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  • Writer's pictureRichard Parrish

Do I Have Memory Loss?

“... take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” - Deuteronomy 6:12 (ESV)

A friend of mine jokingly told me of a new GPS. He said: “Not only does it give precise directions; it reminds me why I went there!”

While some of us might benefit from that type of navigation system (if it were real), not all forgetfulness results from old age, ask any parent whose child has not been known to say more than once: “Sorry, I forgot.”

Despite our age, we tend to forget. That’s certainly the case with the Israelites, who continually forgot to keep God’s commandments. But the question is: Why? Why do we forget?

Psychologists suggest two primary reasons. First, we store information in our memory. Still, we cannot remember it when you need to, but then – at a later date – you can recall the information. I just had a flash-back of my exams in seminary!

The second reason is that human memory forgets information. Permanent and physical traces of our memory disappear.

But what about our “spiritual forgetfulness?”

Israel’s propensity to forget God wasn’t just psychological or mental. Psalm 78 offers historical clarity on Israel’s relationship with God. The reasons they “forget” are:

  • They fail to remember God’s goodness (vs.11)

  • They insist that God provide for their wishes above God’s desires (vs. 18-19)

  • They serve God when it’s convenient for them. As John Ritenbaugh suggests: “They play moral hide-and-seek with God, which is hypocrisy.”

  • They replace God with idols (vs. 57-58).

Does it seem that the Israelites are not the only ones with memory loss?

I’m not nearly as forgetful when: I recall God’s goodness, prioritize God’s desires above mine, discover that obedience is more beneficial than convenience, and clean out the idols in my life to make room for God!

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