Humility Remembers, Pride Forgets (v. 6,7)
“We have sinned, even as our ancestors did; we have done wrong and acted wickedly. When our ancestors were in Egypt, they gave no thought to Your miracles; they did not remember Your many kindnesses, and they rebelled by the sea, the Red Sea.”
Fast-forward three millennia:
“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Those are not the words of someone who has failed to remember. They are the recollections of Michael Jordan, considered to be one of the greatest athletes of all time. What Jordan is admitting, is that he has unique limitations that have required him to invest many extra hours of practice in order for his body to accurately remember how to perform tasks well. This self-awareness, or humility, is what allows him to remember.
When the psalmist admits that he, his people and his ancestors have failed to remember God’s goodness, he is admitting that they have missed the mark, ‘done wrong’, even sinned. That’s a heavy weight of moral liability to discover. The psalmist observes that ignoring God, omitting to consider Him in the busy-ness of life, giving no thought to the reality of His sovereignty puts people in a morally bankrupt position. He is saying that it’s not just the things we do that we are responsible for, but also what we don’t do or don’t think.
‘…gave no thought…did not remember’.
It sounds familiar, doesn’t it? With little imagination we can see the psalmist describing our generation as much as his own. We too quite regularly fail to give thought to God’s presence in our self-absorbed, opportunistic approach to life’s challenges. We’re too busy thinking of other things.
We remember others’ offenses against us. We remember disappointments life has dealt us. We remember every trick we’ve learned to ensure we can satisfy our cravings and desires. But we often fail to remember the depth and breadth, scope and sequence of God’s active involvement in our lives.
Regarding our recollections of God, someone once observed that ‘humility remembers; pride forgets’. It is pride that draws our attention away from God’s steady, faithful involvement in our lives as we slip into self-reliance and self-gratification. In contrast, humility admits we have weaknesses and needs that only God can heal into wholeness. It is humility that compels us to resolve to remember God’s resources. His miracles, His kindnesses, His attributes and character traits not only tell of His strength, but also imbue strength upon those who rehearse them. As we determine to put Him foremost in our minds, to soak in the knowledge and experience of Him, to be permeated by thoughts of Him, we become whole and complete people.
His foremost commandment is for our good: To love the LORD our God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind is to bring remembrance of Him into every aspect of our lives and through this find fulfillment.
Father, forgive my failures to remember You as I ought. Love of self keeps finding ways to usurp the rightful place You deserve in my heart, soul, strength and mind. Your miracles and many kindnesses are all around, within and without, if I have eyes to see them. Help me determine to remember You. Help me practice moment by moment to acknowledge Your sovereign and good presence in my life, no matter the circumstances.
Photo Credit: “Chain basketball hoop” by Flickr.com user “The Jamoker” – http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamoker/179322157/. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons –