“What kind of a question is that? Of course He hasn’t. Jesus called little children to Himself. ‘God loves the little children, all the children of the world’.” It’s certainly true that the Lord Jesus loved children and children seem to have loved Him.
At the same time, it’s a shame that so much of what we believe comes from Sunday School and sentiment instead of from the Scripture.
Certainly, God can’t and doesn’t “forget” in the sense that there become “gaps” in His memory. There is a verse, however, in which He Himself say He will “forget your children.”
“Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children,” Hosea 4:6.
This came as a result of God rebuking the people of Israel for their wickedness: “There is no truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land. By swearing and lying, killing and stealing and committing adultery, they break all restraint, with bloodshed upon bloodshed,” Hosea 4:1a-2 (emphasis added).
When God talks about “forgetting” their children, does that mean that there will be a gap in His knowledge, that He actually forgets them and has no memory or knowledge of them?
Of course not.
But read the first part of the verse to get the context of the second part: Because you have forgotten the law of your God…. Don’t get upset about the second part without understanding the first part.
This verse may be one of those “hard sayings” that skeptics and unbelievers rail against, but, you see, that’s because, it says actions have consequences. Every action has a consequence. Israel, God’s favored, chosen nation found that out the hard way. We don’t like that; we want things our way, as if God just ran some sort of cosmic Burger King where “you get it your way,” instead of being the King of Eternity.
When God brought the people of Israel out of Egyptian slavery and made them into a nation, what was one of the main things He told them to do?
In Deuteronomy 6:6, 7, God said, …these words that I command you this day shall be in your heart; you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up” (emphasis added).
He had already warned them about this earlier in chapter 4. In v. 9, after reminding them of the great blessing and privilege they had, things not given to other nations, vs. 6-8, he said, “Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life, and teach them to your children and your grandchildren“ (emphasis added).
Talking to the generation that was about enter the land, Moses reminded them of all the things God had done for them, bringing them out of Egypt and sustaining them through forty years in the wilderness, where there was neither grocery story nor Walmart. “Your garments did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years,” Deuteronomy 8:4. In Deuteronomy 29:5, he repeated this thought: “Your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandals have not worn out on your feet.” In fact, they were still wearing those same clothes and sandals.
When Moses warned them against forgetting the Lord, forgetting what He had done for them in the land of Egypt, and how He had provided for them in their wilderness travels, was he just warning them against a mental lapse of some sort?
No, no. It was so much more than that. In 8:11, he said, “Beware that you do not FORGET the Lord your God BY NOT KEEPING HIS COMMANDMENTS, HIS JUDGMENTS, AND HIS STATUTES,which I command you this day” (emphasis added).
Israel never “forgot” God in the sense that she lost the memory of Him. She just, for the most part, did her own thing and went her own way. This is what Hosea was complaining about.
The sad thing is, there is never a single time when Moses ever expressed any hope that Israel would actually “remember” the Lord like she was supposed to. It was always from the standpoint of warning her what would happen if she went astray. She had already done that before he ever came down from Sinai the first time!
“Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your children.”
He “forgot” them by leaving them to the consequences of their actions.
Is there a lesson here for us? I write of the US, though it’s applicable to other nations and people as well.
There’s a university that does a lot of advertising in various magazines and through the mail. One time they sent me a sample CD, with lessons which covered the settling of our country by the Pilgrims. The thing I found striking was that there wasn’t a single mention of the Mayflower Compact. This was actually the first document of American history, in which some of the passengers on the Mayflower put into writing for the first time in history the idea of self-governance, an idea later formalized by our Constitution.
The interesting thing in this document is found in it’s opening sentences. After the obligatory reference to King James, of whom they were “loyal subjects,” they referred to the reason for their own coming to the new world: “….having undertaken [it] for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith….”
Not a word of any of this in this CD. And this has pretty much become the norm: ignoring the idea that Christianity had any part of the founding of this nation. Granted, it was never the “established religion,” as it was in England or Germany or other countries. Some of the founding fathers had suffered under such regimes, a thing which always happens when religion has civil power. Witness the Inquisition under Rome and the slaughter of tens of thousands, if not millions, of Anabaptists and other nonconformists under the Reformed churches. The same thing is true in Islam. So the Constitution was written to prevent the establishment of any religion as “official.” However, the founding fathers did not, by this, intend the founding of atheism as the official viewpoint, nor the preventing of religious observances, as it has developed.
