“When the Lord your God brings you into the land He swore to your fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that He would give you–a land with large and beautiful cities that you did not build, houses full of every good thing that you did not fill them with, wells dug that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant–and when you eat and are satisfied, be careful not to forget the Lord who brought you out of the Land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery.”
– Deuteronomy 6:10-12 [HCSB]
I’m aware many aren’t willing to accept their tendency to forget the Lord and His doings; however, it’s a prominent theme presented throughout the Bible. Nonetheless, this propensity births the ministry of remembrance where God, through His prophets and apostles, urges the people of God to remember what “thus saith the Lord.” Sadly, One needn’t go too far in the Biblical record, and you’ll find in Chapter 3 of Genesis that Eve is having a full-blown conversation with the subtle serpent in the beginning. We know the result but notice the means; she actually misquotes what God commands. She shouldn’t have been discussing God’s dictate with a snake is obvious, but had she been more diligent in keeping God’s word before her mind’s eyes, our history may have been different. But who knows, perhaps it simply slipped her mind. Possibly, being enamored by the fruit, she forgot the specifics; the rest is history.
But we mustn’t be too hard on our “first parents” since the records of Israel’s sojourn and the later kingdom details their see-saw relationship between forgetfulness and faithfulness. I’m often in awe of God’s provision and protection of this nation exiting Egypt but equally confounded by their lack of trust and lapse of memory in the wilderness. To see what they saw in the desert wilderness of Zin, the leading of God, supplying of food, the preservation of clothes, and judgments against immorality, it’s a marvel they were “so soon removed” to negligence.
What’s even more impressive is the cause of their amnesia. It wasn’t primarily the surrounding nations distracting them with their idolatrous worship. Neither were they conquered by their neighbors and forced into disapproving lifestyles. No, it was the blessing itself; with its abundance, the Promised Land presented the perfect environment for their neglect. Coming into fully furnished houses made it simple to cast away the memory of living in tabernacles. The already primed wells with cool refreshing water made it easy to forget the split rocks that provided enough water for about a million people and their cattle—comparatively, walking amidst the olive groves and vineyards, seeing the lush fruit that hung from trees, who could blame their memory lapse of manna and quail that the Lord prepared daily for them?
Dear child of God, I believe it goes deeper than forgetting the “things” God did for them. God admonished them after they had eaten and were full, “Don’t forget the Lord who brought you.” To God, the effect of their blessed and wealthy place could cause amnesia, and God could so enrich them that they could forget God Himself. This caveat was not without its merits, for as human nature would have it, they did fail to acknowledge God. Furthermore, they so despised the Lord who brought them that they had to be ejected from their promised place, chastened by ruthless nations, and after a time, return to build and re-inhabit a land previously purveyed.
Our takeaway is this, let’s learn from history and not make the mistake of its repetition. We, too, must be careful not to appraise the blessing higher than the Blesser Himself. In Christ, the Lord has provided more incredible things for us who believe, and since God is no respecter of person, “how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” Take care, child of God, and do not forget God even when He lavishes His blessings upon you because it’s the “father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom,” and it should be our pleasure to commemorate Him who blessed us because He didn’t have to do it in the first place.