The Magnitude of Memory
Know: He forsook his dwelling at Shiloh, the tent where he dwelt among mankind,
and delivered his power to captivity, his glory to the hand of the foe.
Read & Respond: A recent PCS has me buried in boxes and memories. Perhaps your experience is like mine: unwrapping 100 sheets of paper only to find a mismatched Tupperware lid coupled with a treasured keepsake. Upon catching glimpse of those cherished items I’m whisked away to another time and place. Few things in our lives wield as much power over our hearts and minds as memories. They are why first impressions stick and final interactions can be seared in our minds for a lifetime.
Memories hold considerable influence on how we perceive the present.
[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][tweetthis]As we seek to more effectively DWELL in Christ by increasing our awareness of His presence in our present, let’s turn our eyes toward remembrance to see how memory is a gift from God to help us and those who come after us in this endeavor.[/tweetthis]
Psalm 78 is a history lesson, a reminder to not allow history to repeat itself…again. God’s people took His presence and His presents for granted, turning to shameless sins and idolatry. And so He removed his dwelling among them (v. 60-61), allowing foreigners to invade the land, the tabernacle to be destroyed and the Ark of the Covenant to be carried off by invaders (the basis of the fictional movie Raiders of the Lost Ark for you movie buffs. The Ark’s whereabouts is still unknown).
Beginning in verse 1, the Psalmist entreats his listeners: “My people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth” (78:1). It is an invitation to dwell…to become fully present and aware. Reading further we find they are words that not only strengthen the lives of those who listen, but generations to come:
“[/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][T]ell to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and His strength and His wondrous works that He has done…That they should put their confidence in God and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments…” (Psalm 78:4, 7)
Is it really possible to increase the likelihood that future generations will “put their confidence in God”, “not forget the works of God”, and “keep His commandments”? As a mom of 3 young boys, I find myself doubtful. Perhaps you too doubt your ability to leverage this sort of impact or at the very least question what this might require of you. Thankfully our God is, as always, prepared to do all the heavy lifting. The only thing required of us is to fully engage with the memories and reminders He has already given us – in other words, to dwell.
Core Concept: Remember…so they will not forget!
Think About It:
- How do military moves tend to take you down memory lane?
- How can Bible reading help us gain wisdom and learn from past mistakes – ours or others’?
- How can sharing God’s story with others strengthen and reinforce our own faith?
This Week’s Praise & Worship Prompts:
Day 1: Praise Practice
To praise God we must remember why He’s praiseworthy. Create a new memory by learning Psalm 78:60-61. Read Psalm 78 listing who God is and what He has done. Who is God to you? Practice being fully present during worship by dwelling on the words you sing and giving full attention to what you hear.
Day 2: Malfunctioning Memory
Do you ever see yourself in a mirror and think, “Is that really what I look like?” Psalm 78 was a mirror for the Israelites, revealing a startling truth by contrasting His faithfulness with their fickleness. Establishing a personal routine of remembering, confessing and repenting of sin is key to spiritual health. The Greek word confession (homologeo) means “to say the same thing” so in confession we are agreeing with God’s perspective. The purpose is not to dwell on failures, but to remember the depth of God’s love. Which behaviors in Psalm 78 are you guilty of? How does God respond to our repentance (1 John 1:9)?
Day 3: Record to Remember
The Hebrew rendering of the word for “remember” (zakar) is to recall, be mindful, mention, and record. The Hebrew version of memory was communal as each member of the Israelite family had a responsibility to contribute to the collective memory by passing on individual memories. Start a journal for your family to record moments of victory in your lives (which may have started out as a struggle) noting God’s presence and participation.
Day 4: Land of Forgetfulness
Let’s examine the opposite of remembrance, forgetfulness. The Hebrew understanding of “forget” (shakach) includes unintentional acts of forgetting (to wither, be oblivious) as well as intentional acts (to ignore, cease to care). Regardless of intent, forgetfulness was so despised in Hebrew culture they often referred to hell or the abode of the dead as “sheol” meaning “land of forgetfulness” i.e. hell is a place where there’s no remembrance of God and His wonders are unknown (Psalm 6:5). Journal about a recently struggle and how forgetfulness played a part. How could you have called on God’s character?
Day 5: Stones of Remembrance
In Joshua 4:1-9 the Israelites are entering the Promised Land after 40 years slavery. God helps them remember by setting up stones to represent each tribe that miraculously crossed over the Jordan River. God is faithful in our forgetfulness. Read the following passages and write down what needs to be remembered (a promise, a command, an event) and how God helped His people remember them. Make your own stone of remembrance. Find a small smooth stone and a Sharpie and write DWELL on it.
|Passage||What to Remember||How God Helped Remind|
Talk About It: What helps you remember God as you go about your day?
This week’s materials