God values remembrance. The Scriptures are abounding with commands to remember the greatness of our God: what He has done, what He has rescued us from, and what He has promised.
The word of God is to be written on our hearts and minds, tied as symbols on our hands, and bound to our foreheads (Deuteronomy 11). We are to teach our children and each other about God when we sit, when we walk, when we lie down and when we get up. The Holy Spirit was sent to be our guide, our comforter, and our helper in keeping our minds on the things that the Spirit desires (Romans 8).
Even in each of our stories, we are to remember what life was like when we were dead. Because that’s what we were – dead in our trespasses. Only by recognizing the work of our Savior can we enjoy new life, seeking the God who loved us enough to die for us, and raise us to new life by the power of the resurrection. If we make light of what we were rescued out of, then we make light of the power and goodness of our Savior. If we pretend that we had anything to do with that rescue, or that we earned it in any way, we steal glory from Jesus Christ.
Instead we must embrace our story, be honest about our sin, and remember what it is that causes us to rejoice – that “because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive in Christ.” (Ephesians 2:4)
The book of Deuteronomy emphasizes remembrance perhaps more than anything else. The Israelites, God’s chosen people, were rescued from slavery and the oppression of the Egyptian nation. They were carried through the Red Sea by God’s mighty hand, led through the wilderness despite their grumbling and discontent, and finally entered into the promised land, just as God said they would.
In the midst of their sin and rebellion, God, through His servant Moses, calls them to remembrance. They were given the ten commandments, which they were to bind on their hearts. They didn’t have the word of God in the form of the Holy Scriptures as we have the privilege to possess today. They were instead to speak it to each other daily, remembering God’s word and living by it, passing it on to future generations by telling the story over and over again.
And our story is still the same today. They often failed, and so do we. But because of Jesus’ death on the cross, all our rebellion and sin no longer condemn us. Instead we are drawn to repentance by the power of the Holy Spirit.
We are to remember Jesus’ death and resurrection above all else. The Gospel should continually flow from our mouths because it is what is written on our hearts. As Jesus said to His disciples when He instated the sacrament of communion, “Do this in remembrance of me.”
Our sinful hearts are prone to wander, prone to forget. But may our remembrance create in us humility, develop in us gratitude, and drive us to worship, because that’s what worship is: remembrance.
Through worship, we dwell on truth, and truth transforms us. By remembering God’s character and resting in His will, we bring glory to His name. Through worship He reveals Himself to us again and again. By looking back on where He has brought us, we can see ahead to where He will lead. God commands remembrance, because He knows our faith will be strengthened and our hearts will be drawn to Him through it.