Today, I read Psalm 111:
1 Praise the Lord! I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. 2 How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. 3 Everything he does reveals his glory and majesty. His righteousness never fails. 4 He causes us to remember his wonderful works.
Over these last several weeks Jesus has shown me how crucial it is to remember his promises, to us personally and also to everyone. It first struck me a few weeks ago when I was reading in 1 Samuel 12:7, when Samuel tells the Israelites: “Now stand here quietly before the Lord as I remind you all of the great things the Lord has done for you and your ancestors.” The Old Testament is full of this kind of repetition, remember when I freed you, delievered, when you cried out for help… And over and over again, God’s people would “do what was evil in the Lord’s sight.” Which basically means they would forget what He did for them and go to other gods and idols and worship them instead. Many times I get frustrated reading those texts thinking, don’t they remember!?! Why would they even think of worshipping something other than God! And then I realize that I’m no different. Maybe I’m not worshipping an Asherah pole (what the Israelites often worshipped with the Canaanites) but I feel the tension and temptation to worship more subtle and even more accepted things in our culture, like what Donald McCullough talks about in one of his books: things like the God of my comfort, God of convenience, God of individualism, God of success, God of materialism. These are subtle in our lives and yet so powerfully deceptive, easily leading us away from God, helping us forget what He is for and what our lives are meant for.
I read through the One Year Bible and as I read the Old Testament verses they’re partnered with the gospels and I’m beginning to see all of the parallels to the importance of remembering. Jesus knows our human nature, he knows easily we forget, even with God’s Spirit that guides us, leads us, heals us… So it’s cool that although Jesus cuts through all of the relgious tradition and ritual to show its true meaning, he does leave us with two powerful rituals he wants us to continue, communion and baptism.
What I find most compelling is how these are both centered on remembering what Jesus/God/Holy Spirit has done for us… as verse 4 above says, to remember his wonderful works. Communion remembers Jesus’ sacrifice, his body and blood given up for us. Everything is leveled at the cross and Jesus wants us to continually go back to that place. Baptism points to what Jesus has already done in our hearts… it’s a public act that says look at this changed and transformed heart. It’s remembering his wonderful works.
Jesus, I just pray that we never forget what you’ve done, what you’re doing right now, and what you’re going to do in the future. That you are always working. Help us remember and “ponder the deeds of the Lord.” Lord, help me remember that I am nothing without you, that when I try to do things on my own, it’s pointless.
How gracious and merciful is our Lord! 5 He gives food to those who fear him; he always remembers his covenant. 6 He has shown his great power to his people by giving them the lands of other nations. 7 All he does is just and good, and all his commandments are trustworthy. 8 They are forever true, to be obeyed faithfully and with integrity. 9 He has paid a full ransom for his people. He has guaranteed his covenant with them forever. What a holy, awe-inspiring name he has! 10 Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom. All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom. Praise him forever!