ODJ: The Need to Remember

March 7, 2016 

READ: Psalm 77:1-12 

But then I recall all you have done, O Lord; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago. They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works (vv.11-12).

The Microsoft Corporation conducted a study on the human attention span, with somewhat funny and humiliating results. The researchers found that the modern person has an attention span of about 8 seconds, partly the result of the constant media bombardment that we endure on a regular basis. Compare this with the attention of a goldfish—9 seconds.

Besides being a humorous commentary on our condition, this could also raise concern for our spiritual lives. To remember is a crucial spiritual discipline that’s encouraged throughout Scripture. It’s especially important because it provides for much-needed perspective during difficult seasons of life. In Psalm 77, the attitude of the psalmist is radically transformed as he remembers God’s faithfulness throughout past generations, a memory that helps the writer gain perspective on his current situation. He wrote, “I recall all you have done, O Lord; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago” (v.11). And this is far from the only passage of Scripture that describes the importance of remembrance— consider, for instance, the similar directives found in Deuteronomy 7:18.

If we fail to focus on the past in a healthy way, we’ll fail to remember the goodness of God, and in turn, lose our ability to discern His presence in the present. That’s why it’s vital that we recognize the importance of remembering and celebrating what God has done in our lives—to keep what He’s done “constantly in [our] thoughts” (Psalm 77:12). This isn’t for the sake of mere sentimentality, as if to make us feel good for only a short while. No, it transforms our perspective by helping us to realize who God is: “The God of great wonders!” (v.14).

—Peter Chin

365-day-plan: Judges 4:4-24

Read Deuteronomy 8:2-5 and consider why it’s important for us to remember what God has done throughout history. 
How does remembering a past event change your perception of a current one? What are some ways for you to improve your ability to remember what God has done?