If we could put God and man in one, stark contrast, it might be this; God remembers, and humans forget.
Even as the flames crackled and burned at the bush, one of the Lord’s great characteristics was expressed: “So God heard their groaning; and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” (Exodus 2:24).
God remembered his covenant. Humans constantly forget their responsibilities. As my grand dad used to say, “I have a good forgetter.” In Scripture human beings are always being urged, it seems, to remember something. So why is it that we forget so often?
God calls on Israel to “remember the Sabbath, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8). It seems some remembered that it was Saturday, but had failed to honor that day as holy. When it came to their treatment of other people, they were to recall their own hard times: “You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt …” (Deuteronomy 5:15). Forgetting their own trials, you see, would lead to their shabby treatment of others. He who humiliates another has forgotten the times when he was humiliated.
The Wise man urges us to “remember our creator” in the “days of our youth” (Ecclesiastes 12:1), as if he was aware that in the rush of youthful activities we might forget God. In the same way, when the Lord’s Supper was instituted, the Lord declares how we are to partake of the emblems: “Do this in remembrance of me” (1 Corinthians 11:25).
When we forget the Lord’s sacrifice on the cross, it’s not so much a failure of memory, but a failure of gratitude. We suffer from spiritual Alzheimer’s. When a teenager “forgets” what his curfew time was when he’s having fun, is the problem really his memory, or something else? When a husband forgets his anniversary, is the problem really his memory, or is it something else? When a Christian forgets that it’s Wednesday night and he should be in Bible study, did he really forget, or is the problem something else? When a Christian walks away from God and church, is it really a failure of memory, or a failure to be serious about his commitments?
“And when he had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me” (1 Corinthians 11:24).
This Sunday, gather round the table, and remember.