This is Part 3 of the Series “The Effects of Knowing God” For the previous post, click here.
[God] established a testimony in Jacob…
which he commanded our fathers
to teach to their children,
that the next generation might know them…
and arise and tell them to their children,
so that they should set their hope in God
and not forget the works of God,
but keep his commandments;
and that they should not be like their fathers…
a generation whose heart was not steadfast,
whose spirit was not faithful to God.
~ Psalm 78.5-8, ESV
How would it feel to be the generation that ruined it all? If the United States collapsed within the next 40 years, the fault could not be laid exclusively at the feet of millennials. At least 3 previous generations would also bear the blame for our slow slide toward destruction.
But… What if there had not been a slow slide, but a completely foolish string of choices confined to one generation? Can you imagine witnessing the destruction of your country, knowing your generation was responsible?
The generation of Israelites we read about in Exodus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, complained so much and possessed such faithless spirits that God prevented everyone twenty years and older from entering the promise land. Instead of enjoying the riches of Canaan, they ate dust (and manna… and quail…) until they became dust.
Those privileged people witnessed earth-shattering acts of God, received literal bread from heaven, and followed the Lord’s cloud by day and pillar of fire by night. To top it all off, they didn’t even have to fuss about clothes or shoes. God took such good care of them, they should never have worried.
And yet, what was their response at every obstacle?
“Why did you take us out of Egypt to DIE in the wilderness?!?!?”
For crying out stinkin’ loud…
They had issues.
Note the following passages:
“Remember this day in which you came out from Egypt, out of the house of slavery, for by a strong hand the Lord brought you out from this place…”
~ Exodus 13:3 ESV
“You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm…”
~ Deuteronomy 5:15 ESV
“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 Pharaoh 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…”
~ Deuteronomy 7:17-19 ESV
Remember, remember, remember…
Did the Israelites remember those things?
Do you want to know what they did remember?
“We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic.”
~ Numbers 11:5 ESV
Oh! The leeks!!!!!!
Every minute of slavery, beatings, and forced labor would be so worth it for another taste of those luscious leeks!
Do you recognize the absurdity of it all?
Let’s be honest with ourselves, dear friends: Don’t we do the same thing?
Do we forget the power of God and His bountiful care?
Consider these phrases:
“Lord, how could you let this happen to me?”
“Life was so much easier before I became a Christian.”
“Everything does not happen for a reason because _____________. I can’t believe God would allow that if He were actually in control.”
“God cannot exist. If He did, bad things wouldn’t happen.”
Faithlessness begins with Forgetfulness.
What mighty deeds has the Lord done for us? What should we remember?
We were once compelled by fear, consumed with self, condemned to death.
Our sin enslaved us.
Because of His great love, God sent His Son to deliver us. Jesus, born miraculously to a virgin, lived a life full of temptation (without sin!) and spent the final three and a half years of his life spreading healing and truth. Ultimately, Jesus sacrificed Himself for us, saving us from the wrath of God. As if that weren’t enough, he conquered death itself through his resurrection, giving us hope for our future resurrection and life eternal.
By His mighty hand and His great love, He delivered us.
That’s what God did for all of us—and it is no small thing.
Surely, you can bring to mind something more that God has done for you….
- Answered prayers?
- Requests denied that resulted in better outcomes?
- Deliverance from awful situations?
- Protection from evil?
- The peace of His presence in the storms of life?
God has done (and continues to do) immeasurably more than all we could ever ask or imagine…
If you have come to know God, do not forsake Him through forgetfulness. Thank Him in prayer for the blessings you see and the blessings you do not see. Steep yourself in God’s Word with the purpose of renewing your mind. Teach your children about His blessings. Tell your friends what God has done for you.
If you’re having trouble remembering because you are overwhelmed with distress, get a physical pen and write on physical paper all that God has given you. Be as specific as possible. Remember the greatest blessing (salvation), but do not neglect even the little blessings—things as simple as:
- access to running water
- a roof to cover your head
- a few bucks in the bank
- food in the pantry
- the ability to walk/see/hear/speak
- heating and air conditioning
- your job
- your loved ones
- fellow Christians
- access to the Bible
- freedom to worship
So many people live without these “little” blessings we so often take for granted.
Do not take them for granted. Do not forget where they came from.