In the movie the Lion King, Simba experiences a terrible tragedy with the loss of his father. Worse still, his evil uncle Scar convinces him that it’s HIS fault Mufasa died, and that he should never return to Pride Rock because of his shameful act. Simba spends his adult years drifting, keeping company with a strange meerkat and warthog, until along comes his childhood friend Nala. Upon recognizing each other, Nala demands that he return to Pride Rock to challenge Scar’s tyrannical rule of the kingdom and reclaim his right to the throne. Simba refuses, believing his earlier actions have left him beyond redemption… until a chance encounter with a wise old monkey causes him to change his mind and return to reclaim his birthright to the throne.
The bible contains 231 instances of the word “remember.” God uses it numerous times to command the people to return to him, and his prophets of the Old Testament were constantly forced to challenge the people to renew the promises they had made to serve the Lord, because their faulty memories and fickle hearts often led them astray as generations came and went. Like the aimlessly drifting Simba, or the unfaithful children of Israel, I think we can all sometimes lose sight of where we’ve been in life, and therefore where we’re going. Sometimes it takes a stern reminder of who your Father is before you realize that you’ve been slowly slipping away from the destiny you were born to claim.
I’ve always been a huge history nerd. Part of that comes from a simple love of the past, and a fascination with artifacts and stories of people older than me. Another part of it, though, comes from the profound sense of direction I get from knowing that God’s plan for my life has been literally thousands of years in the making. In moments when I find myself with my back against a wall, it does me good to remember that I, my father, and my grandfather have all escaped from some tight scrapes in our lifetimes just so that God could bring me to the place where I am now. If he was faithful then, he’ll be faithful again.
Isaiah was one of dozens of prophets whom God raised up over the course of Israel’s history to admonish them to remember their God and turn back to him. One of my favorite passages in all of the bible comes from the book of Isaiah in chapter 46, when God declares once and for all to Israel who he is, and what he’s doing for them:
take it to heart, you rebels.
9 Remember the former things, those of long ago;
I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me.
10 I make known the end from the beginning,
from ancient times, what is still to come.
I say, ‘My purpose will stand,
and I will do all that I please.’
11 From the east I summon a bird of prey;
from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose.
What I have said, that I will bring about;
what I have planned, that I will do.
12 Listen to me, you stubborn-hearted,
you who are now far from my righteousness.
13 I am bringing my righteousness near,
it is not far away;
and my salvation will not be delayed.
I will grant salvation to Zion,
my splendor to Israel.
God is doing something amazing with your life, and with humanity as a whole. Don’t get caught up in the day-to-day frustrations and temptations of this life, or you may lose sight of the grander purpose for which he created you. Don’t let the enemy steal your identity away from you; remember who you belong to. Don’t let your doubts about your future cloud your trust in God’s plan; remember what he brought you through in the past to get you to this point in your life.