God’s Word is brimming with verses that call us to forget, and plenty more telling us to remember. Others talk about the new things that God is doing and continually unfolding for us, and his ability to do astounding things that we’re yet to witness or enjoy.
An ever-creating God who never changes and calls us to forget and remember? Sound double-minded. Unless it’s consistent with your character.
If continually doing new things is intrinsic to your character, then remaining faithful is to be continuously doing new things. To stop creating would be to change. It would be acting in opposition with your integrity.
True also, is God’s desire to forget and remember. Because they never seem to relate to the same things.
When God’s Word calls us to remember, it’s usually to remember His faithfulness, grace and mercy towards us. It’s to lay markers and memorials of his rescue plan and salvation gifts. The Ebenezer was a reminder of how God acted to free the Israelites from slavery miraculously. It was a nudge to recalling the freeing from captivity; the God who parted the sea amidst their enemies to bring them to a place of freedom; the God who provided for them in desert places. He wants them to remember this; to remember His faithfulness. Because the same liberty-securing God never changes.
But the flesh-dead lives from which we turned away to embrace His salvation gift? Put ’em to rest. Forget about the sin that so easily entangles. Forget about the former things – your life that was in rebellion towards God. Dwelling on the past will stop you from entering into the promised land of abundant life—the new things that God is doing. It will stick us you the mud of unworthiness and regret. Remembering His work, though, reminds us over and again that is by His stripes that we are healed.
God asks us to remember and forget because he knows us. He knows what we need to forget and what we need to remember.
Remember the cross again and again, because, on the cross, a price was paid to bring us from death to life.
“God rescued us from dead-end alleys and dark dungeons. He’s set us up in the kingdom of the Son he loves so much, the Son who got us out of the pit we were in, got rid of the sins we were doomed to keep on repeating.”
He wants you to remember his salvific work in us, the orchestration of His rescue plan. But He also wants you to know that the dead-end alleys and dark dungeons are old news. Old life. Dead meat. Worth forgetting.
He got rid of the sins we were doomed to keep repeating. He wants us to forget about that because they will only hold us in dead places. But remembering how He acted, that brings life and more life.
What about the role that the rescue from dead stuff plays in encouraging others? The potential for our stories and our journey through valley places to bring life to others? Sure, there’s value in it. Great value. But the value is not in loitering in the land of dead bones, but the good news of how Jesus leads us out of that valley into the new life of the Spirit. Jesus is the hero of our story, not the dead bones.
Misery may love company, but misery is no place to camp.
Hebrews 4:15 says “we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way – yet did not sin”.
Empathy brings a shared understanding to a valley or circumstance, but in Christ, it’s purpose is to bring us to places of strength, joy and freedom.
Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. Never forget it!