In this lesson, we will use the examples of the Israelites to give us warning. We want to look at what God wants us to remember, what we actually remember most of the time, and finally what God will remember about us.
What we are supposed to remember
God wanted the Israelites to remember that they had been slaves in Egypt. He repeatedly told them to remember this — Exodus 13:3; Deuteronomy 5:15; 15:15; 24:18,22. Why would God want them to remember that they used to be slaves? It would make them appreciate what God had done for them. In the same way, we should remember that we used to be slaves to sin so that we appreciate where we are once we are saved.
Another group of things God wanted the Israelites to remember were His commandments — Numbers 15:38-40; Deuteronomy 8:1-4; Psalm 103:17-18; 1 Chronicles 16:15. We also are told to remember the commandments of God (2 Peter 3:1-3). This is probably the hardest one. God expects us to learn what He wants and to remember it. We cannot always be looking to the Bible when we want to do something and want to know what He says about it. We need to learn His commands before we need them and remember them.
God also wanted the Israelites to remember the miracles He had done for them (1 Chronicles 16:12). Psalm 105:5; Deuteronomy 7:18; Nehemiah 4:14; Deuteronomy 4:9; Deuteronomy 9:7; Deuteronomy 24:9; Matthew 16:9 all serve to say the same thing in different ways.
God also wants us to remember what God has done for us — Ephesians 2:12; 2 Timothy 2:8.
What we actually remember
We find that the Israelites repeatedly forgot what God wanted them to remember. Deuteronomy 32:18; Judges 3:7; 1 Samuel 12:9 says that they forgot God. Numbers 11:5 shows that they remembered something about Egypt (good food), but not that they were slaves there. Psalm 78:11 tells us that they forgot His works. Psalm 78:34-43 shows that they did remember something but not enough. Psalm 106:7,13 — They rebelled because they did not remember His works. Ezekiel 16:43 — They did not remember their early days. Jeremiah 2:32 — They had forgotten God for too long. Even though God had repeated warned them to remember what He had done for them, they kept forgetting. Are we any better today? Do we remember what God did for us or do we just remember the fun we used to have when we did not worry about what God said?
What will God remember about us?
In 2 Kings 20:3 Hezekiah asks God to remember how he always did what was right. God listened to that prayer and gave Hezekiah 15 more years to live. Can you pray a prayer like that and expect God to agree that you always did what was right? Nehemiah was a very bold man before God, asking God to remember all the good he had done (Nehemiah 5:19; 13:14,22,31). But on the other hand, Nehemiah also asked to God to remember all the bad that Sanballat and Tobiah had done (Nehemiah 6:14; 13:29). Will God be remember the good you have done or the bad?
In Psalm 25:7, David asks God to not remember the sins of his youth. I believe God answered his prayer. You see, it is not that we never do what is wrong, but when we have a pure heart before God and do what He says to do, He will forget the evil we have done and remember the good about us. Unfortunately for some, it also works the other way. If we turn away from God, He will forget the good we have done and remember the evil — Ezekiel 18:22,24.
Ecclesiastes 12:1 — Remember your Creator while you are young, then you can look back and remember your life with joy and know that God will remember you for good.
Luke 17:32 — Remember Lot’s wife.
Revelation 3:3 — Remember from where you have fallen and wake up.