I have a few good friends who serve as pastors. I’ve often wondered if they feel pressure to craft something new and original for their sermons each week. Think about it—a pastor preaches to roughly the same crowd every weekend for years on end. Eventually they’re bound to run out of stories, jokes, illustrations, and new takes on passages, right?
Finally, I asked one of them about this. “Don’t you ever worry that you’ll run out of new material?”
His answer is one I’ll never forget. He said, “You know, I used to worry about that quite a bit, but the truth is I don’t have to come up with something new each week. My job is to remind people—to remind them of the gospel, to remind them of who God is and what He has promised, and to remind them to get in the Word and soak in God’s truths.”
I knew instantly that he was right. Once we’ve heard and encountered the gospel in a serious way, we need to be compassionately and consistently reminded of its power and primacy in our lives.
In a sense, that is exactly what Isaiah is doing in today’s reading. He is calling the people of God to remember the great acts of the Almighty and to stand firm in their calling (Isaiah 46:8). In contrast to the gods their neighbors served, the God of Israel is real, alive, and powerful. He is not created by a goldsmith or tradesmen, and He cannot be carried around as a totem or symbol. He is realer than real and more present than anything human hands can create.
Remember this. Remember.
These were things the people of God already knew. They knew idols were not real gods. They knew that there was none like Yahweh. No one was with Him in the beginning. No one laid the foundations of the world in the most ancient days other than Him. And yet, they needed a stirring reminder. And so do we!
I know these things to be true. Perhaps you know these things to be true, too. Yet somewhere in the malaise of the day-in, day-out routines, we forget. The truth of God is buried deep in our hearts, but we can so easily forget to act, speak, or live from that place.
We need people like Isaiah and pastors in our lives to call us back to the fold and lead us upward toward the Lord. But we have another steady and faithful source of remembrance: God’s Word. Just because we know of God’s great redemption doesn’t mean we remember to live in it each day. We are fickle creatures. To remember properly, and therefore to live rightly and wholly, we must soak our minds and spirits in the Word of God.
Lean into the eternal, everlasting, and divine memories of our God. He has given us access to them as His people in His Word. May we all seek to take a hold of that access today and remember His salvation always.
Written by Andrew Stoddard