Remembering helps us mature by receiving the truth in a new way.
9 God appeared to Jacob again, when he came from Paddan-aram, and blessed him.10 And God said to him, “Your name is Jacob; no longer shall your name be called Jacob, but Israel shall be your name.” So he called his name Israel. 11 And God said to him, “I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply. A nation and a company of nations shall come from you, and kings shall come from your own body. 12 The land that I gave to Abraham and Isaac I will give to you, and I will give the land to your offspring after you.” 13 Then God went up from him in the place where he had spoken with him. – Genesis 35:9-13
Nestled in the region of Paddan-aram, lies a small town called Luz – the very town Jacob renamed “Bethel” after God appeared to him there (Genesis 28:10-22). That warm night when Jacob stopped to get a little shuteye on his escape route, he envisioned an enormous ladder reaching to the heavens filled with angelic beings both ascending and descending the ladder. The Lord was standing on the top rung declaring his character and reestablishing the promise made to Jacob’s father and grandfathers. And that warm night, Jacob saw how every square inch of the earth was drenched in God’s presence.
Now, it’s nearly thirty years later and Jacob finds himself in the same region, being reminded of the same promises. As the Lord strategically takes him back to a physical place, the Lord helps him remember. Again, Jacob is reminded of his name change, which occurred ten years earlier. Again, the Lord declares his character and of the promises made to Jacob’s ancestors.
This happens in our lives, too. We come back around to starting points in our journey with God. Sometimes, it feels akin to regressing; like we’ve returned to the same old things we hoped to have moved beyond. But then, God gently reminds us, we don’t have to start over. God will build on the promises he’s already given. When God invites us to return to these starting points, he’s inviting us to remember – it’s one of the most powerful actions in the life of faith. We remember, not necessarily because spiritual maturity hasn’t taken place, but because remembering helps us mature by receiving the truth in a new way. Take a few moments now to praise God for your starting points with him. As you remember where you started, God can help you see how far you’ve come.
Remember these things,
O Jacob, and Israel, for you are my servant;
I formed you; you are my servant;
O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me.
I have blotted out your transgressions
like a cloud and your sins like mist;
return to me, for I have redeemed you.
– Isaiah 44:21-22
By Yvonne Biel