The epitaph over Israel’s grave was, “They Soon Forgot.” C.J. Mahaney
Things have been going smoothly, and I slip into a sort of auto-pilot. I think about praying, but instead quickly starting do-ing instead. It seems as if I am able to get things done, things are skimming along without too much difficulty. Why immerse myself in the truth of the gospel, anyway? Sin just does not seem that strong right now.
But in the morning, out of habit, I picked up the Bible in spite of my spiritual lethargy. A friend and I email each other every morning, letting each other know we have read the Word and spent time with the Savior. I didn’t want to send her an “I skipped this morning” email, so I opened to the book of Judges and started reading.
Israel is already in trouble. They just made it to the Promised Land. God has promised to deliver their enemies into their hands.
Only they don’t fully trust His promise, don’t feel it is really necessary to completely obey Him, and they fail to drive all the enemy out of the land. They were satisfied with a partial victory.
And their hearts were turned to false gods.
The author of Judges puts it this way, “[Israel] played the harlot after other gods and bowed themselves down to them.” (Judges 2:17)
The sad words continue, “And the sons of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and forgot the Lord their God, and served the Baals….” (Judges 3:7)
Israel forgot. They made it into the Promised Land, and they forgot the Lord.
And so I found myself starting a similar, dangerous pattern. The idolatry of self-sufficiency had begun to creep into my heart. I was not desperate enough. I did not see my need as strong enough. I imagined I was ok, that crying out to the Lord for help was not really necessary everyday.
This is why the gospel must be the center of every day. As CJ Mahaney says in the sermon quoted above, “No! days! off!”
The gospel tells me of my need. It tells me I was helpless, lost in my sin, and God sent me a Helper, a Savior, a Rescuer.
The gospel tells me the only thing keeping me today is the unseen hand of God, going before me, and that He will be holding me secure until I see Him in glory.
The gospel reminds me I am a mess, undone, powerless against sin, apart from His grace.
When I am remembering and believing the gospel, my pretending self-sufficiency is done away with.
When I am remembering the gospel, I live in thankfulness and joy, for I know what I used to be and Who He is and what He has done for me.
But my strength does not depend primarily on my remembering, but much more so from Someone remembering me.
How thankful I am that God does not forget! He tells Israel over and over that He will remember His covenant promises to them.
He sent Israel Judges to deliver them, and He sent us a Deliverer to rescue us from our sin, to cover over our forgetfulness.
This is how I don’t lose heart. When the Spirit convicts me deeply of my sin, shows me how much like Israel I still am, I am tempted to live in my shame.
But He draws me in.
He reminds me that even though I forget, He always remembers His promises.
And not only that, but Jesus is our high priest who daily lives to make intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25). He is always remembering us before the throne of God.
So I put my hope, not in my own ability to get it together and start remembering, but I put my hope in His remembering me.
Oh, keep my heart, Lord Jesus! Instead of coasting along in the myth of self-sufficiency, may my heart sing,
I need Thee, O I need Thee;
Every hour I need Thee;
O bless me now, my Savior,
I come to Thee.