Take Time to Remember
We just observed Memorial Day as a country, a time we set aside to remember and honor those who gave their lives for our country. Countless men and women have sacrificed their lives so that we can have the freedoms we enjoy everyday. Yet, how many days pass by where we don't give any thought towards those who protect us. We frequently live life without remembering those who have sacrificed for us.
Have you ever stopped to think why we have days set aside to remember events or people? It is because we are forgetful by nature, some of us more than others, but we truly are forgetful people. We live in the moment, and we have extremely short memories. We quickly forget what others have done for us. While days of remembrance are good, sometimes they have a negative side affect. We sometimes allow ourselves to think that if we remember what others have done for us on those certain days, we can live the rest of the days without giving them a second thought. The people of Israel had this problem. We have this problem.
God miraculously rescued the people of Israel from bondage in Egypt. Soon after leaving captivity, they came to the Red Sea. The Egyptians had second thoughts about letting all their slave labor leave and pursued. When the Israelites saw the Egyptian army approaching, they quickly forgot the power of God.
As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up and saw the Egyptians coming after them. Then the Israelites were terrified and cried to the Lord for help. Exodus 14.10
Had the Israelites stopped there this would have been an encouraging passage. When we are overwhelmed we should cry out to the Lord for help. However, the Israelites did not stop there; they went from crying to the Lord for help to complaining against the Lord.
They said to Moses: Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you took us to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us by bring us out of Egypt? Isn't this what we told you in Egypt: Leave us alone so that we may serve the Egyptians? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness. Exodus 14:11-12
How quickly they turned from crying to God to complaining against God and against Moses, His servant. Not long before this they had been rejoicing in their deliverance from oppression. Now, they were accusing Moses of bringing them out into the wilderness because Egypt lacked burial space. It did not take them long to become fairly sarcastic and fatalistic. Did they really think Moses' plan was to bring them out into the wilderness so that the Egyptians could slaughter them there and not have to worry about burying them? Did they really think the Egyptians wanted to kill their slave laborers? Did they think God showed His mighty power just to lead them to their death days later? What caused their drastic change in attitude? Listen to what the Psalmist says in Psalm 106.
Our fathers in Egypt did not grasp the significance of Your wonderful works or remember Your many acts of faithful love; instead, they rebelled by the sea--the Red Sea...They forgot God their Savior who did great things in Egypt, wonderful works in the land of Ham, awe inspiring acts at the Red Sea. Psalms 106:7, 21,22
They quickly forgot all God had done for them. When their circumstances changed and their future was uncertain, they turned on God instead of turning to Him. How quickly they recalled their “comforts” in Egypt while forgetting their oppression. How quickly they longed to return to serving the Egyptians and doing what was comfortable rather than to serve the living God.
Yet for all the grief we give the Israelites, we are just as guilty, if not more so. How quickly do we forget the good news of the gospel? How quickly do we forget our slavery to sin? How often do I reflect on the fact, meditate on the fact, that I was lost in sin and that God sent His Son to earth, to die on a cross for my sin so that I could be forgiven? How quickly do I turn on God in hardship rather than turning to Him? How many times has He delivered us, to have us doubt Him the next time a trial comes our way? We would do well to remember the Gospel each day, to take time to meditate and reflect on all that He has already done for us. When we turn on God and complain, it is normally because we have become self-focused. We get upset because God has allowed something to “ruin” our plans. We get caught up in the moment and lose sight of what is truly important. We would greatly benefit from spending less time thinking of ourselves and spending more of our time remembering what God has accomplished for us. Take time to remember.