The story goes that three absent minded sisters were living in the same house. One night, one of the sisters was upstairs preparing to take a bath. As she began to put her foot in, she could not remember whether she was getting in or out of the bath and called to her sister downstairs to remind her. Her sister, who was downstairs, responded by telling her she would be up quickly to help her remember. However, once she arrived at the stairs, she couldn’t remember whether she was going up or down the stairs. The third sister heard what was going on and shook her head and muttered, “I hope I don’t ever get as forgetful as my sisters. Knock on wood.” She knocked on the table and then exclaimed to her two sisters, “I’ll be right up there and help you both as soon as I see who is knocking on the door.”
Memory is vitally important. The book of Deuteronomy was given to the Israelites as a book of remembrance. The book of Deuteronomy reminded them of the past faithfulness of God during their wilderness wanderings, their duty to God’s commands in the present, and the blessing and cursing of God in the future conditioned upon their obedience or disobedience to the law of God. The first four chapters reminded a new generation of Israelites about God’s righteous, yet tender, dealings with them and their forefathers during the past forty years of wilderness wanderings. Moses took the time to remind them of the past faithfulness of God to give them a confident faith in the present and for the future. Moses recalled the faithfulness of God despite their unfaithfulness to Him.
Just as the Israelites needed to be reminded of God’s faithfulness in the past, so we as Christians need to take time to remember where God brought us from and how He has faithfully worked in our lives throughout our Christian journey. The Christian life is a journey of many “ups and downs,” many changing circumstances, and a constant process of growth in conformity to the image of Jesus Christ. As we live the Christian life, God uses our past trials to remind us of His faithfulness in our present and future trials. The Bible tells us to “forget not all his benefits” (Ps. 103:2). The Psalmist said, “I will remember the works of the Lord: surely I will remember thy wonders of old” (Ps. 77:11). It is true that there are things that a Christian ought to forget (“…forgetting those those things which are behind…” Phil. 3:13) such as past sin or past victories if they become a distraction to the present. However, we are encouraged to remember all that God has done for us and how He has been faithful to us. This recall of the past helps be strong in the present and stay strong for the future. 1 Chron. 16:12 says, “Remember his marvelous works that he that done…”