"I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, telling to the generation to come the praises of Jehovah, and his strength, and his wondrous works that he hath done." (ASV)
Memory is a fickle thing. People don't remember things for long, unless they have some way of being reminded.
Do you remember your first grade teacher? I mean really remember her? Can you picture her in your mind?
Most people do not. If they do, it's only because of a photo or because they have seen her more recently than when she taught them to read and write. In the same way, it is easy for Christians to forget the good things God has done for them. This is why, throughout the old testament, God instructed His people in ways of remembering.
When He made a covenant with Noah never to flood the earth again, he set a rainbow in the sky: "And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth." (Genesis 9:16 ASV)
When He brought Israel out of bondage, Moses gave the people a way of remembering their deliverance: "And Moses said unto the people, Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand Jehovah brought you out from this place: there shall no leavened bread be eaten." (Exodus 13:3 ASV)
And when the Ark of the Covenant crossed the Jordan, God instructed his people to set a memorial there as well: "then ye shall say unto them, Because the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of Jehovah; when it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever." (Joshua 4:7 ASV)
I believe that in these passages (and many others) God is setting before us a standard. He wants us to remember the things He has done, and He knows that we will need memorials to do this.
Modern day memorials may be quite a bit different than those of the Bible, but they are every bit as important. We should find a way of remembering the good things God has done, so that we can hold on to them when we pass through trials. Often a photograph or a journal entry can remind us. Some scrapbook their memories, while others may hold onto specific items that remind them.
How do you remember God's good works in your life?