“For He said, ‘Surely, they are My people, sons who will not deal falsely.’ So He became their Savior. In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the angel of His presence saved them; in His love and in His mercy He redeemed them, and He lifted them and carried them all the days of old.” (Isaiah 63:8-9)God chose Israel not because they were worthy, not because of their great righteousness, but because of His great love for them. God had placed His love upon Abraham and committed His love to Abraham’s descendents forever. “Because He loved your fathers, therefore He chose their descendants after them. And He personally brought you from Egypt by His great power, driving out from before you nations greater and mightier than you, to bring you in and to give you their land for an inheritance, as it is today.” (Deuteronomy 4:37-38) God loved Israel and, with great power, delivered them from the bondages of Egypt. That day He purchased Israel for Himself. They were to be His own people, a nation to show forth His glory. “Yet it is I who taught Ephraim to walk, I took them in My arms; but they did not know that I healed them. I led them with cords of a man, with bonds of love, and I became to them as one who lifts the yoke from their jaws; and I bent down and fed them.” (Hosea 11:3-4) For a while, Israel reveled in God’s love but it didn’t take long for her to wander.
“But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit; therefore He turned Himself to become their enemy, He fought against them.” (Isaiah 63:10)How could a nation that was so loved by their God turn away from Him? How is it that we often forget God though He is always with us, always loves us, and always cares for us? “‘Then your fame went forth among the nations on account of your beauty, for it was perfect because of My splendor which I bestowed on you,’ declares the Lord God. But you trusted in your beauty and played the harlot because of your fame, and you poured out your harlotries on every passer-by who might be willing.’” (Ezek 16:14-15) While Israel was small, despised, and needy, she needed God, but when she became beautiful and was filled with the splendor of the Lord, she forgot her God and turned to others. How easy it is to delight in the good things God has given us and yet forget where they came from. We can even deceive ourselves that all we have is because of our own goodness and strength. We can easily forget that all we have, every good gift, is from the Father above. God understands the heart of man and warned Israel from the very beginning. “Then it shall come about when the Lord your God brings you into the land which He swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you, great and splendid cities which you did not build, and houses full of all good things which you did not fill, and hewn cisterns which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant, and you eat and are satisfied, then watch yourself, that you do not forget the Lord who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” (Deuteronomy 6:10-12)
What is the secret to not forgetting our Lord? The key is found in what we desire most from the Lord. Do we love the Lord because of the good things He gives us or do we love Him because He first loved us? Do we long for the blessings of the Lord more than we long for the Lord Himself? Do we worship Him because He has been good to us or do we worship Him because He is worthy? If we love the things of God more than God, then when we receive those things we will forget the one who gave them. If, however, we love God more than His gifts, then His gifts will be a blessing but will never detract from the pleasures we experience in His presence. Let us look past the blessings we have received to see the loving giver behind them.