Sometimes it seems as though I’ve already read this. Ever get that way? Deja vu in reading, learning, or whatever. Here it goes again, the same ole, same ole. Nothing different…maybe.
We are a forgetful people. I’ve played the same songs during worship services over and over again and still forget the lyrics or the next chord or riff, sometimes even the order of the song. It’s frustrating. It’s especially frustrating when I don’t remember where I left my wallet and keys. And even more frustrating when I can’t find the chapstick! I’m convinced it has legs that secretly come out of the sides to run and play tricks on me by showing up in odd places.
Paul begins chapter 3 saying that it’s no trouble for him to remind them of the same things again. I don’t like having to remind anyone of anything! We’re supposed to be adults and remember things…right? How often to I have to teach the same thing over and over again to get it through people’s heads?! It’s frustrating sometimes.
Then he says it’s a safeguard for them. That makes sense, since we can’t even remember where we left our shoes, or our child’s name when we call them. Hearing the same things over and over again help us remember. The stuff that sticks is repetitive. I know I’ve read the Old Testament and have wondered if I would have been the same as the Israelites, constantly forgetting God and His commands, even when His presence was visibly among them! We are a forgetful people. Why do we like routine? Because we can finally remember what we’re supposed to do. Why does Paul not mind teaching the same things over and over again? Because it helps believers to remember why they believe and Who their Savior is.
Let’s be honest. If we don’t become more and more familiar with God’s Word, the less we’re going to remember it. History has a way of repeating itself over and over again. Why? Because we forget the lesson we should have learned. We forget that God is our Provider. How do I know this? Because money is what we’ve come to trust. It purchases everything for us, right? Not actually. God provides for us what we need. When go into debt, we didn’t trust that He would and money has become our god. I’m guilty.
We forget that God is our Lord. How do we know this? Self-reliance is what we’ve been taught since childhood, or at least most of us have been. We honor and hold in high esteem the self-made man or woman. But God tells us to rely on Him to guide us. Our surrender to the cross should mean that Christ is living through us instead of ourselves.
We forget that God is the Comforter. How do we know this? When we’re in trouble we turn to things to set us free and give us comfort. Habits of smoking, drinking, lying, violence, laziness, avoidance, shopping, and anything we do to give ourselves the comfort we think we deserve because it’s been hard. We’ve come to trust in these “things” rather than the Creator of the things. He’s the Comforter we long for. He alone can give us peace.
Martin Luther would teach his congregation the message of the cross every week. One week, a church member walked up to him and asked, “Why don’t teach anything else?” to which Luther replied, “Because week after week you forget.”
Our forgetfulness is seen in how we live. So I pray that I don’t get tired or get frustrated at the same lesson again. It’s a safeguard and helps me remember.