Forgetting and Thankfulness
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One of the greatest sins of the Jews was that they forgot God and His wonders and miracles He had done for them in the land of Ham (Egypt). They forgot His miracles and what God was capable of. They forgot to tell their children and it passed eventually from their collective memories.
As they forgot, they automatically lost the awareness to be thankful to the Lord for all His mercies and how He had carried them through such tough days, all He had provided for them, the miracles; both big and small were consigned to an irrelevant history that they felt had no meaning for them today in their BC modern world.
This is a bit like some Western Countries today, who feel the Word of God is 'not relevant' to them, when it is in fact only themselves who have made it not relevant. If they would approach it with an open mind then they would find it answers most of their problems and is highly relevant, because 'Righteousness exalts a nation.'
Proverbs 14:34 -- Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.
Psalm 106:21 -- They forgat God their saviour, which had done great things in Egypt;
Psalm 106:22 -- Wondrous works in the land of Ham, and terrible things by the Red sea.
Have you ever done something for someone and then it seemed that the person was not thankful enough or didn’t appreciate what you had done? Maybe you had made some sacrifices to help them -- maybe you had given them money, helped them through a hard time, set them up in business, visited them when they were sick. Perhaps you had loaned them something or done a favour for them, watched their kids, baby sat for them, arranged them to get a visa or introduced them to someone who could help them go up in the world. All these things, when we do them for others, we remember usually quite clearly!
The first thing is that 'Forgetting' we can say is a sin in some ways. We usually don’t forget when we have 'done stuff' for others, but we may forget when they have done stuff for us. When this happens, our minds automatically are prone to think in a more negative way. This leads often to a deteriorating relationship with people who have helped us in the past, and about their good deeds toward us we have, for some reason, forgotten. Yes, I think this is a sin, but it is also human nature to some degree.
Remembering what people have done for us and thinking about it, especially if it was done with a clean and righteous motive is a major spiritual step forward for us. Why is this? Because firstly we become more like the Lord, who doesn’t forget, and secondly because it should improve our relationship with such people and broaden our view of them in a positive way.
Hebrews 6:10 says: For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have showed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
That means God remembers the good both we and others have done in the right spirit. He doesn’t forget it. Jesus says in another place that even if you give a cup of water to someone in the name of a disciple you will receive a reward. (Matthew 10:42). In other words, even the smallest good deed merits its own level of reward in the Kingdom of God! That should be enough motivation, if we really believed that verse, to go around everywhere doing good, just like Jesus.
Matthew 10:42 -- And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.
It’s just all too easy for us humans to forget, or conveniently misplace in our memory banks some of the very valuable things other people have done for us. I believe we should change in this area and give due credit, thanks and respect to others for this, even if it goes against our (sinful) human nature to do so.
I look back at my own life and see people everywhere giving to me, helping me, and sacrifi cing to make my life and ministry easier and successful. Some of these people I may have forgotten about completely, but you can be sure the Lord has not forgotten them according to verse above in Hebrews 6:10.
A man once drove my family and I and some other missionaries over 500 miles in one night from northern Georgia to Tampa Florida, in order to help relocate our mission team and our children in the new city we were to stay in for a year.
I have always looked back at that middle-aged man in a we, at how he drove non-stop virtually through the night, and saw us accommodated the next morning in a safe location before turning right around and driving the 500 miles back to his home.
I remember some of the people who have given me a car, their car, for a gift, or large and small gifts of money, which the LORD showed them to give, and without which my efforts to preach the gospel would have been a lot harder.
An African Christian man who knew when I was first going to China as a missionary, hearing from someone else that I had no watch, immediately took off the expensive watch from his wrist and insisted I have it. I still wear it today after 15 years. I was touched by his generosity seeing it was quite a valuable watch.
I needed a house one time in China in 2005 for a legal requirement and a Christian businessman in Switzerland, upon hearing I needed to buy a house to solve a certain problem, immediately sent me the money. The house today is used for the Lord in China.
But that is also the way most of us are or should be, according to our abilities, if we love the Lord, we are made in the image of God, and one thing the Lord enjoys is giving, so He can see our joy become full. We therefore likewise enjoy giving simply because we have the imprint of God in our souls and likewise partake of His joy of giving! Praise the Lord.
John 16:24 -- Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.
The truth is the biggest blessings are reserved for those people who give unselfishly and not for those who receive.
Acts 20:35 -- I have showed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
So my suggestion to you is--to think of the people who have helped you in the past, think of what they have given you in goods, service or finances and think for a while about these people, this is especially good to do if you have problems with some of them today. REMEMBER, like the Lord, what they have done should help you appreciate such people; spend some time praying for them also.
This should solve some problems, while helping you to think positively about them, and if you don’t have problems with them, it should remind you what a wonderful Christian family we belong to.
You could make a list today of such people and ask the Lord to bring to your mind all they have done for you, think about what it may have cost them and go from there. You are blessed because God used a person or persons to help you. Be thankful for them, bless them and pray for them, just like the Lord does.
1 Corinthians 4:7 -- For who maketh thee to differ from an other? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?
Secondly, and returning to the beginning of this article, it is just as important to remember all that the LORD HAS DONE FOR YOU. There are many benefits to this. One is that it will ward off negative thoughts in your mind; it will encourage your faith and what God has already done for you, so encouraging you that He is more than able to do greater things for you in the present and future! Primarily though, it is doing what God really likes and that is causing you to remember His Greatness and praising Him for what He and really no other person could have done for you!
1 Samuel 7:12 -- Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying, Hitherto hath the LORD helped us.
On top of this it is important that you have established these testimonies in your life of what God can do in order to share with others, both believers and others, and also to teach your children so that you may declare to the generation that is yet to be born what the Lord has done for you. Look at just a few of these confirmatory verses:
Genesis 18:19 -- For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.
Psalm 9:11 -- ing praises to the LORD, which dwelleth in Zion: declare among the people his doings.
Psalm 22:31 -- They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.
Psalm 66:16 -- Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul.
Psalm 73:28 -- But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.
Psalm 78:6 -- That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children:
Psalm 96:3 -- Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people.
Psalm 126:2 -- Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them.
Psalm 126:3 -- The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.
Psalm 145:4 -- One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts.
Isaiah 66:19 -- And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, t o the isles afar off, that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles.
Take therefore the necessary time to thank the Lord for His past miracles and favours to you. Take more time to meditate how truly awesome that was, when you were in dire straits or something happened to 'save you' that only God could do. Don’t forget Him and thank Him anew and regularly for His power and ability and this will surely bring a very powerful and positive benefit to your life. Sing to Him and praise Him and tell God how great He is for His awesome goodness to you, His love in sending Jesus Christ and His daily favour to you as His child! Pray that you can know Him more and partake of His good thoughts to you in a greater way. Praise the Lord.