O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name,
make known his deeds among the peoples.
Sing to him, sing praises to him;
tell of all his wonderful works.
Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
Seek the Lord and his strength;
seek his presence continually.
Remember the wonderful works he has done,
his miracles, and the judgments he has uttered,
O offspring of his servant Abraham,
children of Jacob, his chosen ones….
Then he brought Israel out with silver and gold,
and there was no one among their tribes who stumbled.
Egypt was glad when they departed,
for dread of them had fallen upon it.
He spread a cloud for a covering,
and fire to give light by night.
They asked, and he brought quails,
and gave them food from heaven in abundance.
He opened the rock, and water gushed out;
it flowed through the desert like a river.
For he remembered his holy promise,
and Abraham, his servant.
So he brought his people out with joy,
his chosen ones with singing.
He gave them the lands of the nations,
and they took possession of the wealth of the peoples,
that they might keep his statutes
and observe his laws.
Praise the Lord! (NRSV)
Every day I read in the psalms. There are two reasons I do this. First, the psalms are the church’s prayer book. They are more than reading material; the psalms are meant and designed to be owned for us as prayers. And second, I need their reminders – a lot!
Remembering is a major theme throughout the entirety of Holy Scripture. It is just part of the human condition, fallen and forgetful as we are, to lose sight of what has taken place in the past. Today’s psalm invites us to seek the Lord through remembering all the good and wonderful works he has done.
For Israel, remembering meant continually having Passover in front of them. God redeemed his people out of Egyptian slavery and into a good Promised Land. They were to never forget God’s miracle through the Red Sea, his protection over them from other nations, and his provision of food and necessities in the desert.
We are to remember because we are made in God’s image and likeness. God remembers. God has an ongoing reminder in his divine day timer: fulfill the promises I made; keep the covenant I initiated with the people, even when they’re stinkers and forget who I am.
God does not forget. God always keeps his promises. For the Christian, all God’s promises are remembered and fulfilled in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Deliverance from sin, death, and hell; the gift of the Holy Spirit; and ongoing presence and provision are given to us graciously and freely by the God who loves and cares for his people. For us, remembering means coming to the Lord’s Table, entering the once for all loving sacrifice of Christ on our behalf.
One of the reasons I write and journal about my life and Scripture is to remember. Sometimes I forget. There are times when I am overwhelmed with life and it feels as if God has forgotten me. In such times, I look back into my journal and see what God has done. And I also peer into the psalms and see that God is active in his big world, always attentive to working what is just, right, and good in his people.
May your daily spiritual journey cause you to remember the Lord Jesus, to have him always before you.
“Now We Remain” by David Haas
We hold the death of the Lord deep in our hearts.
Living, now we remain with Jesus, the Christ.
Once we were people afraid, lost in the night.
Then, by your cross, we were saved;
dead became living, life from your giving.
Something which we have known, something we’ve touched,
what we have seen with our eyes;
this we have heard; life-giving Word.
He chose to give of himself, become our bread.
Broken that we might live.
Love beyond love, pain for our pain.
We are the presence of God; this is our call.
Now to become bread and wine; food for the hungry, life for the weary,
for to live with the Lord, we must die with the Lord.