Remember & Return

Would you look and see
Open your eyes once again and behold
In your daily wanderings
Pause
Listen to My voice once again
And return to Me
I am here
I have been with you


THE PROPHET JEREMIAH

Neither did they say,
“Where is the LORD,
Who brought us up out of the land of Egypt,
Who led us through the wilderness,
Through a land of deserts and pits,
Through a land of drought and the shadow of death,
Through a land that no one crossed,
And where no one dwelt?”
I brought you into a bountiful country,
To eat its fruit and its goodness.

Jeremiah 2:6–7a (NKJV)

At this point in Israel’s history when the prophet Jeremiah shared these words of God, the people had forsaken Him and were chasing after other gods. Instead of the devotion they had vowed unto God (Jer 2:2–3a; cf. Exod 19:7–8), the Israelites went far away from God and forsook Him and His ways. They gave themselves over to other gods and no longer feared the true God.

In His mercy, God spoke through Jeremiah time and time again over 40 years to warn the Israelites of impending judgement if they did not repent and turn back to Him. Through Jeremiah, God continually called the Israelites to “Return, you backsliding children” (Jer 3:22). If they returned to Him, God promised to heal and provide for them, restoring their brokenness (3:12–17).

 

DRINK FROM THE FOUNTAIN OF LIVING WATERS

In Jeremiah 2:4–3:5, when the prophet Jeremiah sounded the call to the people of Israel to remember God, he shared that God referred to himself as “the fountain of living waters” (2:13). However, instead of drinking from living waters, the people have “hewn themselves cisterns broken cisterns that can hold no water” (v. 13). 

To hew means to cut or chop into the shape of something and a cistern is a vessel for storing water. Why are we drinking from damaged tanks of stagnant water when we have access to the very source of flowing freshwater? 

For some of us, our studies and grades have become the broken cisterns that we drink from, in that we derive pride and find our sense of worth from them. For others, the image others have of us that we are responsible, capable, or clever at certain tasks has shaped our identity. We strive to keep up that image over resting in who God says we are — already and always his beloved ones (Jer 31:3; Gal 2:20). Perhaps it is the enticement of earthly things that has taken your attention off God and you no longer desire a closer walk with God like before.

 

Why are we drinking from damaged tanks of stagnant water
when we have access to the very source of flowing freshwater?

 

Hear again the words of the prophet Jeremiah: “‘Return, backsliding Israel,’ says the LORD; ‘I will not cause My anger to fall on you. For I am merciful,’ says the LORD; ‘I will not remain angry forever’” (Jer 3:12).

What are these broken cisterns in your life today? What have you been trying to draw life from that has replaced the true source of life?

Would you give these stagnant sources over to God and drink instead from the ever-flowing and refreshing fountain of living waters?

 

REMEMBER AND RETURN

Just as God remembers Israel in their early days in order to stir their hearts for Him (Jer 2:1–3), we too can remember what God has done in our lives in order to turn our hearts back to Him. 

This is the same God who brought the Israelites out of slavery into freedom (Exod 14:27-31), led them through the wastelands (Exod 16:35), delivered them through many trials (Deut 2:24-25, Josh 4:22-24), and caused them to establish themselves in a new land which had not been theirs (Josh 6:20). Throughout their journey, He was with them and He kept His promise to them. 

God promised to bless Abraham and his descendants and make them a blessing (Gen 12:2-3). He promised to be with the Israelites if they would obey and walk before Him (Exod 13:21-22, Jer 3:12-18). He promised rest for their souls if they returned to Him (Jer 6:16). This is our God who calls out to us to return, beloved children, and stop running our own way.

When we recognise and remember God working in our lives — in however small or big a way — our hearts will go back to that place of praise and fear of God, knowing that God’s hand has been in it all being present with us, providing and caring for us even when we failed to notice, guiding and protecting us.

So how do we remember?

1. Journal. One simple way to remember the small and big things God has done in your life is to journal. Write the numbers 1 to 30/31 on a page — one number for every day of the month. Write one line (or more!) of thanksgiving at the end of each day and let this growing list be a way to remember God and His goodness in your life.

2.  Read the Bible. The stories in the Bible are such good places to begin remembering the amazing deeds God has done in history. From the beginning of time to the resurrection of Jesus and beyond, God has not stopped His good work. Let your faith arise as you read these stories and let them inspire you in your personal walk with God.

3.Share. Inviting others to come alongside our journey gives us the opportunity to retell the  stories that we experience with God in our lives. Sometimes, it may be a story about something you have been praying for. Whether you’re still waiting or God has answered, sharing your story gives you space to reflect and remember.


When we recognise and remember God working in our lives
— in however small or big a way —
our hearts will go back to that place of praise and fear of God,
knowing that God’s hand has been in it all.


Heed the call to remember once again. Will you take time and take care to remember who God is and what He has done for you, and to hear His promises for you?


How we so often and so easily forget
We have not remembered
Let’s start again
And choose
To remember

Alina Teo
I am a mother of two littles. Some things that I love — vintage florals, mountains, cooking, sewing and writing. I have a heart for the broken and I take comfort in knowing that Christ can be our hope.

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