It seems that usually the people of Israel = me. I want to think that I would have remembered seeing God's power rescue me from slavery, that I wouldn't have made a golden calf within 40 days of Moses leaving, that I wouldn't have complained about having to eat manna and about how it was so much better in Egypt. And yet. . .
When I read in the Old Testament, which can be tricky and I by no means am any sort of expert, I try to think and pray about what the Lord wants for me to do with these thoughts now, in light of Jesus. God was reminding the Israelites over and over again of their rescue from slavery. What did He want them to know? I think He wanted them to remember that the He rescued them, by His hand, and without any help from them, and that He did it because He loved them:
And because he loved your fathers and chose their offspring after them and brought you out of Egypt with his own presence, by his great power, driving out before you nations greater and mightier than you, to bring you in, to give you their land for an inheritance, as it is this day, know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other. (Deuteronomy 4:37-39)He also reminded them of their sin and the consequences of it. Even with the visual presence of God in the cloud or the pillar of fire, the people wouldn't trust His timing or His ways.
So, what do I need to be reminded of over and over and over? What truths do I forget as soon as I go to the next task? Unsurprisingly, the same thing as the Israelites. God came and rescued me from sin and death, and it was all Him, not me:
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)Sometimes I think it was me. And if it was me, I could have done it wrong, or messed it up, or failed. Or, I could get pleased with myself because of how great I was to choose God and do what He wants. That's when I need to be reminded of the second truth I tend to forget: I'm a sinner. I don't make golden calves, but I set up other idols in my heart. I worry and don't believe the promises of God in the Bible and I speak unkindly and I'm impatient and. . . the list goes on. Every day I need Jesus. Every day I need to be reminded of the truth of the gospel--that because of God's great love for me, I have Jesus and I am forgiven and made righteous only because of Him.
This morning I was praying about it again, and asking the Lord, "What do you want me to remember and never forget?" Unsurprisingly, really, was the answer, "I love you." Always, always, always, it's what I most easily forget and most vitally need to remember: That God loved me when I was yet a sinner and died to reconcile me to Himself (Romans 5:8), that God loves me as I remain a sinner in need of His grace, and that God will love me when I die (or He comes back) and I finally am no longer a sinner.
Me, you, all of us. . . God loves us wildly, and He wants us to know that. A few days ago, I was reminded of this song by Rich Mullins (one of my favorite, favorite artists): The Love of God
I hope that I, and you, will choose to remember (or, more accurately, let ourselves be reminded) daily the reckless, raging love of God that redeems and saves us.