I am sad to admit when things are going well I forget God. I do not feel I need Him. I am no better than the Hebrews 2,000 years ago who originally were reminded not to forget God in the good times.
Special occasions such as Memorial Day prompt me to remember. Like all memorials it is designed to preserve the memory of a person or an event. American Legion Post 29 invited Lt. Col. John Easley to speak this year. According to him, “every day is Memorial Day for those who have lost a loved one”. Personally, Easley remembers the crew of an airplane shot down during Operation Desert Storm. I surmise that his memory is not just one of facts. Beyond remembering the date, place, and people in the plane lost to enemy fire, John relives a bit of his relationship with that group of people. One day he may remember a laugh they had together, another when they shared the pain of a problem back home. This is the Hebrew understanding of remembering; to relive the event in mind and heart. All too often Americans remember only by mentally recalling stone cold facts devoid of recollection with emotion. Remembering dear friends and family always causes me to circle back to God, my relationship with Him, His blessings past and renewed hope for God’s touches in my life to continue.
Facts alone do little to motivate many people. Facts, however, can open the door beyond recall to re-experiencing a time in life with a person. This can be very motivating and invigorating. It can stop a downward slide or renew an upward pull in life following a painful struggle. Memorial Day can be as empty as an extra day off or as full as sharing struggles and love with those we trusted and cared for the most who are now deceased. Remembering their examples, their mentorship, encouragement, and love in heart as well as head is a boost on life’s journey.
And so Moses wrote in his book called Deuteronomy “The LORD commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear [be in awe of] the LORD our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today.” Earlier in chapter six Moses bid his extended family, the thousands he led out of slavery and through forty years of wandering, to remember, which is to say to relive the past in such a way as to be encouraged in the present and properly pointed toward a future filled with blessing not pain.
Remember, said Moses, to stand in awe of God (Yaweh). They had seen his awesome power deliver them from slavery, mighty armies, internal squabbles and power plays, hunger, disease, and thirst. They had witnessed his visible (shekinah) presence and supernatural guidance with much more to come.
Remember, said Moses, to share your experiences and memories with those younger than yourself. Do not browbeat them, but when they ask give clear potent answers to why you do what you do.
Remember, said Moses, to remember how powerful and loving God is on behalf of those who trust and love God enough to follow his roadmap for each of us through a dangerous, sometimes painful, life on the way to oasis’ of blessing on. This is the intent and emotion the words “commands, decrees, and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe” was meant to have, not the negative depressing burdensome inflection it seems to connote today.
We live in a blessed land that is not perfect. God’s blessing was not meant for those in one geographic location alone. Rather, his blessing is offered to all who live in right relationship with him through faith in Jesus Christ, the Promised One. Rarely is the admonition “when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery” [socially, financially, physically, and spiritually] more applicable than to those living in America today.
America is prosperous and powerful, able to help and defend those in need and in trouble here and abroad. And so America shall remain as long as it is careful not to forget the LORD.