Sand, Sun, and Holes

Remembering in Judges

Well, the family is heading to the beach this next week! I love the beach with the sand and the surf, riding waves, swimming and soaking up the sun. Over the years one of our favorite things to do at the beach down by the water is to dig holes. We see how deep we can make them as we battle the never ending flow of water that seeks to overwhelm our accomplishments. I can remember one year sitting in my chair a good ways back from the surf, watching my children trying to dig just such a hole. Over time they wanted to build a wall around it to keep the approaching sea water at bay. One would dig and the others would take buckets and run toward the water, fill their pails and and hastily return it to the sandy barrier so that they might strengthen it with some sea water. Over and over they would do this. Dig, pile, run, fill and deposit; repeat. I noticed though that one child upon returning from the surf to the sea wall around their hole and seeking to dump their water upon it would have only a trickle to pour out. Over and over this child would return and pour, only to be frustrated by the miniscule amount of water that they could deposit. I called to this child in their increasing frustration to come over to see if I could help. We looked at the pail and found that there was a large and to date unnoticed, hole in the bottom of their bucket! What a frustration - an unnoticed hole can bring. What futility in trying to bring water from the sea to the wall had become and yet over and over this child duplicated this same feat.

This past week in Sunday school we continued our discussion of the book of Judges. Idolatry is a major theme in this book and so the author seeks to remind them of the perils of worshipping something or someone other than the One True God. One author said this; “Idolatry kicks holes in our memory bucket. We must plug the holes.” When we turn from God, seeking to worship the creation rather than the Creator, we forget Who He is, who we are and His goodness to us in Christ.

Scripture is repetitive, and that is good news for us! Paul reminds us in Philippians 3:1 “Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the LORD! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.” We need to be reminded again and again because sin is ever kicking holes in our spiritual memories.

Judges 3:7 tells us, “The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD; they forgot the LORD their God and served the Baals and the Asherahs.” Forgetting and remembering have spiritual significance in the Bible. In the OT people asked God to “remember… your great mercy and love” (Psalm 25:6) or to “not remember our sins” (Isaiah 64:9) It is not that God does or could forget what He is like or what someone has done.

When they are asking Him to remember, they are asking that He would act according to His character. When they are asking that He not remember their sins, they are asking Him not to act on what He knows.

When the Israelites “forgot,” it does not mean that they no longer remember Him. It means that they were no longer controlled by what they knew about God. “Though they knew who God was and what He wanted, those things were not real to them… The truths that were once real and influential were now unreal and were forgotten.” (Timothy Keller, Judges For You Commentary, pp. 41-43)

What truths about God and His character have you “forgotten”? What truths do you need to be reminded of again today and act upon? Let’s plead that the Lord would patch our spiritual buckets with the “glue” of His grace in His Son, Jesus Christ.