and listening to other voices.”
Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. (Psalm 103:2 niv)