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Free Books » Bonar, Horatius » Light & Truth: Acts and the Larger Epistles

Chapter 40 - Romans 1:26; Psalm 106:13 - Man's Forgetfulness Light & Truth: Acts and the Larger Epistles by Bonar, Horatius

Index

God has well remembered man; remembers him every day. God might easily forget man; he is so insignificant, worthless, unloveable. But He does not. He has never done so. This world, evil as it is, has been truly, what one has called it, "His well-beloved world,"—His well-remembered creation. Each of us, however poor, however sinful, is a fragment of that world, that race which He has never forgotten: "Thou shalt not be forgotten of me." Each moment's mercies are tokens of the divine mindfulness. He ever retains us in His knowledge and memory.

God desires to be remembered by man. He has taken unspeakable pains to keep Himself before His creatures, so as to make forgetfulness on their part the greatest of all impossibilities. In everything that God has set before our eyes or ears, He says, Remember me. In every star, every flower, every mountain, every stream,—in every joy, every comfort, every blessing of daily life,—God says, Remember me. How affecting this desire of God to be remembered by man! Yet how has man responded to it? We shall see. The world's history, and Israel's history not less, have shewn how God's wish to be kept in affectionate remembrance by the creatures He has made has been met. "They gave me hatred for my love." They did not "like to retain Him in their knowledge."

It is not, however, merely a "deity," a divine being, that is to be remembered. It is the one living and true God. Every departure from this is idolatry and dishonour. This true God wishes to be remembered,

(1.) Reverently. He is great and glorious; to be had in reverence of all creature hood. Reverence and godly fear are His due.

(2.) Confidingly. His character is such that He deserves to be trusted. Trustful, childlike remembrance, is what He expects of us.

(3.) Joyfully. Not by constraint, or through terror, or hope of profit; but with the full and happy heart.

(4.) Lovingly. We love Him because He first loved us. Loving remembrance He would fain have. Nothing less will do.

(5.) Steadfastly. Not by fits and starts; at certain "devotional seasons," but always. "Perpetual remembrance" is what God asks,—"everlasting remembrance."

This God, whose name is Jehovah, is worthy to be remembered, He is so infinitely glorious, and good, and great, and loveable. The wonder is, how one so great should ever for a moment be forgotten. That He should forget us, so insignificant, would not be surprising; but that we should forget Him, so great and mighty, is inconceivably marvelous. We may suppose a creature, an atom of the dust, sitting alone and admiring this great Being, and saying, He may not think of me, or notice me, who am such a grain of sand, but I cannot help continually thinking of Him, looking up to Him, praising Him, loving Him, whether He cares for me or not; whether I am overlooked or not,—if He will only allow me thus to praise and love. But can we suppose the opposite? the worm of the earth never thinking of this great God at all, and yet this God continually thinking of Him!

Yet man forgets God! He hears of Him, and then forgets Him. He sees His works, and then forgets Him. He acknowledges deliverances, and then forgets Him. Thus it is that man deals with God. For his fellow men man's memory serves him well, but towards God it is utterly treacherous.

Israel is frequently charged with such things as these:

(1.) They forgot His words. All that He had spoken, in grace or righteousness, as warning or as love, they forgot. His words were to them as idle tales. Thus we treat our God.

(2.) They forgot His works. Miracle on miracle of the most stupendous kind did He for Israel, in Egypt and in the desert, as if never wearied with blessing them, yet the work was no sooner done than it was out of mind. They sang His praise, and then forgot His works.

(3.) They forgot Himself. Yes, Himself! Their God, their Redeemer, their Rock, their Strength! They thrust Him out of their thoughts and memories. He and they were to live apart; to have no intercourse with each other. They were to live in His world, and forget Himself; to enjoy His gifts, but not Himself; to breathe His air, bask in His sunshine, drink His rivers, climb His mountains, sail over His wide sea in storm or calm, and forget Himself? "They did not like to retain God in their knowledge."

Forgetfulness of God is God's charge against His creatures. He does not exaggerate their guilt, or bring out into view the gross and hideous crimes of the race. He simply says, "You have forgotten me." That is enough. "My people have forgotten me." It is they who forget God that are turned into hell. This may seem to some a small sin, a negative evil, a sin of omission; but God places it in the foreground of iniquity. "Consider this ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces when none can deliver" (Psalm 50:22).

God lays great stress upon remembering Him and His works. Often did He use that word to Israel, "Remember." "Remember the way that the Lord led thee." "Remember the commandments of the Lord." "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy." "Remember thy Creator."

In the New Testament the words of the Lord himself must occur to every one, "This do in remembrance of me"; amid the response of the church, "We will remember Thy love more than wine."

Forget not, O man, the God that made thee. He has given thee no cause to forget Him. He ever keeps thee in mind; keep Him in mind. Amid all thy forgetfulness let not Him be forgotten. Amid all thy remembrances let Him be ever uppermost. His remembrance will be joy and peace, fragrance, and refreshment, and strength. Retain Him in thy knowledge; root Him in thy memory; fix Him in thy heart forever.