Remembering: What God Requires Of Us

Psalm 103:17,18:

The steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting

upon those who fear him,

and his righteousness to children's children,

to those who keep his covenant,

and remember to do his commandments.

How good is your memory? Mine is not as good as it might be. In fact, I'd be completely lost without my pocket diary. I write in it everything I'm supposed to do, and constantly check it in order to be reminded what I have to do today. The system works well – except when I forget to check my diary.

When we remember what we owe to God and what we owe to others, then our response ought to be one of renewed faith and commitment and obedience to the way in which God would have us walk. There are things that we need to remember to do. Above all we need to remember to do God's commandments.

Moses foresaw what was likely to happen when the Israelites settled in Canaan among neighbours whose life style and whose moral standards were very different from those laid down in Israel's covenant with God. "Take heed," he told them, "lest you forget the Lord your God, by not keeping his commandments and his ordinances and his statutes, which I command you this day" (Deuteronomy 8:11).

God's commandments were not given as a set of harsh laws which must be obeyed in legalistic fashion. The Law or Torah was given by God to guide and direct the people to a life style which would make for a healthy and happy community. According to Jesus, the greatest commandments are to love God and to love our neighbours as ourselves. Paul called upon the Ephesian elders to "remember the words of the Lord Jesus how he said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive'" (Acts 20:35). It is only as we remember God's commandments to do them that we will find true happiness and true fulfilment both as individuals and as a society.

Prayer: O Lord our God, even when we remember all that we owe to you and to others, we often forget to respond by keeping your commandments to love you and to love our neighbours as ourselves. Forgive us, we pray, and help us to live lives of willing and joyful obedience to your commandments. Amen.