Remember the former things, those of long ago;
I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me.
Throughout the Bible, God’s people are called to remembrance. We are to bring to mind God’s wondrous works in the past so that our faith might be renewed in the present. For the Israelites, this meant, most of all, recalling the Exodus, when God delivered his people from slavery in Egypt. For Christians, the focal point of our remembrance is the cross, by which God delivered us from slavery to sin and death.
I learned a great deal about remembering God’s works in the past from Howard E. Butt, Jr., my mentor and friend during my years working with Laity Lodge. In one of his writings, Howard talked about the importance of bringing to mind what God has graciously done in the past: “In my morning quiet time, I start by being thankful for the trustworthiness of God. Eventually, I ask for spiritual guidance in the dilemmas of the moment, but first I concentrate on God’s character and His action in history. Beginning with praise and thanksgiving pulls me out of my subjective hullabaloo and turns my thoughts to God’s reliability, which He has proven again and again. Trusting God is first of all a matter of remembering who He is and what He has done for us.”
When we remember God’s great works of salvation, our trust in him is strengthened. We have confidence that the one who once saved us is still our Savior. Moreover, remembrance binds us together with other believers, even as a family reminiscing about the past feels a special closeness. One of the most striking results of bringing to mind God’s saving works is gratitude. When we consider the love of God given to us through the cross, our hearts fill with thanksgiving. They overflow as we recall the ways God has made a tangible difference in our lives.
Thus, like the children of Israel, we need to remember the former things, even those of long ago. They will remind us of God and his grace. They will encourage us to trust him more.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
Do you ever take time to remember God’s great deeds in history and in your own life?
When you remember, what happens to you?
Could you set aside some time soon to focus on remembering?
Gracious God, your word once spoken to Israel is just right for me today: Remember! I need to remember what you have done in the past, in history, in Jesus Christ, and in my own life. When I do, my trust in you grows, as does my gratitude.
Thank you, dear Lord, for bearing my sin on the cross. Thank you for sending your Spirit at Pentecost, and in my life when I put my faith in you. Thank you for the countless times you have touched my life: protecting me, guiding me, forgiving me, empowering me for your service. Thank you for making a difference each day, in my work, my relationships, my decisions, and my dreams.
Help me, dear Lord, to live every day in light of your great works. Help me to remember you! Amen.
Photo by Ferdinand Stöhr on Unsplash.