But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the Lord your God and disobey his commands, regulations, and decrees that I am giving you today. [Deuteronomy 8:11 (NLT)]
But the people soon forgot about the Lord their God, so he handed them over to Sisera, the commander of Hazor’s army, and also to the Philistines and to the king of Moab, who fought against them. [1 Samuel 12:9 (NT)]
“Are you looking for something?” asked Earl in Brian Crane’s Pickles comic strip. When his wife, Opal, replied, “My glasses,” he suggested looking in her purse. “No,” she said, “I can’t find it. That’s why I’m looking for my glasses, so I can find my purse. I’m hoping that’s where I left my car keys.” Looking down at his grandson, Earl explained, “That’s why it’s a good thing women Gramma’s age don’t have babies.”
Being around Opal’s age, and having had more than my share of “senior moments,” I understand perfectly. Forgetting the Lord, however, is not like misplacing keys, forgetting where the car is parked, or failing to remember the grocery list. It’s way more than absentmindedness, an appointment slipping one’s mind, or drawing a blank at someone’s name.
Forgetting the Lord is a conscious choice to turn our backs to Him and overlook His presence in all things. It is failing to remember His past mercies and how much He loves each and every one of us. It is disregarding His commands and ignoring our responsibilities both to Him and to our fellow man. When we forget God, we rebel, grow impatient, act rashly or imprudently, or begin to think we are self-sufficient and all-powerful. As the Israelites discovered, forgetting God can have serious, even tragic, consequences. Throughout Deuteronomy, Moses warned them not to forget the Lord and yet, from Joshua through Malachi, we continually read of their unfaithfulness, God’s anger, and the consequences of their deliberate amnesia.
As happened with the Israelites, it’s easy to let challenges overwhelm us, wealth and power deceive us, busyness distract us, temptation mislead us, disappointment frustrate us, grief blind us, impatience goad us, and complaint to harden us. Before we know it, we’ve forgotten the Lord. Moses’s many warnings to the Israelites apply to us today. God accepts senior moments—but He will never tolerate our forgetting Him. God never forgot the Israelites and He will never forget us. Why do we find it so easy to forget Him?
God is mindful of man, and it grieves Him that man is not mindful of Him. [Charles Spurgeon]