"God spoke to Moses: 'Speak to the People of Israel. Tell them that from now on they are to make tassels on the corners of their garments and to mark each corner tassel with a blue thread. When you look at these tassels you'll remember and keep all the commandments of God, and not get distracted by everything you feel or see that seduces you into infidelities. The tassels will signal remembrance and observance of all my commandments, to live a holy life to God. I am your God who rescued you from the land of Egypt to be your personal God. Yes, I am God, your God.'"
Numbers 15: 37-41
"The Folly of Forgetfulness"
"People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed."
What do I need God to remind me of?
Is there a special blessing from God I need to never forget?
"The search for truth that occurs when we wake up and remember that God lives at the center of our being changes our perception."
"Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God."
Psalm 20: 7
King James Version
If there is anything that frustrates me, it is forgetting where I put things. This past week I couldn't find my checkbook. I searched high and low. In the car, in the bedroom, under the bed, even in the laundry. And guess where I finally found it? In my purse – the last place I looked!!
If it gives us any comfort, evidently our heavenly Father understands, better that we do, that His earthly children are a forgetful bunch. Repeatedly, He reminds us throughout Scripture that we need to "remember." In the book of Numbers, He instructed the children of Israel to put tassels on the hems of their garments to help them remember His commandments.
This reminds me of the visual image of tying a string around your finger to keep you from forgetting something important. I'm a big one for using post-a-notes, to help me remember things. As I've told some of you, your prayer requests with your names and needs are on post-a-notes stuck to the cupboards in my kitchen. These reminders stop me every time I walk by and I take a moment to pray for each name.
As I read about God's tassels, reminders to His children that He was God, I decided to take a look throughout Scripture to see what other things God specifically tells us to remember:
Remembrance #1 – Remember Who is Your Strength. In Exodus 13: 3, God told Moses to tell the people to "Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the Lord brought you out from this place…." Whenever you and I feel bound up by the pressures of life or when we feel bound by the chains of sin, God says, "Remember the strength of My hand will bring you through this problem and out of this terrible place you are in."
Remembrance #2 – Remember "Who" Created You. At Sinai, God spoke what we call the 10 commandments. Out of all 10, there is only one that asks us to "Remember," and it is the fourth commandment which says, "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy." And then in Exodus 20:11, the "why" we need to remember is answered. "For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it." In this command from God, we are told we need to take time to rest each week so we can remember "Who" made us. I would add that in his letter to the Hebrews, the Apostle Paul reminds the believers in the risen Christ that when we take time to rest, it isn't just to be reminded of "Who" made us in the first place, but it is also to remind us "Who" re-created us so that none can boast that the labor of our own hands saves us.
Remembrance #3 – Remember what you were and where you came from. I love the text in Deuteronomy 5: 15, where God wanted His children to never forget that they were servants in Egypt. Not so He could hold it over their heads, but in order that they would understand how high their God could lift them. I think this is such a beautiful thought and something we need to always remember as we deal with each other. We have all fallen short of the glory of God, yet often we are so quick to point an accusing finger at others whom we feel are "dirtier" than we. But in God's book of remembrance, He tells us to never forget we were all servants in bondage. We've all been in the pit and if not for the mighty arm of God, we would still be down and out. So God says, "Never forget where you came from. What's more, remember where I'm taking you!" WOW!
Remembrance #4 – Remember where your home is. Several months ago we studied about Lot's wife. In the book of Luke, Jesus said, "Remember Lot's wife" (Luke 17: 32, K.J.V.). If you recall, Mrs. Lot left Sodom, dragged by the hand. But she just couldn't let go of her children and her possessions in Sodom. Her heart was back in that wicked city so she turned to look back at all she was leaving. Jesus wanted you and me to remember that our home isn't an earthly one, so He reminded us to remember Mrs. Lot.
Remembrance #5 – Remember Me. It is one of the most touching stories in the Bible. In just a few hours, Jesus would be murdered. Around a table, He broke bread and drank of the cup with His closest friends. There in the twilight hours, He turned to those closest to Him and asked them to "remember" Him. The Apostle Paul told the Christians in Corinth, "As often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till He come" (I Corinthians 11: 26, K.J.V.). A simple act of communion which shows we "remember" Jesus our Saviour.
These are some of the most important things God asks us to remember. What folly it would be for us to forget "Who" is our strength; "Who" is our Creator; where we came from and where God is taking us; where our home really is; and finally "Who" has redeemed us. In Jesus' words – "Remember Me."
Today we have looked at the "tassels" God asks us to wear to "remember" what He has done for us, but I have to share just one more thing. Did you know our God is forgetful? The Bible tells us there is something God does not remember. In Jeremiah 31: 34 God gives you and me this AMAZING promise, 'I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." Can you believe it? A God who forgets my mistakes, my foul-ups, my goofs. And while sometimes we find it difficult to forget our soiled past, God looks at you and me and says, "I've forgotten. I don't remember!"
When a God this glorious, this loving and this gracious asks me to "remember," I'll tell you, I'll post-a-note on my whole house or wear tassels -- I'll do whatever He asks to "remember' Him and His loving-kindness toward me.
"Out of Him we have all come, in Him we are all enfolded and towards Him we are all journeying."
Julian of Norwich
to serve and
to be free.
Don't wait for the bread to rise.
Take nourishment for the journey
but eat standing, be ready
to move at a moment's notice.
Do not hesitate to leave
your old ways behind
fear, silence, submission.
Only surrender to the need
of the time – to love
justice and walk humbly with your God.
Set out in the dark.
I will send fire
to warm and encourage you.
I will be with you in the fire
and I will be with you in the cloud.
You will learn to eat new food
and find refuge in new places.
I will give you dreams in the desert
to guide you safely home to that place
you have not yet seen.
Sing songs as you go,
and hold close together.
You may at times grow
confused and lose your way.
Continue to call each other
by the names I've given you.
To help remember who you are.
You will get where you are going
by remembering who you are.
Touch each other and keep telling
of old bondage and of how
I delivered you.
Tell your children lest they forget
and fall into danger – remind them
even they were not born in freedom
but under a bondage which they no
longer remember, which is still
with them, if unseen.
Make maps as you go,
remembering the way back
from before you were born.
So long ago you fell
into slavery, slipped
into it unaware,
out of hunger and need.
You left your famished country
for freedom and food in a new land,
but you fell unconscious and passive,
and slavery overtook you as you fell
asleep in the ease of your life.
You no longer told stories
of home to remember
who you were.
Do not let your children sleep
through the journey's hardship,
keep them awake and walking
on their own feet so that you both
remain strong and on course.
So you will be only
the first of many waves
of deliverance on these
Pass on the whole story.
I spared you all
by calling you forth
from your chains.
Do not go back.
I am with you now
and I am waiting for you."
The Reverend Dr. Alla Renée Bozarth
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus