Why do we so often need to be reminded not to forget! By ourselves, by our parents, by our spouses and by God. Depending on a number of things, including the time and circumstances of our lives, we all seem to have “selective memory”.
“Simply put, selective memory is a person’s ability to remember certain information and not remember other information. … In this case, a person is selecting information they want to remember while forgetting the rest. Selective memory implies a certain amount of intentionality behind it.” https://www.e-counseling.com/mental-health/what-is-selective-memory/
The Bible uses the word “remember” over 230 times, and not “forget” about 60 times. An important chapter is Deuteronomy 6 which states:
10 When the Lord your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, 11 houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, 12 be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. (vs. 10-12)
And so, in Psalm 103:2, the psalmist says to himself:
Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits. (NIV)
O my soul, bless God,
don’t forget a single blessing! (The Message)
Yahweh, you are my soul’s celebration.
How could I ever forget the miracles of kindness
you’ve done for me? (The Passion Translation)
As mentioned in my last post these benefits included:
3-5 He forgives your sins—every one.
He heals your diseases—every one.
He redeems you from hell—saves your life!
He crowns you with love and mercy—a paradise crown.
He wraps you in goodness—beauty eternal.
He renews your youth—you’re always young in his presence. (The Message)
It seems the psalmist was thinking back to that “unforgettable” event when God miraculously delivered the Israelites from the bondage and slavery of Egypt and then, taking them through the desert, gave them a new life in a new land free from oppression – and all this despite their failures all along the way!
So, how is all this relevant to us in the 21st Century?
The reality is that we also, in the midst of so much we have to be thankful for (even in the middle of a pandemic), forget the benefits that are ours in our relationship with God through Jesus. Read slowly Paul’s words in Ephesians 1, Pause at each miracle of kindness (in Bold) and worship.
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.
In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us.
With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.
13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. (1:3-14)
May we, like the psalmist be able to say:1 Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.