There’s an old story about a city dweller who was visiting relatives out on a country farm. The man of the city watched as his cousin the farmer gave a whistle and the farmer’s dog herded cattle into the corral. To his amazement, the city dweller saw the dog then latch the gate closed with her paw. He turned to his farming cousin and said, “Wow, that’s some dog. What’s her name?”
Now the farmer was a forgetful fellow. He thought for a minute and then asked, “What do you call that red flower that smells good and has thorns on the stem?” “A rose,” said the city cousin. “That’s it!” exclaimed the farmer. Then he turned to his wife and asked, “Hey Rose, what do we call this dog?”
We’ve all had moments where we forgot something, sometimes something very important. Many are the men who forgot their wife’s birthday or their wedding anniversary and then find themselves in the doghouse with…uh…hey Rose, what’s that dog’s name?
Now as embarrassing as forgetting something important can be, it pales into comparison to how unfortunate it is to forget God’s Word. In the Old Testament, we read that Israel was guilty of doing just that. At some point, not only did Israel forget God’s Word, but they lost it too! We don’t know how long they lost the Law of Moses, but during the reign of Josiah they found it (2 Kings 22). It is arguable whether or not what was lost was the ONLY copy of the Book of the Law or if they had lost the ORIGINAL copy of the Law. In either case, it is hard for us to believe that it would have been lost at all. How can you lose the Word of God? Well, that’s simple: You can lose what you forget.
Today, it would seem impossible to lose God’s Word. According to the magazine The Economist, over 100 million copies of the Bible are sold each year. There are countless copies of God’s Word in circulation. I don’t believe we could actually lose them all. But could we forget the Word of God? Absolutely! In fact, you could certainly make the argument that many denominations and, sadly, even some congregations of the church that Jesus built have forgotten God’s Word. They have forgotten that God’s Word is settled, that it stands forever. It can’t be changed, updated or redefined to fit what we want it to say. God’s Word also saves. Within its pages is the plain and understandable plan that God has for the salvation of all men. Men can’t invent their own plan of salvation because God’s Word has already settled that issue. The Bible also surpasses anything and everything else as our guide. Despite all of the technological advances we have enjoyed over the past century, the Bible still stands as the only beacon of truth and the only true hope for mankind. God’s Word is still a lamp to our feet and a light to our path and God’s people should still pray daily that God revive us according to His Word (Psalm 119:105-107).
The recent fascination (obsession?) with the online phenomenon called Pokémon Go begs the question: If people were as dedicated to reading the Word of God as they were in “capturing” fictitious cartoon characters, how much better off would their lives be? How much better off would the world be? You see, God’s Word doesn’t help us very much unless we hunger to read it and to put it permanently into our hearts and minds. We must study it, memorize it and then live it because if we don’t, then we will eventually forget it.
The warning of Hosea 4:6 still applies to us today: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.” May we never forget the Word of God!