“But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the Lord your God and disobey his commands, regulations, and decrees that I am giving you today. For when you have become full and prosperous and have built fine homes to live in, and when your flocks and herds have become very large and your silver and gold have multiplied along with everything else, be careful! Do not become proud at that time and forget the Lord your God, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt.” – Deuteronomy 8:11–14.
“You’d forget your head if it wasn’t screwed on.” That is a phrase that most people have heard at one time or another. While it doesn’t make sense, there is some logic to it. It’s easy to forget things, isn’t it? That’s the way life is. Items to pick up at the store. Appointments to remember. Deadlines and work-associated things. Things to organize. Forgetfulness can strike anybody. But forgetting God? The Israelites did but we are not immune from forgetting Him either.
The story of the Israelites in the desert is pretty well known. God allowed them to wander in the wilderness for 40 years. As the people of Israel prepared to settle down in the Promised Land, Moses took time to warn them of certain dangers they must avoid. In Deuteronomy 8, he cautioned them about the perils of prosperity and self-satisfaction that they would face in their new homeland, imploring them not to forget about God.
Do not forget the Lord means consciously and consistently thinking about what God has shown us in the past, including His miracles of deliverance and provision, His abiding presence, His tender care, and His loving discipline. It also means obeying the “commands, laws, and decrees” in God’s Word.
Forgetting God even happens in the good times. Without realizing it, while in the midst of everyday living, one’s sense of the presence of God can become dulled and fade away. Remembering God requires some thought and time. Having all one’s needs met can cause a person to forget about God. When there is a deep need in our lives, we tend to seek God and ask for His help. When God meets our needs, it is easy to forget again.
Forgetting God usually results in some degree of self-sufficiency. After things have gone our way for a while, an attitude of self-sufficiency sets in. “I did it by myself,” creeps into our psyche. We forget what God has done and consider our success a personal accomplishment. All that God did is forgotten and the memories of God’s grace and provision fade in time.
Take time to remember God and all that He has accomplished in your life. Remember the road that God has brought you to in this specific time and place right now.
- Have you ever had spiritual amnesia? How does forgetting God and what He’s done weaken our spiritual growth?
- How do the consequences of forgetfulness have ripple effects that go beyond ourselves?