In fact, the first universities in this countries were founded as “seminaries.” One of the important founders of Yale University was a man named Asahel Nettleton, whom probably not 1 of a 1000 Americans has ever heard of. He was, however, a successful evangelist and preacher, much used of God in the early 1800s, who opposed Charles G. Finney, his preaching and his popularization of the “New Measures,” which Finney used, methods which were the beginnings of the altar call and modern fundamentalist forms of “soul-winning.”
McGuffey’s Reader, which was widely used until men like Horace Mann and John Dewey urged the secularization of public education, started off teaching the alphabet with “A: In Adam’s fall, we sinned all.” You can imagine what would happen today if a teacher tried to teach that to her little students.
There has, until the last two or three generations, been a strong Biblical influence in this country. As time has passed, though, this influence has been challenged and today it is even illegal in schools and government.
And parents have to a large degree fallen by the wayside in the teaching of spiritual truths to their children. I speak from my own experiences in “church,” but parents tended to drop their kids off for Sunday School and expected the church to give them the teaching they needed. There was little if any corresponding teaching at home. Any such teaching at school, of course, was, and is, out of the question.
And look at our kids today – generally speaking. There are still good kids out there, but I fear they are in a growing minority – a minority that will never have government approval. You see kids shuffling down the middle of the street, underwear hanging out, a look of arrogance on their faces. Drive-by shootings. Bombings. Schools being shot up. Drugs. Violence. Sexual degeneracy. Gangs. Nurseries for babies in high schools. Teenage abortion. Rap “music.”
For the most part, our kids are a mess.
They haven’t been taught the Word of God. In fact, they have been taught against it. They suffer the consequences of these actions every day.
Though it isn’t just the kids.
There’s a lot of concern in the community about “stopping the violence.” There’s a lot of church leaders in the lead here, along with the police and other concerned citizens. They want the young people to turn in their guns. Go to counseling. Hold vigils. Light candles. “Stop the violence.”
But “guns” aren’t the problem. No, they’re not. The high school I graduated from was the “tough” school in town. It’s in what is now probably a hotbed of violence and youthful troubles. Though I’m sure it’s not still there, in the basement of this school, there was a rifle range (*gasp*) with rifles, locked up, of course, and ammunition. They were common back then. I, myself, qualified as a marksman on this range. But there was never, ever, any trouble with these guns.
Furthermore, most of the fellows carried pocket knives. No stabbings. I carried one myself for years, even after I graduated, until the day I tried to make a delivery at the local courthouse and had to go through a metal detector. Oops. Why, I was carrying a dangerous weapon! *sigh* I had to take it back to my truck and leave it there.
“You’ve come a long way, baby.”
I blame these pastors and church leaders for much of our youth’s troubles. Instead of preaching the Gospel and requiring repentance, faith, and holy living, they want “social justice.” “Diversity.” $15 an hour to fry hamburgers.
They want to take folks out of the slums, without stopping to consider the “slum” that is in folks. We’re all sinners by nature, preference and habit.
Now, social justice is important. Even our Lord taught that we’re to treat others as we would like to be treated. And there’s a great deal more about that in the Old Testament. However, that’s not the emphasis in these modern times. It’s not at all about how we treat others. It’s about how they are supposed to treat us. At the same time, we can treat them pretty much as we like.
But isn’t our God a God of love? Surely, He wouldn’t do as He might have done in the Old Testament. Praise His holy name, He is a God of love, but He’s still a God where actions have consequences. America, and most of the rest of the world, has largely forgotten God by neglecting or denying His Word. We’ve thrown His Word out and told Him He’s not welcome.
As a result of our actions, He’s “forgotten” us by leaving us to their consequences.
I think we can imagine Him asking, “How’s that working out for you?”
[I’m sorry for the “negative” tone of this post. It’s just that there’s not much to be “positive” about in this year of our Lord 2014.]