August 20, 2015
“I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.” Genesis 9:13-15. God’s judgment had just been poured out in a flood upon all the earth. Pure evil had corrupted all of God’s creation except for Noah, his family, and some animals. God directed Noah to build an Ark in order for them to be saved through the coming judgment. The rain fell and the fountains of the deep exploded, and yet those few people who obeyed God were protected. The rains finally stopped, the Ark eventually came to rest upon dry land, and God made a covenant to never destroy creation by flood again. That covenant was represented by the rainbow, and to this day the rainbow still appears as a sign of God’s covenant to never again destroy the earth through a worldwide flood. He remembers His promise, but we easily forget. It wasn’t long before sin once again crept into the lives of that handful of people. How could they have forgotten the evil corruption that had brought Judgment? How could they slip back into sin so soon? Today we seem to have forgotten the evil of Noah’s day and many are participating in the same perversion that corrupted the entire earth. There’s even a group who have taken the rainbow as a symbol to promote their sin and mock God. How soon we forget.
Time passed and people once again were immersed in demon worship, paganism and perversion. They had an idol for everything, but failed to recognize God Almighty. Abraham was called out of this pagan culture and came to know and follow the one true God. His grandson, Jacob, fathered twelve sons who established the twelve tribes of Israel. Eventually a drought covered the land and Jacob, his sons, and their families were in danger of death. They were chosen by God and He provided a way to protect this family from death by leading them to Egypt. They lived and prospered there for many years, but a Pharaoh came into power who feared the Israelites. His fear caused him to enslave the Israelites. Living was harsh and they suffered under the slavery they were in. When the time was right, God provided a way out. Moses was called. He had been born to Hebrew parents of the tribe of Levi, but was raised as an Egyptian in Pharaoh’s court. Circumstances in his life caused him to flee into Midian where he spent 40 years. One day God talked to him from a burning bush and told him to go back to Egypt and tell Pharaoh to release the Hebrews. It took a while, but after many plagues were sent upon Egypt, Pharaoh allowed the Israelites to leave. They had entered Egypt as a family but when they left they were a nation. It was important to remember what God had done for them and to honor Him. “And Moses said unto the people, Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the LORD brought you out from this place: there shall no leavened bread be eaten.” Exodus 13:3. History would be quite different if the journey from Egypt to the Promise Land had been filled with joy and faith in the Lord. If they had only remembered what God had done for them they wouldn’t have feared entering the land God had promised to Abraham. God had sent plagues upon Egypt until Pharaoh let them leave, He parted the Red Sea to allow them to cross as if on dry land but closed it upon the Egyptians who were pursuing them, God led them with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, yet they forgot all the LORD had done for them. When faced with the giants who lived in the land of Canaan, the land God had promised to them, they would not trust Him to be with them in conquering the giants living there. Their lack of faith caused them to wander for 40 years in the wilderness, but God still provided for them. How could they have forgotten God’s power.
The Israelites had selective memory. “And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat? We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick:” Numbers 11:4-5. They forgot the harshness of the slavery they had been under, and they grumbled. God provided daily bread but what did they remember? The “pleasures” of the food in Egypt while selectively ignoring the harshness of slavery in a pagan land. “But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes.” Numbers11:6. How soon they forgot and how blind they were to God’s blessings. Yet God never forgets. The promises He made to Noah and to Abraham are still valid today. Never again has there been a worldwide flood and the land promised to Abraham still belongs to the nation of Israel, though Satan driven people dispute that fact.
