Memories for God – Part 1

Memories are part of who we are, they greatly influence our character and how we respond to life. Good, bad, and everything in between, memories are stored and unconsciously carry enormous power over our lives. For some, painful memories are a dictator which controls with relentless determination, robbing life’s beauties found in love, joy, and peace. For others, they are blessed with sufficient pleasant memories which they catalogue ready for recalling, bringing a sense of wellbeing, security, and belonging.

As memories are an intrinsic part of being made in the image of God, it’s important that we manage them well for God’s glory, for our sanity, for our equipping, and for being instrumental in blessing others. Should we choose, all memories are able to be used for good. Some require supressing while others need promotion. Some automatically produce pleasure and seek to be shared, while others should be learned from, then filed in the category of forgetfulness.

King David, like many, had a memory vault packed with both  wonderful and disastrous memories. From the highest pleasures to the lowest and most despicable regrets, David had a past which haunted him, and he needed God’s internal cleansing and organisation. From overwhelming guilt (Psalm 51), to two of his own sons conspiring to overthrow his thrown (2 Samuel 15; 1 Kings 1-2), David’s memory bank was packed full.

In the complex and confusing mix of life’s circumstances and personal sin, David first of all came to God for forgiveness and cleansing. Psalm 51:1-2 is a sample of this. Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! The Lord’s forgiveness enabled David to transfer those memories of guilt to the “forgiven and forgotten by God” column. As he states in Psalm 103:12, as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. David clung tightly to divine forgiveness which enabled him to focus his thoughts upon the Lord, on the glorious splendour of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate (Psalm 145:5). A shift in memory habit was enabled and actioned by God’s Spirit within wayward David’s heart and mind.

Malachi 3:16 tells of those who feared the LORD (who) spoke with one another. The LORD paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before Him of those who feared the LORD and esteemed His name. Although Malachi lived in a time of great idolatry, suffering, and wickedness, those who were authentic in their faith for God made a record for good. They chose to maintain a written memorial, not of the evil people, but of the righteous ones. Obviously, this caught God’s attention with great favour as He listened to them recounting the righteous memories instead of the foul ones only. For these believers in Yahweh, this was an intentional and effective tool for expressing their love for Him through their thoughts, while robbing bad memories of undue authority. This simple tool elevated good and beneficial memories above the painful and debilitating memories of the wicked.

Memories require deliberate management, otherwise, our fleshly hearts will predominantly gravitate towards the painful records of the past with crippling repetition and false authority. May we follow David’s example of how to glorify God with our memories. As he states, I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word (Psalm 119:15-16). Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! (Psalm 103:1).

To be continued…

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