We Will Remember
It is the nature of man to forget; that is why the Scriptures so regularly call us to remember, and to be intentional about it. When things are going well for us, it is easy to get lulled into complacency, and forget where our strength, peace, joy, and provision come from, and Who brings it. Then, when times of hardship arise, we flail about, wondering what has become of our once firm foundation.
Times of ease are meant to be times of preparation. For as sure as the seasons come and go, the beauty and plenty of summer and fall will certainly be replaced by the barrenness and hardship of winter. Like the old Aesop’s fable of the grasshopper who lazed away the bounty of summer, only to find himself in privation when winter came, we can become so enamored with the fun times which ease provides that we forget to not only enjoy the plenty, but prepare for the inevitable times of want which will also come.
This principle is true in both physical and spiritual dimensions. A wise person gathers a spiritual storehouse during times of spiritual bounty, and squirrels it away for the storms of life that come to every man. We can only “remember” or call to mind those things which we have first learned and filed away in our hearts and minds. Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would come into the lives of each of His followers and help them to recall all He had commanded, even teaching us more about what those things mean in deeper ways. But He doesn’t work in a vacuum; we have to “hide God’s word in our hearts,” and study what those promises, commands, and truths are, so they can be applied when the time of need arises.
Such was the case with King David. He was someone who had studied and experienced God in very personal ways. He was also a man who experienced some incredibly difficult seasons in his life. In 2 Samuel 22 we see a psalm that describes how he worked his way through what he describes as a “day of disaster.” But he doesn’t begin with describing his plight, he begins by remembering who God is to him in the midst of his difficulty. As we will see, this perspective makes all the difference to the heart of a believer.
“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my Savior…I call to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies.” Notice, first, all the ways David describes God. How does he see Him? David is remembering all the things he has learned about God, both by the Scripture and through experience. These inform him as to how God will relate to him during any trial. God isn’t one thing today and altogether different tomorrow. He is faithful, steadfast, and unchanging.
Now, go back and look at all the personal pronouns in that passage. David knows that God is not only these things in character or nature, He is these things to him. God’s actions for him are personal. He’s not just a refuge, He is my refuge, rock, fortress, etc.
Next, David goes on to vividly describe his circumstance. Pay attention to the imagery as he describes his situation: The waves of death swirled about me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called to the Lord; I called out to my God. From His temple He heard my voice; my cry came to His ear.”
From the context of this passage, the “waves” are not gentle, rocking swells, but huge breakers crashing down on him, swirling and sucking him under. His circumstances were overwhelming torrents of destruction. Like a mighty python the cords of the grave were wrapped around him, trapping him, squeezing the life out of him. No matter what dire situation we find ourselves in, we can probably relate to the feelings David expresses here. But because David had stored away in his memory bank the truths about who God is and was to him, he was able to remember to turn to Him in the midst of his need and cry out, and trust that he would be heard and answered. Again, notice the personal pronouns here. David remembered that he belonged to God and God belonged to him. If David had not prepared by walking with the Lord in times of ease, learning, growing, storing away truth, then his outcome when the day of disaster came upon him would have been much different.
God indeed answered him in mighty ways: He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me on my day of disaster, but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place. He rescued me because He delighted in me. Do you believe that the Lord delights in you? Can you grasp that? Does it grip you? Can you see how believing that truth will give you confidence that God will indeed reach down from on high and take hold of you and draw you out of whatever deep waters you face? Do you believe that when your own days of disaster come the Lord will be your support and bring you out to a spacious place?
Remembering who the Lord is gave David confidence when facing new trials. It gave Him a testimony which he not only could confess to himself when he needed that strength, but one which echoes down the millennia to us today. David remembered the works of God’s hands and His relationship with him, and it made all the difference. Let us do the same, whether we are preparing in a time of ease, or are facing our own day of disaster. And let us not neglect to testify and praise Him for how He has done so thus far in our lives.