Have You Forgotten?Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
“Have you forgotten the sins of your ancestors, the sins of the kings and queens of Judah, and the sins you and your wives committed in Judah and Jerusalem?”
One cannot read Jeremiah 44 without feeling a deep sadness. The Judeans who fled from Judah to seek refuge in Egypt boldly and openly disobeyed the Word of the Lord through Jeremiah. Whereas God had promised blessing if they remained in Judah and devastation if they settled in Egypt, the remnant of the Jews chose Egypt, nevertheless.
The opening verses of Jeremiah 44 contain God’s lament for his wayward people: “Again and again I sent my servants, the prophets, to plead with [your ancestors], ‘Don’t do these horrible things that I hate so much.’ But my people would not listen” (44:4-5). Therefore God’s judgment fell upon them. Yet, the people who should have listened to God rejected his warning once again. So the Lord asked, “Have you forgotten the sins of your ancestors, the sins of the kings and queens of Judah, and the sins you and your wives committed in Judah and Jerusalem?” (44:9).
The painful but truthful answer was “Yes. They had forgotten.” Rather than letting the past teach them, the remnant chose to replicate its foolishness.
This pattern of forgetfulness is all too common among God’s people, even today. I watch, for example, as younger generations plant churches with godly zeal, but duplicate the mistakes of former generations because they fail to pay attention to history. Individuals can act similarly. I think of people who suffer under the flaws of their parents, only to replicate their behavior when they grow up. Sometimes, we even fail to learn from our own personal history, doing again and again that which has caused us so much pain. Jeremiah 44 reminds us not only to listen to God’s Word, but also to pay attention to the past.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Do you tend to forget the past? Why or why not? What have you learned as you look back upon the history of God’s relationship with his people? What have you learned as you reflect on your own history?
PRAYER: Gracious Lord, you asked if the remnant in Egypt had forgotten the sins of the past. The sad answer, as you know, was “Yes.” By neglecting the past, they chose to replicate it. How sad!
Yet we can do the same. We are often so interested in what’s new that we overlook the lessons of history. Our lives can be so busy that we don’t take time to learn from our own experiences. Thus we end up repeating painful mistakes, just like the remnant from Judah.
Help us, O Lord, not to forget the past. May we remember our sins so that we might not do them again. And may we recall times of blessing so that we might be encouraged to follow you more faithfully.
All praise be to you, O God, because you desire to teach and lead us in your grace. Amen.