Mark 8:4 “And his disciples answered him, from whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness?”
I read that verse and was dumbfounded. Jesus had been preaching to a large crowd over a period of several days and they had run out of food. Everyone was hungry and the disciples were wondering how they were going to find food in the desert for all of these people. But I wasn’t astounded by the story of a hungry crowd. See, this wasn’t the first but the second time scripture records that Jesus had been surrounded by a hungry crowd and the first time, He turned 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish into enough to feed a multitude of over 5,000 people. I was left speechless because He had literally just performed this great miracle, which his disciples witnessed first hand, and yet here they were, new crowd, new city, wondering how they were going to manage to feed people this time!!
Just as my heart was starting to judge them for forgetting what Jesus had just done the Holy Spirit prodded me to look into my own walk. How many times have I done that very same thing? How many times has God lead me through the valley and up the mountain to the top, only to have me stare at the valley on the other side leading to the next peak and wonder how I’ll ever make it through? Why is the evidence of His past provision not enough? Why do we always look at a problem and wonder how WE are going to figure it out when God has never, not once, left us alone in any of our battles before?
“When the people of Israel saw the mighty power that the Lord had unleashed against the Egyptians, they were filled with awe before him. They put their faith in the Lord and his servant Moses.”-Exodus 14:31,”.
The Old Testament records the tumultuous and frustrating story of the relationship between God and his chosen people, the Israelites. I would get so annoyed reading about them wandering around the desert, turning what should have been a 10 day trek into a 40 year exile because they were constantly forgetting the miracles God had performed to get them out of Egypt in the first place. Each time a new trial came up they divulged into a mass of fearful, whiny, entitled and untrusting brats who blamed God for bringing them out of Egypt where they had been slaves but at least they had known what to expect. But have I not done the same thing? When the job He had blessed me with began to feel insecure or when the house He promised didn’t materialize in my time frame-didn’t I forget the feats He accomplished to get me the job in the first place? Or the amazing people and provisions He sent to help us through the sale of our house and the financial blessing that was?
“Then beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. Deuteronomy” 6:12 (KJVA)
Forgetting what God has done for us not only tests Him but it is DANGEROUS for us!
1: Forgetting leads to unbelief and then to rebellion: Immediately after the miracle of the parting of the Red Sea, the Israelites realized they had no water in the desert and began to demand new leadership. When we forget how God provided for us in the past we start to look for other sources, other saviors to solve our problem rather than looking up to the One who promises to never leave or forsake us.
2: Forgetting makes us do foolish things: While Moses was atop Mt. Sanai receiving the 10 Commandments from God, the people got tired of waiting for word of his encounter, so instead they built themselves a golden calf to worship. When we forget God, we start coming up with our own solutions to our problems which usually take us further from God rather than leading us to Him. We’re telling Him we know better than He does how to run our lives and that never turns out well for us.
3: Forgetting angers God and stops us from receiving His promises: After sending scouts to spy out the land God had promised them, they came back to report that they could not defeat the large armies of the peoples that lived in the land. (“…not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their ancestors. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it.” Numbers 14:23.)Our faith is a gift from God, but when we live a life that relies on what we can SEE rather than what we KNOW about Him we literally reject the gift of faith that He gave us and risk inciting His righteous anger and blocking His blessings.
“Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me.” Psalm 103:2
Rather than being like the faithless and forgetful Israelites, let us endeavor to be like David, who through the many trials and tribulations of his life, never failed to return to the past provisions and future promises of God to get him through. David wrote his Psalms to help him remember God’s goodness and we can do the same to help ourselves remember. Journaling is a great way to record your own personal testament of how God has saved you and provided for you to fall back on when times are tough. Writing down prayers or visions as told to do in Habakkuk 2:1-4 is another great way to record future promises God reveals to you. Go back periodically and write done next to the ones that have been answered or fulfilled with a brief description to add to your recordings of your personal walk. Memorize specific verses given to you during tough times and finally remember to praise and thank God for all his activity in your life- past, present and future.
We are commanded to walk by faith and not by sight, and while this can be tough when everything we see and hear around us seems to contend with what we know is true based on God’s Word, falling back on the tangible experiences of when God pulled you through in the past will help your feet to find the firm footing you need to weather your current storm.