Do you remember the day you were saved? Were you a child who simply understood you wanted to become part of Jesus’ family, and that by following Him you could live forever? Were you a teenager raised in church who accepted Jesus because that’s what everyone else in your family had done? Or, perhaps as an adult, you experienced a life-altering event that shook you to your core, helping you to see your need for a Savior.
Each of the Hebrews who had been brought out of Egypt might have fallen into one of those three categories. Wandering in the wilderness for forty years allowed plenty of time for children to be born – even grandchildren. Some of the youngest children no doubt followed God because they still strongly felt the untarnished pull of eternity God had placed in their hearts before they were born. Hebrew teenagers would have witnessed the tabernacle being meticulously taken down and reconstructed time after time as they moved from place to place. As their families participated in the Passover meal, they heard the story of their deliverance dozens of times. The oldest members of each clan remembered hearing the bitter wailing as the death angel passed over the Egyptian first born. The rescued Hebrew slaves understood the blessings that came with following God’s instructions. Every time they retold the story of the Red Sea parting, their sandals on dry land, and the Egyptian army being swept away, I’m sure they could close their eyes and see Moses’ staff held high. Their deeply furrowed faces could almost feel the winds sent to hold back the waters of the Sea.
So, why did the redeemed people of God have such a hard time living like the set-free people they were?
They forgot to remember.
When things are going well, it’s easy to forget the many times God moved in our lives. We forget to remember the times when He intervened in our circumstances, supernaturally provided for us, and empowered us with words to speak when we had none.
Sometimes, it’s good to remember what our lives would be like without Him. Without the Spirit guaranteeing our inheritance, it would be difficult to love everyone – especially our enemies. We’d be joyless, distressed, impatient, unkind, corrupt, irritable, unfaithful, and reckless.
I believe God allows difficult times to help us remember being slaves to sin. Let’s not forget what He told the Israelites through Moses: “Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” (Deuteronomy 8:2-3)
Have you forgotten?
Go to God’s word today, and just read. Don’t study. Just read. Visualize the day you finally realized you were not only brought out of the land of sin, but you were also set free! Remind yourself of the times you felt the breath of God gently blow across your face. Ask God to bring these things to your mind. Meditate on them.
When you remember to remember you will be filled with inexpressible and glorious joy just like Peter tried to describe. (1 Peter 1:8) Then, perhaps like Paul, you will give thanks to God for His indescribable gift of grace! (2 Corinthians 9:14-15) When you remember all God’s done for you, share it with someone else.
Don’t forget to remember!