The feeling of having forgotten something important is no fun. I unlock the door and check people in for a 5:45 A.M. aerobics class two days a week. This means I have to get up at 5:15 to get there in time. A few times I have gotten my days mixed up or not set my alarm correctly. When I wake up and realize that I’ve overslept and missed my commitment, it starts my whole day off on the wrong note. I’ve let others down. I forgot something I’m supposed to remember. A friend of mine once placed a post-it note right on her steering wheel to help her remember her carpool schedule. Too many times she had forgotten and she hated the feeling of not getting it right. Over twenty-five times the words remind, remember, forget, or forgotten are used in the book of Jeremiah. God knows our tendency to forget and calls us to intentionally set patterns in our lives to help us remember Him against the backdrop of counterfeit gods screaming for our attention.
While I needed to remember to get my sleepy self out of bed and my friend needed to know when to pick up extra children, the people of Judah forgot something of much greater magnitude. In Jeremiah 2:32, we find two very feminine illustrations. “Does a young woman forget her jewelry? Does a bride hide her wedding dress? Yet for years on end my people have forgotten me.”
I remember staring at my ring during college classes after I got engaged. I could barely concentrate on what my professors were saying with that sparkly thing glowing up at me. You can bet I never forgot about my jewelry then. How many brides can’t remember where they have put their gowns? We take great care with these items because they are important to us.
We can easily wonder how the people in Jeremiah’s day managed to forget their Maker. Even without television, magazines, internet, and media galore, they got so focused on the things of this earth that they forgot their God. Jeremiah is God’s prophet calling out to the people – “Don’t forget God because you are so focused on things you can touch, taste, and feel.” (my paraphrase) Forty-seven verses scattered throughout the book of Jeremiah mention idols.
We can read through Jeremiah and self-righteously accuse the Israelites. They were making things with their own hands and worshiping them instead of God. They participated in adultery, lust, child sacrifice, and spent their time and money pouring out offerings to imaginary gods.
While our outward expressions may look different, is it possible we have succumbed to our cultures more subtle relationship with idolatry? An idol is an image we worship. Its when we spend more time and effort focused on any one thing more than God.When I take a closer look at my own life, I find that sometimes we are more careful with our make-up, cell phones, and work-out regimes than with our relationship with the living God. We take greater care to color our gray hairs, accessorize our outfits, and make sure our tans are even than to keep our hearts right with our Creator.
He is the One who made us and the entire world around us. The One who sees the master plan. The God who desires a close relationship with us. The things of this earth that urgently cry out for our attention can often relegate God to the bottom of the pile. While they may not be physical statues and your worship may not include pouring out drinks and burning incense, God calls you to keep Him foremost in your life. Just as God asked the people of Judah to remember Him. He asks the same thing of us. He made a New Covenant with us through the blood of His Son Jesus. He wants us to remember what He has done.
So many other things are calling out for my time and attention today. If I’m not intentional in remembering and pursuing Him, counterfeits can quickly creep in. And ….. truth is—they never really satisfy. I hope your day is full of remembering how good He really is and His truth is not forgotten on you.