“The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord; they forgot the Lord their God and served the Baals and the Asherahs (Judges 3:7, NIV).”
Sounds like a familiar problem, doesn’t it? We might not serve Baals and Asherahs anymore. We have different, more modern idols we serve. But, like Israel, we do tend to “forget” the Lord, don’t we?
How do you “forget God”? The Bible talks a lot about remembering and forgetting in a spiritual sense.
When David says: “Remember, Lord, Your compassion and Your faithful love, for they ⌊have existed⌋ from antiquity. ” (Psalm 25:6, HCSB) and Isaiah begs: “Lord, do not be terribly angry or remember ⌊our⌋ iniquity forever… (Isaiah 64:9, HCSB), neither really believe that God will literally forget…an omniscient God will not forget.
David’s really asking God to ACT according to his compassionate nature…and Isaiah’s asking God NOT to act on his righteous indignation.
In the same way, Israel hasn’t literally forgotten God. They still met for worship on Saturdays, they still celebrated Passover and all the other feasts and festivals. They still sang songs and offered sacrifices. What they “forgot” was to live by what they knew. In other words, they acknowledged God intellectually, but their hearts and actions were not controlled or moved by these “facts.”
So when the things of God become less “real” to us…when they no longer move our hearts…other things begin to move in. Idols become more real and more important than God. And, like Israel, we end up serving these idols instead.
What’s the answer to forgetfulness? Peter actually discusses this in his second epistle. After listing the spiritual attributes characteristic of a Christian he says: “The person who lacks these things is blind and shortsighted, and has forgotten the cleansing from his past sins (2 Peter 1:9, HCSB).” That’s why he says “I will always remind you of these things (2 Pet. 1:12).”
Peter’s telling us, just like Israel, we can forget what the Lord has done for us…so we need continual reminding. Peter mentions two ways we can be reminded:
- The preaching of the Word
- The reading of the Word
But there are also visual reminders:
- The Lord’s Supper (“Do this in remembrance of me.”)
- The gathering of the Body of Christ
We are forgetful. Join us Sunday for a reminder of God’s love!