Ecclesiastes 12:1 (NKJV)
1 Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, Before the difficult days come, And the years draw near when you say, “I have no pleasure in them”:
We Christians are called to be a people anchored and rooted in the past. We are not to be consumed by the present, by the worries of today, the fears or luxuries before us, but are to call to mind the promises that God has made to our fathers and the deeds and wonderful works that He has done. We are to be saturated with a sense of history, of tradition. After all the book in which God has chosen to reveal Himself is a book stuffed with history, with stories of men, women, and children who feared and served God.
So listen to the words of the book, the commands to remember:
“Remember this day in which you went out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the Lord brought you out of this place.” (Ex 13:3)
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” (Exodus 20:8)
“And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm…” (Deut 5:15)
“And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness…” (Deut 8:2)
““And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth….” (Deut 8:18)
“Remember! Do not forget how you provoked the Lord your God to wrath in the wilderness…” (Deut 9:7a)
“Remember what the Lord your God did to Miriam on the way when you came out of Egypt!” (Deut 24:9)
“Remember Lot’s wife.” (Luke 17:32)
Remember, remember, remember! We are to be a people of remembrance. For remember (!) that when our Lord Jesus instituted the Eucharist, he commanded us, “Do this in remembrance of Me.”
Our worship and our lives need to reflect this sense of grounding in the past. As James Smith writes in his book Desiring the Kingdom, “there is a deep sense in which the church is a people called to resist the presentism embedded in the tyranny of the contemporary. We are called to be a people of memory, who are shaped by a tradition that is millennia older than the last Billboard chart.”
But often we forget. Like our fathers we wander astray; we forget God’s goodness. We forget God’s promises. We forget the ways in which He has delivered in the past and so we are incapable of trusting him in the present.
“Thus the children of Israel did not remember the Lord their God, who had delivered them from the hands of all their enemies on every side;” (Judges 8:34)
“They did not remember His power: The day when He redeemed them from the enemy,” (Psalm 78:42)
“… you have forgotten the God of your salvation, And have not been mindful of the Rock of your stronghold…” (Isaiah 17:10)
And this is where we are as a nation. We have forgotten God, failed to remember the wonders that God has wrought in the earth. We are consumed with the present; overwhelmed with the hip; distracted by the contemporary. And what of you? Have you been captured by the spirit of the age or are you remembering God? Let us kneel and confess that we have often forgotten God.