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Crossway Blog

Spiritual Implications of Forgetting

Posted by Paul Lee on

As I get older, I find myself forgetting things more and more: where I placed my keys, what so and so’s name was, and even, what the heck did I wear yesterday?

And those are just some silly examples but in our Christian lives, forgetfulness has huge spiritual implications and should not be taken lightly. In fact, Israel’s very sin problem dealt with the issue of forgetting. The Israelites constantly grumbled and sinned because they forgot God’s work in their lives even after He would demonstrate it again and again.

We all remember the famous Bible story when God freed the Israelites from Egypt and brought them through the miraculous work of parting a huge body of water known as the Red Sea? What happens after? They praise the Lord! What happens in the very next chapter? They complain to God saying, why did you bring us out here to die? They forgot.

So in Deuteronomy, one of the main things God tells the Israelites to do is remember.

I want to highlight three areas God wants the Israelites to remember Him in and I think we can apply that to our lives as well:

1)  When you are afraid or worried over what is to come, remember that God has carried you this far in all of your life’s worries.

Deuteronomy 7:17-19 “If you say in your heart, ‘These nations are greater than I. How can I dispossess them?’18 you shall not be afraid of them but you shall  remember what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt,19 the great trials that your eyes saw,  the signs, the wonders, the mighty hand, and the outstretched arm, by which the Lord your God brought you out. So will the Lord your God do to all the peoples of whom you are afraid.

2) When you go through trials, remember that God has used your trials to discipline you and grow you.

Deuteronomy 8:2-5  And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you  these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you,  testing you  to know what was in your heart,  whether you would keep his commandments or not.3 And he humbled you and  let you hunger and  fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that  man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word  that comes from the mouth of the Lord.4 Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years.5 Know then in your heart that,  as a man disciplines his son, the Lord your God disciplines you.

3) When you are fruitful, remember that God is the one who gave you this wealth.

Deuteronomy 10:17-18  For the Lord your God is  God of gods and  Lord of lords,  the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is  not partial and takes no bribe.18 He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing.

But what if we fail? What if we fail to remember God? God will remember.

Deuteronomy 9:27-29 Remember your servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Do not regard the stubbornness of this people, or their wickedness or their sin,28 lest the land from which you brought us say,  “Because the Lord was not able to bring them into the land that he promised them, and because he hated them, he has brought them out to put them to death in the wilderness.”29 For they are your people and your heritage, whom you brought out by your great power and by your outstretched arm.’

After the Israelites blatantly sinned before God by directly disobey his commands and building a golden calf to worship, Moses asks God not to completely destroy them but instead, to remember his covenant to their fathers. As God remembers his covenant to his people, He relents from complete judgment.

Even in our failures, God will remember his covenant to us, and He will always be faithful.


  1. Let’s continue to make space in our lives to remember the Lord in all areas of our lives. In the good and bad, let’s remember it was from the Lord for our good.
  2. When we fail to remember, let’s praise the Lord for he will never forget his promise to us. The promise is guaranteed in the Spirit by the death and resurrection of Jesus. Let’s live in that promise and turn to Him daily.

Pastor Paul