God wants us to remember. He created us with a memory! Ever thought about that? We use computers and all sorts of technological devices that have some sort of memory. But consider the memory of man! We store images, sounds, smells, and emotions from the past for years and years. Jesus even pictured the rich man in hell remembering his brothers who were still alive (Luke 16:28). Sometimes memory is a good and wonderful thing. And sometimes there are things we would like to forget. But God has made us to remember.
Before Israel went in to possess the land God was giving them, Moses spoke to them. He repeated to them the law of God and charged them to be faithful to God alone. But he also reminded them of all their sins. He vividly told the stories of their unfaithfulness to God: there was the golden calf incident. And "at Taberah also, and at Massah and at Kibroth-hattaavah you provoked the LORD to wrath. And when the LORD sent you from Kadesh-barnea, saying, 'Go up and take possession of the land that I have given you,' then you rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God and did not believe him or obey his voice. You have been rebellious against the LORD from the day that I knew you" (Deuteronomy 9:22-24, ESV).
Wow, what an indictment! Is that any way to rally the troops before going in to take the land? Besides, isn't God merciful? Is Israel not his people? Why bring up past sins?
God does not cause us to forget our sins. He even brings it up from time to time. But not to rub it in our face. It is God's will for us to remember who we are apart from him, and what he's done for us! God wants us to remain humble; confident only in our God. Remembering our sin gives us a testimony to others. And remembering what God did with our sin gives us reason to rejoice!
God wants us to remember, not only our sins and proneness to apostasy, but also his mighty salvation on our behalf! We are to strengthen ourselves for new battles by remembering the Lord's victory in the past. Moses told the Israelites:
"If you say in your heart, 'These nations are greater than I. How can I dispossess them?' you shall not be afraid of them but you shall remember what the LORD your God did to Pharoah and to all Egypt, the great trials that your eyes saw, the signs, the wonders, the mighty hand, and the outstretched arm, by which the LORD your God brought you out. So will the LORD your God do to all the peoples of whom you are afraid" (Deuteronomy 7:17-19, ESV).
Remembering our sins and sinfulness keeps us humble.
Remembering what God has done with our sins in Christ crucified keeps us rejoicing.
Remember who we are, and who is our God!
Give him glory today, and be encouraged to move ahead with the Lord.