Last night I was blessed to be able to open the word of God from Psalm 77 to the saints at Grace Fellowship Church. The message was titled ‘Remembering God.‘ As I reflected on Asaph’s experience in battling with discouragement and despair, this one thought overwhelmed me: Rememrance is a means of grace.
God knows our frame. He knows that we are weak and prone to forget the most important things in the most important times. In his grace, he gives the church rites of remembrance so that we will always be forced to remember the most important things.
In the OT, they celebrated Passover once per year. Each year the Israelites were to ‘act out’ that fateful night again. By taking the Passover in the prescribed way, they were to participate in the greatest event of God’s deliverance all over again. They were to remind themselves and their children of the reality of God’s deliverance.
In Psalm 77, Asaph displays the fruit of this type of Exodus-centred worldview. When he faced discouragement, doubt, and despair, he reminded himself of who God is by reminding himself of What God has done. The despair of the first nine verses disappears once he encourages his heart with the ‘years of the right hand of the Most High’ and all his works.
In the NT–as is always the case–it only gets better. Where the OT saints remembered once per year, the Christian is called to use the Lord’s Supper to remember all the time (at GFC we do it every two weeks).
More than just increased quantity of remembrance, the Christian has increased quality of remembrance. We don’t look back on a physical deliverance from a physical enemy, that never finally delivered the people (they left Egypt to die in the desert!). The Christian looks back to God’s greatest work of deliverance: the cross. At the cross we see an eternal deliverance from the greatest enemy, which has finally and completely delivered all God’s people for eternity.
Just like the Israelites were to look back at God’s work to behold God’s character, the Christian looks back to Christ’s work to remember God’s character in the hardest times of life. That’s what it means to be ‘cross-centred’ in our lives.
When we are weak, uncertain of the future, despairing of hope, doubting God’s goodness, or whatever our trials, we must remember. We must remember the cross and see a God who is holy, who has an eternal wise plan, who loves sinners, is strong enough to accomplish whatever he wants, and who is ultimately committed to the good of those he loves.
This gives my soul good comfort! Remembering God and his work is a wonderful and merciful means of grace.