“Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the LORD your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.” (Deuteronomy 5:15, NIV2)
“Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2:12-13, NIV2)
Have you noticed that we, as humans, tend to . . . Oh dear, what was it that I going to write? Oh yes! We tend to . . . Forget! And for some reason, the older we get, the worse it becomes! Almost every evening I have to ask myself: “Did I take my pill?” And all too frequently I can’t figure out where I put something or another. I am sure it is lost for good, and then, months later, I find it. We humans tend to . . . Euh . . . Forget! Yes, that’s it!
It’s no wonder that God created a special day for the Israelites to remember where they came from. They used to be slaves in Egypt, under heavy bondage. Who saved them from the impossible? God Himself. If only they had remembered, they would not have wandered away. They would not have had to face the Babylonian exile! Rest and peace cannot be obtained unless we remember how God rescued us!
All over the world and throughout history, people have built monuments so that they will remember. As we have already discovered, after all, forgetting is a human tendency! Take the “Phoenix” monument in Caen, France for example. The city had been largely destroyed by the liberation attempts, to the point that it took fifteen years to rebuild the city. This time, however, it was with brand-new, nice, straight, wide avenues, that certainly make navigating traffic easier!
In order to not forget what took place in 1944, Caen erected a monument of the “Phoenix”, a mythological bird that symbolizes the rising up from the ashes. It urges people to remember and to think about the cost of war. Peace and rest cannot be obtained unless we remember!
Do we remember the bondage we used to be afflicted with? We wandered away from God, and the future was bleak and hopeless. Remember the anxiety we faced on a daily basis? Remember the restless nights we spend tossing and turning? Remember how much we hungered for deliverance?
The danger of forgetting is that we may turn back to the life we desperately wanted to escape. After all “‘There is no peace,’ says the LORD, ‘for the wicked.'” (Isaiah 48:22, NIV2)
This is why we are urged to: “Don’t lie to one another. You’re done with that old life. It’s like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you’ve stripped off and put in the fire. Now you’re dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete.” (Colossians 3:9-10, MSG)
What if you fall back into your old lifestyle? Is there any hope? Just like the Phoenix, symbolizing the rising up from the ashes, God promises you: “I’ve wiped the slate of all your wrongdoings. There’s nothing left of your sins. Come back to me, come back. I’ve redeemed you.” (Isaiah 44:22, MSG). Like the Phoenix, you, too, can rise from the ashes. This is called rebirth!
“Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.” (Hebrews 4:11, NIV2)
Remembering is important after all!
Euh . . . Have you seen my wallet?
(To access the entire “Restful Repose” devotional series, please click here.)