You may have heard the old adage before. Too many people forget what they should remember and remember things they should forget. I have found this to be very true in my own life. Paul addressed the need to forget certain things in his letter to the Philippian Christians.
Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14 (NKJV)
It is important that Christians do not dwell on the past but continually move forward in an effort to serve Christ faithfully here on earth. I cannot change the past or will I ever have the opportunity to relive it. However, the future is always before me and I don’t have to repeat past mistakes.
Even though it is important to forget some things, it is equally important to remember certain things. I have been reading and rereading Psalm 106 over the past several weeks. I was gripped by this Psalm and how it is so applicable to what I see going on in the world today.
The Psalm begins by praising God for His goodness and lovingkindness. It also stresses how God blesses those who “keep justice” and “practice righteousness.” If that isn’t needed in today’s world, I don’t know what is.
However, in verse 6 there is a shift away from the character of God to the sinfulness of God’s people.
We have sinned with our fathers, we have committed iniquity, we have done wickedly. Our fathers in Egypt did not understand Your wonders; they did not remember the multitude of Your mercies, but rebelled by the sea—the Red Sea. Psalm 106:6-7 (NKJV)
God had done many miracles in their sight and had brought them out of bondage in Egypt. Even though He had shown the people His awesome power, it didn’t take them long to forget all that He had done. In fact, they seemed to have completely forgot what God had done for them by the time they arrived at the Red Sea.
They soon forgot His works; they did not wait for His counsel, but lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tested God in the desert. Psalm 106:13-14 (NKJV)
This brings me to the main point of this blog. It is very dangerous to forget God’s works! When God’s people forget His works, it leads to a series of practices that carry with them terrible consequences. Here are some of the things that Israel did when they forgot God’s works.
- They craved things of the world which resulted in God giving them what they wanted. When God gives us what we lust for, it always brings heartache and becomes our own discipline (see Jeremiah 2:19). (verses 14-15)
- They rejected God’s leaders and many died as a result. (verses 16-18)
- They made their own god and were only saved from destruction by Moses’ intercession. (verses 19-23)
- They did not believe God’s Word and a whole generation died in the wilderness. (verses 24-26)
- Finally, they intermarried with the culture and ended up in captivity to the very nations they had “mingled with.” (verses 35-41)
All of these things started when God’s people simply forgot His works. As I have studied this passage of Scripture, I see some of these same things happening among God’s people today. Consider the following.
- We have forgotten many of God’s amazing works that He performed in the founding of this country and how He blessed it over the years.
- This has led us to crave the things of this world more than Him and He has given us prosperity to such a degree that it is fast becoming our destruction.
- We have forsaken godly leadership and have instead chosen leaders who completely ignore God and His Word.
- We no longer believe that God’s Word is sufficient for all matters of life and faith and believe that we have to use man’s writings to help us understand and interpret the Bible.
- We have intermarried with the culture to such a degree that it is hard to distinguish us from the secularists that are our neighbors. At a recent worldview conference I was speaking at, Dr. George Barna reported that the most common religion in America today is a syncretic one. We have intermingled with the nations.
Forgetting God’s works carries with it disastrous consequences. However, this doesn’t begin at a national level. It begins in the individual Christian’s life. A nation doesn’t forget God’s works unless the people of the nation first forget them. The same is true in our homes, churches and schools. It is crucial that each of us remembers the marvelous works of God that He has performed to bring us into His family.
Remembering God’s works must play a major role in the education we give our children at home, church and school. As a new generation of administrators and teachers move into our Christian schools, they must be taught the awesome works that God has performed in the past to make our schools what they are today.
We cannot allow ourselves to crave the trappings of secular education and forsake a biblical philosophy of education. We must protect our schools from mingling with the false ideologies that are taught in schools of education, presented in secular textbooks and sometimes tied to accreditation and certification standards. We must believe that God’s Word is the only source of absolute truth and must view every thing that man writes through the lens of Scripture.
Psalm 106 ends by giving us hope for the future. This hope is only found in God alone.
Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from among the Gentiles, to give thanks to Your holy name, to triumph in Your praise. Psalm 106:47 (NKJV)
Our only hope is to cry out to God to save us. May He separate us from the world as we live in this world. We must also have the right motivation for God to save us. It is not so our lives will be easier. It must be so that we will give Him thanks and praise Him no matter what we may be facing.
As we come out of a Thanksgiving break and enter into the Christmas season, may we remember the grandest of all of God’s works. This is the work God did by coming to this earth, becoming one of us, and dying on the cross for our sin only to come out of the grave and defeat sin and death. When we remember all of God’s works, our response will be that of the Psalmist when he ended this Psalm by writing the following words.
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting! And let all the people say, “Amen!” Praise the Lord! Psalm 106:48 (NKJV)