Summary: It's good to establish memorials and hold events to remember important occasions or people. What about when it comes to God? If we're not careful, our focus on God could fade to where we think of him less and less. We have to be careful to not forget God.
If you're anything like me, it's easy to forget things; especially if they're not written down. Researcher Karen Bolla lists the top three things people most often forget: 3. phone numbers. 2. where something is. 1. names.
Sometimes we can even forget something important like a special occasion. Davon Huss writes, "On a business trip to California, I realized I had forgotten my wife's birthday the day before. Expecting I was in big trouble, I went to the jewelry section of a department store. After explaining my situation the woman said, "I’m sorry sir, but we don’t sell anything as expensive as what you're going to need."
It's important to do things that will help us to remember. Memorial Day commemorates those who gave their lives serving their country. Webster's defines memorial as, something designed to keep remembrance alive. Having memorials is important so we're reminded of important events and people. If Memorial Day wasn't established some people wouldn't remember to honor the men and women who served and gave their lives to establish and protect our nation's freedom.
There's a 1991 movie titled, Never Forget, about a Holocaust survivor. If you went through it, the Holocaust is something you'd never forget. And you'd want to keep the memory alive so people would never forget what the Jews dealt with.
When the anniversary of 9/11 comes around, you see pictures depicting the phrase, we will never forget. Most people remember where they were when 9/11 happened. But over the years, unless you're someone who dealt with it on a personal level, the horror of it fades. So, remembrances are done to make sure we never forget.
It's good to establish memorials and hold events to remember important occasions or people. What about when it comes to God? If we're not careful, we could allow our focus on God and what he's done for us to lose their impact to where we think of him less and less. We have to be careful to not forget God.
1) Never forget God's lessons.
God told Moses that he would not be entering Canaan with Joshua and the Israelites. But God wanted Moses to make sure he impressed on them not to forget about God or his laws and decrees when they left the desert and inhabited the land of milk and honey.
Deut. 4:5-9, "See, I have taught you decrees and laws as the LORD my God commanded me, so that you may follow them in the land you are entering to take possession of it. Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.”
What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to him? And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today? Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them."
God knew a warning was necessary. They had been taught but they needed to continue in that teaching. They were told to observe God's laws carefully. And it wasn't just about them but it was also to make an impression on their children and others for God's sake.
The Hebrew word for forget can mean ignore, overlook, unmindful. God wanted his people to be careful to not ignore or overlook any of the lessons they had been taught all these years. There was a concern that the laws of God would not stay in their hearts and minds.
Unfortunately, as it would turn out, the Israelites did forget. They began to abandon God and followed the gods of the people they were driving out. Judges 3:7, "The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD; they forgot the LORD their God and served the Baals and the Asherahs."
It's not like they had a sudden case of amnesia and forgot everything they were taught; they began to minimize and ignore what they were taught. They had forgotten how great it is to have a God who listens to their prayers and acts on their behalf and communicates with them.
Instead of cherishing and appreciating that, they exchanged the wonderful God for false gods; gods of wood and stone. Gods who couldn't listen; wouldn't act on their behalf and who would offer no wisdom to live by.
They were instructed to remove all indications of pagan worship that the former inhabitants followed but they didn't do that. So, because they allowed some of these things to remain, they ended up falling prey to worshiping these false gods; neglecting what God had said and what he warned would happen if they did it.