I was reading recently that in the Bible, the word “remember” occurs over 250 times. In the original language this was both in Hebrew and Greek. Many times, especially in the Torah (first five books of the Bible constituting the Law), the context is God teaching and imploring the Israelites to remember.
Old Testament Times
Indeed, much of Jewish traditions are all about remembering the past. Passover or Pesach is not just an annual Spring festival, but it is a special time when Jewish families come together and remember what God did to save His people when they were held in captivity in ancient Egypt. As something of a birth certificate, Passover was instituted in Exodus chapter 12, verses 14 & 15:
This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord - a lasting ordinance. For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast.
The importance of remembering what the Lord did for the nation of Israel, and more so, remaining obedient to His commandments. was a recurring theme throughout the Old Testament. Time and time again, the people would stray and forget, and God would have to send them a Godly leader or prophet to help steer them back. Additionally, the punishment for forgetting would often be suffering delivered by enemy nations of Israel.
Remember Jesus Always
Even in the days of the early church and New Testament, a big motivating driver for the churches around the Mediterranean to write letters to one another was to help remind them of the events of Easter and Jesus’ ministry. Four of Jesus’ companions became known for their respective records of the Good News.
During his ministry, Jesus was also clear in instructing believers to remember and commemorate the events of the Last Supper. In Luke’s record, chapter 22 verse 19, Jesus says:
And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
Each time we celebrate and have communion, we are called to remember what Jesus did. Interestingly, the Last Supper was during the time of Passover… so Jesus’ command to commemorate was super timely and the double need to remember makes the Last Supper that much more meaningful.
When we do remember and respect the past – be it a commandment from God, or just other important things from our lives, there is invariably an action that is required. Whilst it is important to remember God’s commandments, it is equally important that we obey them. If we were asked to remember something, invariably we will need to recall the information for the benefit of sharing it or acting upon it.
Applying this to everyday situations in life makes this quite intuitive. How often are we asked to remember to get milk or basic needs as we head out the door to do grocery shopping? This may be an application in the more mundane and trivial. However, with the bigger and more important things – being obedient and consistent to our memories drives our values and character. The Ten Commandments are just rules to be followed, but when we take them to heart, they collectively give us a unity with God and our obedience is a outward sign of the inward love within. As 1 John chapter 5 verse 3 states,
In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,
Keeping his commands clearly requires us to know and remember them. God’s word has countless gems of encouragement and affirmation. When we declare and live out His truth in our lives, achieving a living agreement with God helps us to transform our minds and thoughts to be more like Jesus and God.
As we work daily on remembering more and more of God’s Word, He will imprint these truths in our hearts and minds. Slowly, surely and steadily, we become transformed to be more like Jesus.
Consider – what are some of the negative thoughts and doubts we have regarding our circumstance and life? Start by writing it down; writing it down makes it visible and helps with recalling our situation.
Having done that, let us then go into God’s word and finding an applicable passage from the Bible that teaches what God says and thinks. The heart issue and Kingdom value invariably may shed some light on the alignment and transformation required. As we meditate and consider God and His word, we open up our mind to hearing and seeing the world around us the way God would have us operate.
In this way, let us seek first His Kingdom and God will not just provide for us in our daily needs, but also enable our lives to flourish for His greater glory. As we press into God, during times of crisis and struggle, He will inspire us and guide us to be fruitful. It is interesting that one of the first commandments during creation is in Genesis chapter 1, verse 22:
God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.”
So, as we practice obedience, and faithfulness to God, remembering His commandments and following them, God will co-labor with us and help us bear fruit. Remember this, that God is with us even when we cannot see Him working; God is for us not against us. Be blessed.
Nic Lee works by day as a Business Analyst Consultant whilst, outside of business hours, maintains an IT support & website services business. He volunteers with 89.9 LightFM (Christian Community Radio). Nic has served for over twenty years in his local church, in worship, technology consulting, life group leading and event management.