Forgetfulness Can Be Fatal

Have you ever noticed the up-and-down track record of the Israelites? We see them worshiping God, enjoying His abundance, with their enemies on the run in one chapter, only to see them worshiping idols, barely scraping by, with their enemies closing in on them.  

What led to the downturn from freedom and abundant blessing to slavery and scarcity? I think it’s summed up in two words: They forgot. 

Asaph captures this idea in the 78th Psalm. And if we’re honest with ourselves, Israel’s history is our history too. 

There is a peril in our forgetfulness!  

“When we have much of God’s providential mercies, it often happens that we have but little of God’s grace, and little gratitude for the bounties we have received. We are full and we forget God: satisfied with earth, we are content to do without Heaven. Rest assured it is harder to know how to be full than it is to know how to be hungry—so desperate is the tendency of human nature to pride and forgetfulness of God.” —Charles Spurgeon (emphasis added)

When our thoughts about God begin to fade, so does our gratitude to God. When our gratitude to God begins to fade, so does our reliance on Him. 

The dictionary defines some important terms:

  • Ungratefulness—not giving due return for benefits conferred
  • Unthankfulness—not repaying the blesser with thanks

I don’t think anyone consciously chooses to be ungrateful, but if we don’t choose to actively remember our blessings—and our Blesser—we will become ungrateful. So what if we began to think differently about the definition of gratitude? 

  • Forgetfulness—to cease to think of something
  • Gratitudeto continue to think of Someone (with that Someone being God!) 

When we are continually thankful—when we don’t let our gratitude fade—it keeps God’s blessings at the forefront of our minds. Gratitude—continuing to think of Someone—makes us completely God-reliant. 

Moses had a good idea to help us to continue to think of God’s blessings—

Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:7-9) 

What if you posted reminders of God’s blessings all over the place? What if you made it almost impossible to forget God? What if you were constantly thinking of your blessings? 

Join us for our series called Fading Gratitude during the month of November.

Fading Gratitude

Looking back at the history of God’s people in the Bible, there is a distinct up-and-down cycle. The Israelites would be worshiping God and enjoying His blessings, and then we see them turning their back on God and needing Him to rescue them from oppressors. After God rescues them the people praise Him, only to slip right back into the same downward slide again. 

I believe their slipping away from God can be directly linked to their forgetfulness. 

If any of us allows our gratitude for all of God’s blessings to fade, we will experience the same slipping away. 

However, there is good news! If there is a peril in our forgetfulness, there is also a power in our thankfulness! 

Join us every Sunday in November as we uncover the dangers of fading gratitude, and learn about the blessings that come with our renewed thankfulness. If you cannot join me in person, check out our Facebook Live broadcast.

Be Careful

In the final instructions before the Israelites were going to enter the Promised Land, the book of Deuteronomy uses the phrase be careful fifteen (15) times:

  • Be careful not to forget
  • Be careful to obey
  • Be careful to avoid making idols
  • Be careful to honor your leadership
  • Be careful of your thoughts

In the dictionary careful is defined as being attentive to potential danger, error, or harm. It implies paying special attention to accuracy and being discerning.

God doesn’t ask this of me to cramp my style but to put me in a place where He can bless me. And not just me: being careful leads to generational blessings. Here’s my favorite be careful verse:

Be careful to obey all these regulations I am giving you today, so that it may always go well with you and your children after you, because you will be doing what is good and right in the eyes of the Lord your God.

Sometimes to be careful we have to slow down. We seem to want everything quickly and with as little effort as possible. Remember the cliché “Haste makes waste”?

What if you slowed down a bit today?

What if you took just a little time to be attentive to potential danger?

What if you paused long enough to discern if you were giving your best to God?

What if you took a moment to simply ask God to give you the wisdom needed to make a godly decision?

Being careful so that it may ALWAYS go well with you and your children after you….

Isn’t that worth it?

Scarecrows In The Melon Patch

Think about the imagery: some old clothes stuffed with straw, perhaps a burlap bag with a funny face drawn on it, and maybe a raggedy hat on top. Then hang this creation on a wooden pole, arms all akimbo, in an attempt to scare away birds from a melon patch.

Are you scared? I certainly hope not!

Yet this is exactly the thing God used to describe the fear His people were experiencing

Like a scarecrow in a melon patch, their idols cannot speak; they must be carried because they cannot walk. Do not fear them; they can do no harm nor can they do any good.

The scarecrow doesn’t hurt anyone, but he doesn’t help either. God said His people were afraid of a scarecrow. But here’s the amazing part: they made their scarecrows!

These people had forgotten God—forgotten His goodness, forgotten His blessings, forgotten His mercy, forgotten His strength, forgotten His wisdom, forgotten His power. Since they had forgotten that He was the One in charge, that He was the One who could protect them, they tried to create their own protection. They built their own scarecrows, and then became afraid of what they created!

I think we have done the same thing today.

We have forgotten God’s goodness, forgotten His blessings, forgotten His mercy, forgotten His strength, forgotten got His wisdom, forgotten His power. To protect ourselves we have made scarecrows of economic systems, and governments, and elected officials, and medicines, and insurance companies. And just like scarecrows, they can do no harm nor can they do any good.

That’s why fear is so rampant in our hearts: We are looking to the scarecrows we have created instead of looking to the Creator who gave us life.

Are you fearful? Do you feel panicky? Does your future seem ominous? If so, perhaps there are a few scarecrows you need to dismantle. Rip them apart and scatter the straw to the wind. And then begin to read God’s Word. Jeremiah also records these words from God to us

This is what the LORD says: “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD.

Understanding and knowing God’s kindness, justice, and righteousness will destroy your scarecrows and set you free from fear. Get rid of those scarecrows today!

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