Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Jog your memory

"Fruit of the Spirit" wall hanging - Photo: V. Nesdoly
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Exodus 13:1-22

“It shall be as a sign to you on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes, that the LORD’s law may be in your mouth; for with a strong hand the LORD has brought you out of Egypt.” Exodus 13:9

To help us remember the special days in our lives we use oral and written story-telling, paper and electronic calendars, eating and gift-giving. In today’s reading we see it’s altogether biblical to use concrete things as reminders of our history with God. God instructed the Israelites on this.

The ban on leaven each year at Passover was a reminder of the morning of their hurried exit from Egypt (Exodus 13:4-7).

They were to pass their story on to their children (Exodus 13:8).

And they were to solidify the fact that they were God’s people with an act that was even more radical. They were to redeem the firstborn males of their own families and animals (Exodus 13:1,11-15)—another reminder of the tenth plague, when the death angel killed the Egyptians’ firstborn sons and animals. (The redemption of the Israelites’ firstborn sons is described in Numbers 3:40-51.)

These memorials were to be as visible and obvious as wearing a reminder on a hand or forehead (Exodus 13:9).

Did God expect the people to literally wear such reminders? The Israelites took no chances. My Bible’s study notes on Exodus explain:
“The later Jewish practice of wearing phylacteries while praying is based on these verses. Phylacteries are two small leather boxes attached by leather straps, one to the left hand and one to the forehead of an Israelite. They contain passages of the law” J.C.Tollett, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 93.

We customarily remember birthdays, wedding anniversaries, and holidays—some religious, some secular (the stores don’t let us forget even if we’d want to!). Perhaps we could also put more emphasis on remembering episodes and milestones of our personal walk with God—spiritual birthdays, the date of our baptism, dates of significant answers to prayer, and foundational passages of our faith and practice.

Do you memorialize such things? How?

PRAYER: Dear Father, thank You for the stories in the Bible that have given me a record of Your dealings with humankind over thousands of years. Help me to carry it on as I remind myself of what’s important to You and recall and tell the stories of your activity in my life to my children and grandchildren. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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