It’s way too easy to be tough on the Israelites living during the time of the Old Testament. It seemed that despite all that God had done for them, they continually chose their own way. They questioned God’s authority and provision, and most times, ran after their own ideas in order to find happiness and security.
And yet, throughout most of the Old Testament we see a common reminder constantly reinforced to the people of God: Remember what I did in Egypt.
Remember how I brought your forefathers out of Egypt. Remember how I parted the Red Sea (Psalm 106:9). Remember how I provided food in the desert (John 6:31). Remember how your clothing never wore out (Nehemiah 9:21). Remember, and trust me.
We can look back at the history of the Israelites and say, “COME ON GUYS! Just remember all the amazing things God did for you! How can you question him?!”
But, the reality was that God wasn’t giving them a new sign and wonder every year, he was asking them to look back on what he had already done hundreds of years beforehand and to trust that he was the same God.
I the LORD do not change. - Malachi 3:6a
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. - James 1:17
The truth? As much as I can scoff at the foolishness of the Israelites, I’m no better myself! I have trouble trusting what God has done in my life 3 years ago, let alone 400!
Let’s be real. Life is hard. I’m not saying there aren’t wonderful blessings, joyful moments and breath-taking experiences. But despite the wonderful things, we can’t escape the sin-darkened reality of living life here on earth.
People die, plans fail, money can be tight, children question, teens rebel, sin tempts us, apathy and laziness drive our decisions. During seasons of struggle, we feel that God must show himself to us so that we can trust he is in control. We may say things like:
"Lord, give me a sign."
"God, show me you are big enough to handle this."
"God, are you really in this challenging season of my life?"
Then, we often feel alone and forgotten when he doesn’t suddenly take away our sickness, put money into our bank account, or instantly fix our problems. We are just like the Israelites. We turn to our own solutions and strength to put our lives in order.
But, maybe what we are missing isn’t a God who is still working, but hearts that remember what he has already done.
We don’t find confidence and strength by looking for daily signs and wonders, but by looking at the character of God and what he has already shown us in the Bible.
My child, remember what I did in Egypt.
Remember what I did when I fed 5000 people. (Matthew 14:13-21)
Remember how I gave the blind their sight. (John 9)
Remember how I calmed storms. (Mark 4:35-41)
Remember when I was nailed to the cross because of my incredible love for you. (Isaiah 53:5)
Remember how death could not hold me, because I have overcome it. (Acts 2:24)
Remember how I promised to be with you always. (Matthew 28:20)
Remember that I have given you my word, my love, my very spirit to dwell within you. (Ephesians 1:15)
If we want to live lives that fearlessly follow God, if we desire the strength to overcome sin, if we need reassurance that God will provide for our needs, and ultimately do what is best for us, then what we need is to open the Bible. We need to spend less of our time asking for God to give us a sign and instead spend more time looking at who he has already proclaimed himself to be.
My children remember… and fearlessly trust and follow me.
Teens carry plenty of their own struggles during the high school years. Just like us, they need to see who God is and how his character affects the things they are dealing with. As parents, pastors and youth workers, we can point them to the power of God’s Word to work through these challenges. Better yet, let’s open it up with them and draw strength from “remembering” who God is and how much he loves and takes care of us all.