by Joe Slater
This coming Monday is Memorial Day. I’m glad we have a national day to remember those who gave that “last full measure of devotion” for freedom. Let this day be more than staying home from work and grilling burgers. If you haven’t attended ceremonies at a nearby cemetery lately, I urge you to do so Monday. We forget all too easily.
God’s people have always struggled with forgetfulness. No less than eleven times in Deuteronomy the Lord warned Israel not to forget. Don’t forget your deliverance from Egypt. Don’t forget the covenant. Don’t forget the Lord’s commands. Don’t forget the consequences of disobedience and rebellion. In short, don’t forget God!
At least thirteen times in that same book, He charged Israel to remember. They were to remember the very things He told them not to forget. No surprise right? We think of the Passover feast as a memorial of their deliverance from Egyptian bondage, but the other feast days also promoted remembrance. The Sabbath was, among other things, a remembrance (Deut. 5:15). The piles of stones set up when Israel memorialized the Jordan crossed.
Today the Lord’s Supper prompts us to remember what Jesus did for us at the cross. And yes, even in the first century some forgot how Jesus had cleansed them from sin (2 Pet. 1:9). However, the Lord’s Supper isn’t all we should remember. Jesus urged His disciples to remember His words (John 15:20; 16:4). Peter wrote so that his readers would remember (2 Peter 1:12- 15); and Jude exhorted his readers to “remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 17).
We confront the same dangers Israel faced.