by William J. Stewart
Since WWI, November 11 has been used to commemorate those who gave their lives in times of war. The day is titled differently, depending upon your country of origin. In the USA, it is called Veteran’s Day. For the Polish, it is Independence Day. Folks in France and New Zealand call it Armistice Day; on Malta and in South Africa, Poppy Day. In the United Kingdom and it’s commonwealth countries (Canada included), it is generally referred to as Remembrance Day.
It is certainly a good thing to remember those who gave themselves to preserve the temporal freedoms which we enjoy. However, we ought to remember also that the Lord Jesus gave Himself, not for our temporal pleasures, but for our eternal benefit. Let us consider a few things the Bible says regarding remembrance.
God Will Remember His Covenant
God is faithful to His word. When He has made a covenant, we can know for surety He will remember and keep it. There are numerous covenants established by God in Scripture, some strictly between Him and a particular man (ie. Abraham), some between Him and national Israel (ie. Blessings in the land), and some between Him and all creation (ie. The rainbow covenant). Regardless the scope of the covenant, God will remember and keep His word.
We Must Remember God’s Word
Israel was commanded, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8). They were given tassels on their garments, as a remembrance of the commandments of God (Numbers 15:38-40). It is important that God’s people remember God’s word. During the days of the Judges, Israel would turn away from God at times, forgetting His word (Judges 8:34), and would suffer as a result of their sin.
Solomon stressed the importance of remembering our Creator from the days of youth (Ecclesiastes 12:1, 6), before the days come when perhaps we will not have a mind to turn to the Lord from a life of wickedness which draws nigh to the setting sun. The churches at Ephesus and Sardis were warned by Jesus to remember from where they had fallen and repent (Revelation 2:5; 3:3). If we have forgotten the Lord’s way and turned from it, we must remember it and turn back, before it’s too late.
Do Not Remember The Captivity Fondly
Not long after departing Egypt, the Israelites began to complain. On more than one occasion, they longed to go back to Egypt, the place of their captivity. They moaned, “We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our whole being is dried up; there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!” (Numbers 11:5-6). Ohh, how great we had it in captivity!! Just wish we could go back. They conveniently forgot the hardships which they endured as slaves in Egypt, and failed to focus on the blessings which God was giving and would give.
Friend, we need to not remember the days of our captivity fondly. I hear from time to time Christians talking about the “good old days,” and in the process, speaking about some of their conduct prior to come to Christ. Should we glory in such things? No!! Rather, we should remember that God has delivered us. That is the very thing which Moses called the Israelites attention to through the book of Deuteronomy (5:15; 7:18; 8:2, 18; 15:5; 16:3; etc.).
“Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who were called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands—that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:11-12). Thanks be to God, He delivered us “…by the blood of Christ” (2:13). Thus, let us not turn back to our former ways, clinging to that which brings destruction rather than life. Jesus very pointedly admonished, “Remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17:32).
God Will Remember Our Walk
Hear the words of Nehemiah, as he determined to accomplish God’s will in his life. He petitioned, “Remember me, my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people” (Nehemiah 5:19). Again, “Remember me, O my God, concerning this, and do not wipe out my good deeds that I have done for the house of my God and for its services!” (13:14), and yet once more, “Remember me, O my God, for good!” (13:31).
On the flip side, realize that God also remembers the wickedness of the wicked. Just a few verses back, Nehemiah said, “Remember them, O my God, because they have defiled the priesthood and the covenant of the priesthood and the Levites” (13:29).
Solomon tells us that “…God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:14). Let us be sure that we have done good, and not evil, for God to remember on our account.
There are many, many more things which we ought to remember, but we shall leave it at that. Know that God is faithful, He will remember and keep His covenants. Know that God will remember our walk, He sees all we do, whether the eyes of men have beheld it or not. God will judge us for these in the end, and thus, let us determine to remember His will and walk accordingly.