People forget. It’s what we do. We forget basic facts and pieces of knowledge, but tragically, we forget in a spiritual sense. We forget our love for others, sometimes we even forget God (Isaiah 51:12-13). The latter, amongst all the types of spiritual forgetfulness, is the most dangerous.
What does it mean to forget God? In my experience, it means to stray from God – stop Bible reading, stop praying, stop seeking after or pursuing God. God becomes an afterthought – an accessory in our lives at best, rather than the central focus of it.
The Consequences of Forgetting God
Now, what happens when we forget God? Allow me to speak from experience. We forget God’s law – or, more specifically, we forget the reason for and substance of God’s law and why we follow it. Instead of following God out of loving obedience and a desire to grow in godliness and to grow closer to God, we follow it in a legalistic way as just a bunch of annoying rules that we have to follow or else. Essentially, in this sense, we become the people God spoke of in Isaiah 29:13 when describing people who worshiped Him in a way that He despised.
What else happens? We ignore God. And this is the scariest. He speaks to us, He calls us to repent of sin and to follow Him and to live in a certain way and make certain choices and to walk in fellowship with Him, and we ignore Him. One verse in particular that comes to mind is 2 Chronicles 33:10, where it says that God spoke to the evil and wicked king Manasseh and his people, but they did not listen and kept on sinning. In the end, God brought judgment on Manasseh for his horrible sins (which included sacrificing his own son as a burnt offering to a demon god) by having him captured and brought in chains to Babylon. He ended up repenting and being restored to fellowship with God, yes, but at great cost (what else could you call him being taken from his throne and taken in captivity to a foreign land and made a prisoner?).
What else happens when we forget God? Our character warps. We grow lustful, hateful, bitter, resentful, spiteful. We let the sun go down on our anger and we revel in it. The way of Christ, that of meekness and godliness and accepting suffering and blessing those who hurt and curse us, comes to be seen as foolishness and just weird. We grow worldly. Brothers, sisters, to forget God is to embark upon the road to Hell. Satan waits at the gates of his domain to greet us, eager to see us approach.
We’ll continue tomorrow, with words on how not to forget God.