Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Remember Me

This is such a simple idea.  You'd think it would be easy for us to "Remember God".  But even biblically, there seems to be something wrong with God's children because He has to consistently remind them throughout the Bible to "Remember Me".  Many scholars of the text even say that perhaps this is one of the biggest things God communicates to His people. 

Remember Me. 

Why does He have to continue to remind us of this?  Since a lot of us only see sin has "bad things we do", then this is a perfect example of how that's NOT true--and how instead this is a great example of the doctrine of sin exposing itself naturally from within us as simply a heart issue. 

So let's begin with this, God's children has ALWAYS handled blessing terribly.  The children of Israel throughout the Bible is on this flip flop status with God.  He rescues them.  He redeems them.  He restores them.  He blesses them.  They rejoice and worship.  Then they get comfortable.  They get arrogant, rebellious, ungrateful, then they pull away from God.  God grants them the consequences of their disobedience, meaning He punishes them.  They cry out.  He has mercy on them.  Repeat cycle. 

Now there's two ways to see this kind of covenant relationship.  First one, don't you dare call them idiots.  I'm writing this blog because we do the same thing, ehh, weekly.  If you want a very good compressed listing of this cycle, read Nehemiah 9:7-36 when the Israelites are confessing their sins of generations of disobedience.  Guys, it's heart wrenching when you begin to notice this cycle.  But again, there's two ways to see this kind of covenant relationship.  Please go read it, I'll give you a little paraphrasing from verse 7-16. 

Lord, you saw the suffering of our ancestors of in Egypt, you heard their cry at the Red Sea.  You sent signs and wonders against Pharaoh, because you knew how they were being treated.  You divided the sea before them, let them pass on dry land, You hurled their pursuers into the depths.  By day you led them with a pillar of cloud, and by night with a pillar of fire.  In their hunger you gave them bread from heaven and their thirst you brought them water from the rock..... BUT THEY BECAME ARROGANT AND STIFF-NECKED.  

Now I know it's easy for us to read these stories and be like, "Dude, God just hooked ya'll up.  How are ya'll tripping like that?"  Yeah when you're reading it, it seems like on Christmas Day the Israelites are forgetting Santa Claus.  But think realistically, these events had to have happened over a period of time: days, weeks or months, which begins to resemble our crazy inconsistent Christian walks doesn't it? I love how I can easily go from being so in love with God in a worship service, singing songs of my undying and unrelenting pursuit and passion and desperation and commitment, and within 24 hours find myself lusting for youthful desires and pursuing death.

Symptoms of our sinful nature.

As long as we are in these bodies, we are wrecked and broken and desiring of death.  It's what our bodies deserve, and it knows it.  So that sinful nature still plucks and pleads and begs for the opposite of what God wants for us.  And this is why we should be so thankful for the Gospel.  That our salvation is not dependant on our begrudging submission and works.  That's why we should be so thankful for a righteousness that is not ours, but is of God in which He has chosen to mark us as holy and blameless before Himself because our faith is in Jesus.  That's why we should be thankful that we are justified before God.  Jesus, having absorbed all the wrath from our sin, from God knowing that we do not handle blessing well, He knows His children.  He saw it all through the Old Testament.  Even giving the Law to point to our flawed nature and in need of a Savior.  Eerie how nothing has changed huh? 

Now the second way to look at this kind of covenant relationship.  We'll go back to Nehemiah 9:17-18

"But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them,  even when they cast for themselves an image of a calf and said, ‘This is your god, who brought you up out of Egypt,’ or when they committed awful blasphemies."

The most amazing "but" you'll ever read in your life.  And the text goes on and on about how even though the children of Israel have completely dropped the ball and rebelled and stopped listening and stopped obeying, but God, being forgiving and gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, continues to choose to restore and redeem when He hear His children cry out for Him.  The second way to look at this kind of covenant relationship is "Look at the heart of God for His children."  Don't miss that. 

"Look at the heart of God for His children." 

Sorry, but this is the part that shouldn't make sense to you.  But for some reason, His grace and mercy proves to be sufficient.  And all He's asking us to do is, "Remember Me.  In your blessing.  Remember Me.  Remember who has redeemed you.  Remember who has restored you.  Remember who has blessed you.  Remember who has given you the influence.  Remember who has given you sex and marriage.  Remember who has given you health and prosperity.  Remember who has given you the capacity of love in relationships.  REMEMBER ME." 

I wept in church the other day because I realized that I was behaving like the Israelites.  God has invited me into fellowship with Him and has given me such a peace about life that I feel like I can prop my feet up on His warm cozy couch.  But my sinful nature has shown its ugly face and I've been ignoring His grace, ignoring His mercy, and the truth that I don't deserve the fellowship He's invited me into.  Today, let's Remember God.  Let's remember what He's done for us.  Let's not get comfortable in the blessing, but let's pursue finding this balance between humbly walking in grace confidently.  Lol. 

Humbly walking in grace confidently. 

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