Remembering to Remember
By Mr. Doug Bachorik
A few days ago, a student asked if he could borrow a luggage scale to use as he packs. He will be returning to his home country at the end of the school year, and does not want to pay overweight luggage fees at the airport. After telling him I would bring the scale from home, I quickly forgot all about it. The next day he asked again. This time I put the scale on our dining table so that I could put it in my motorcycle box. Then I left for the Bible college ... and the scale stayed home! Yes, age may be a factor here, but am I the only one who sets reminders on my mobile phone, and still forgets? I doubt it. Forgetting is so easy, but remembering takes work.
The Lord, who knows our nature completely, emphasizes the need to remember. In the book of Deuteronomy alone there are 13 commands to remember:
It is important for God’s people to remember, so that we can live fully in the fellowship and blessing of God, grow further into the image of Christ, and be a clear witness of the power of the gospel. Remembering helps us to obey the Lord.
So, what are we supposed to remember? And how are we supposed to remember?
In a sense, the entire of book of Deuteronomy is one huge memo. It reminded a younger generation of Israelites (those who were unborn or under the age of 20 when the 10 spies brought their evil report of the promised land) of all that God had done. It is a reminder to us of powerful truths. Truths about our Lord. Truths about ourselves. We must never forget that:
And, we must not forget God Himself! Have you ever gone through a day and realized at the end that you had not thought about the Lord? You never asked for His wisdom or guidance, never recognized His hand in some event, never praised Him, or resisted temptation because of His conviction? Although all people who have truly been redeemed do have the Holy Spirit in them, they can still forget God. So, we are commanded to remember our God. Solomon, in concluding his meditation on the uselessness of a life without God, tells us to remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth. The apostle Peter stated that we can sometimes forget we are even saved!
As one friend use to say, we have bad ‘rememberers’.
How can we remember? The Lord gives us at least four means of recall in Deuteronomy. RWTS: Read, Write, Talk, Sing.
First, the Lord has given us His word to READ. Deuteronomy, and the rest of the Bible, was written to be read: thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing (Deut. 31:9). Daily, attentive reading of God’s word fills our minds with truth, reminding us of who God is, what our relationship to Him is, and what we are to think, say, and do. And these are things we often forget. The more you read God’s word, the more it inhabits your mind, and is used by the Holy Spirit to remind you of important truths at just the moment you need to remember them.
Connected to this, of course, is to WRITE. We already know that when we write things down we have a better chance of remembering. The physical act of writing, the thinking, the seeing, the re-seeing of what you wrote – all of this helps you remember. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thine house, and on thy gates (Deut. 6:9, 11:20). Even the future kings were to write copies of God’s word: ... he shall write him a copy of this law in a book (Deut. 17:18). Write verses from your daily Bible reading into your planner, or on an index card, or in a journal – that will help you remember the truth you learned. Keeping a prayer journal where you list your prayer requests, and then enter God’s answer, continually serves as a reminder that God hears and answers prayer.
Have you ever noticed that when you ask someone to help you remember something, you usually remember it without their help? TALK will help you remember. Deuteronomy 11:18-19 emphasizes the importance of talking – in the home, in public worship, every day, everywhere. Tell someone something true about God, and you will remember it better yourself.
Lastly, SING! Did you notice the huge song near the end of Deuteronomy? In chapter 31 (verses 19 and 21), the Lord commanded Moses to write and teach a song to Israel. As the Jews sang it, they would remember everything else in the law. Singing is a unique and powerful way to drive information into our very being. God commanded that we sing so that the word of Christ can dwell in us richly (Col. 3:16). Recently, BJMBC musicians and several church choirs spent months practicing choruses from Handel’s MESSIAH. Now, all of us are hearing in our minds the glorious truths of Christ’s first coming, His sacrifice, and his future, glorious return. These truths will not ever leave us.
I started out by saying that remembering is hard and forgetting is easy. Maybe remembering is not so hard after all. God told us to remember and He told us how. Just remember: RWTS!
Reading, learning, growing. God calls us to be changed through His Word. At BJMBC, our goal is to speak truthfully and clearly about that Word, while we prepare a future generation of students to proclaim it.