Another promise that God never forgot was the promise that the Messiah would come through the tribe of Judah. That promise was fulfilled in a manger in Bethlehem. Jesus, God incarnate, was born humbly and lived among His creation. When the time was right He called twelve men to be His disciples and learn from Him. He did many miracles such as giving sight to the blind, healing lepers, driving out demons, and walking on water. Yet those men who followed Him daily and whom He taught many lessons to, forgot. How could they forget that Jesus fed a multitude of people with five loaves of bread and two fish? “And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full. And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.” Matthew 14:20-21. That should have been etched into their memory, yet they forgot. It wasn’t long until another multitude of people had followed Jesus and needed food. Jesus called His disciples and told them that He would not send them away hungry. “And his disciples say unto him, Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude?” Matthew 15:33. Jesus didn’t remind them of the manna He provided for the Israelites in the wilderness, nor did He remind them that He had fed another multitude not long before this. He just asked for the bread and fish that were on hand. This time there were seven loaves of bread and a few fish, but 4,000 men plus women and children were fed with this small amount of food. When all were fed there were seven baskets of leftovers. I wonder if the disciples remembered this time or if they forgot.
They forgot. Soon thereafter, Jesus had one of many confrontations with the Sadducees and when He and the disciples departed they had forgotten to bring food with them. Jesus used the situation to teach them to beware of the leaven (sin) of the Pharisees and Sadducees. “Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.” Matthew 16:6. Instead of learning the lesson the disciples thought He was berating them for not bringing bread to eat. Jesus loved these men, but I think this time He shook His head at their forgetfulness. “Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?” Matthew 16:8. They saw the grand scale miracles of Jesus in feeding the multitudes, but they couldn’t see that He also did miracles every day in their own lives. How soon they forgot.
It is so much easier for us to remember God’s promises, isn’t it? Well, maybe not. God has never let me down and there are many times that I stand amazed as I look back and see His hand on my life and how He provides. Yet, how soon I forget. Just recently I have had a series of calamities. Many household items breaking (air conditioner, water pump, garage door, etc.). Then my phone went out and I lost my wallet. Just one thing after another. I fretted, worried, lost sleep, and finally prayed. I should have prayed first. I also should have remembered that God has always provided. The repairmen came quickly and I was able to pay their bills. The wallet was found and whoever turned into the store where I lost it had taken no money and had not used my ATM or credit card. Because my phone was out I was unable to call and cancel the cards, but just after I got my wallet back, the man came and repaired my phone a day earlier than expected. God finds so many ways to remind me that He cares, and even when it seems as if things have gone wrong and are out of control, He is still right there and all I have to do is lean on Him. “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6. I need to remember that.
God remembers His promises, but there are things that He forgets. “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” Isaiah 43:25. What a blessed promise. This is contained in the Old Testament and directed to the Israelites, but that promise was fulfilled through Jesus Christ. Christians have a promise that others don’t have. Because God remembered His promise of salvation, our sins are forgiven when we place our faith in His death, burial, and resurrection. “And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” Hebrew 10:17. Sometimes it is good that things are forgotten. This is a promise from God.
When we accept the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as the atonement for our sins, He forgets our sin…we are justified. The rest of our life is spent being sanctified. That means the Holy Spirit draws us nearer to our Lord and we try to become more like Him; we try to conform our life to Him. We study God’s word, not twisting it to accommodate our sin, but to see our sin and change. We ask His forgiveness, and try not to continue in sin so our lives reflect Christ. Like Noah, we cannot be a part of the evil around us. Like Abraham we need to leave the pagan, idol worshipers and move on to honor God. Abraham’s nephew Lot and his family lived among the perversion in Sodom, but they were protected and removed before God sent judgment. Don’t be like Lot’s wife who looked back to her old life in Sodom and was turned into a pillar of salt. Although she had the opportunity to leave the filthy life behind, she wasn’t sincere about leaving. Once you truly accept Christ as your Saviour, don’t look back. Remember what He did for you on the cross of Calvary and move forward to honor Him with your life. You won’t be sorry you have left the pagan world of sin and debauchery behind. Even as you live in this sin saturated world, if you don’t forget His promise you will be content.
“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” Hebrews 13:5-6. Now that is something to remember.
God bless you all,
Ron Graham’s previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.