When you come into the Promised Land and move into houses you did not build, take over crops you did not plant, and eat victuals you did not grow, then beware lest you forget the Lord. (Deuteronomy 6:12)
Don’t forget. Unless you need to.
The theme of half the sermons from Old Testament prophets is “Remember, O Israel.” The Hebrew word is zakar and it’s justifiably a big deal in God’s Word.
But there is a lot to be said for forgetting, too. Much in our lives does not need to be retained.
I heard of Jill Price, a California woman who remembers everything. Not that she wants to. Ever since she was 8 years old, beginning in 1974, her mind appears to have switched on some feature the rest of us do not have and wouldn’t want in a thousand years. From 1980 forward, she has “near perfect” recall on everything.
By “everything,” we mean what she had for dinner, what she watched on television, the news that night, the temperature, conversations, everything.
Jill Price’s story is told in a book some have called “the weirdest book of the year” with the title The Woman Who Can’t Forget.
Continue reading →
“The Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples)….” (John 4:1-2)
Baptism has bumfuzzled God’s people from the first.
Where did the practice originate? Answer: Evidently from the Old Testament practice of drenching a newly ordained priest (Leviticus 8:6). Later, some say, the “pouring” was given to proselytes coming into the Jewish faith from the world. So, when John the Baptist arrived and began calling people to wade into the Jordan for a dip (which is the literal meaning of “baptize”), while people thought he was strange, no one seems to have questioned the practice. Oddly, he was baptizing Jews, not Gentiles and not proselytes.
When our Lord was baptized, it signaled His coming out, His going public, His announcing to the world His identity. That moment, in my thinking, was the first time Satan knew beyond a doubt who the Messiah was. He knew the Lord was there somewhere, for he could read Scripture. But Jesus had done no miracles and singled Himself out in no way that would cause the enemy to identify Him. But Satan was on the alert. He listened to John preach and knew to be expecting the Christ. And then one day, Jesus of Nazareth walked into the water and the heavens opened and a voice from the sky shook the landscape.
And that’s when Satan knew.
Continue reading →