The mind remembers. Memories guide. Voices direct. We remember the outcome of those directions. Daniel Boone reportedly offered the following wisdom. “I’ve never been lost, I’ve been a might bit bewildered for five days, but I’ve never been lost.”
Following Christ as the Shepherd is like that. Following Him, you may find yourself bewildered for a spell, but not lost. His voice continues to call out and help you find your way. Your travels will likely take some wild twists and turns along the way.You may have days when you feel quite bewildered, but your memories will help you stay true to the course set before you.
So memories are collections of events that went well or went sour. We remember bad events quite readily. This by itself is neither bad nor good, it’s just the way our ever learning brain functions. Touch the hot stove, you burn yourself, you don’t do it again because you remember(hopefully), and you save yourself pain and regret. Bad memories serve you well.
Good memories can be trained in to your brain as well. In military survival training, when confronted with an absence of food, you are taught how to narrow down what plants might be edible and non toxic. Then, armed with a very cautious demeanor, you take small samples of the plant, you touch it to your tongue, then later a pea size taste of the plant, and if it doesn’t harm you, you increase the size after a number of hours, and try some more. Eventually, you and that plant form a relationship of memories in which you can trust its benefits.
Psalm 34:8 has this sensory experience with God. It’s a very hands on, taste bud rich, in your ear pleasing kind of Psalm. Verse 8 says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good”…. Is God salty, sweet, flavorful? I don’t know about that. But He is good. Let’s expand our look at the Psalmist and his senses.
4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.
6 This poor man called, and the Lord heard him;
he saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them.
8 Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
The Psalmist is using a powerful collection of the memories of God’s voice and God’s leading to guide his way in the future.
Adam and Eve received some advice from their creator about food. “This food, all these trees and plants here are good. But don’t try to use this tree for food”, remember the tree of knowledge of good and evil. For some time, they seemed to trust God on these matters. But one day, a serpent gave them some contrary advice. “Ah, it won’t harm you to try it. Go ahead.”
At that point, memory failed them. And so began the greatest blame game in history. In fact, not only did they blame the serpent for their failure to remember God’s voice and plan, they eventually learned to blame God for their own failures. As if was not enough to blame the evil one in the story, they had to go all the way to the top. Adam forgot what a gift woman was to him and he blamed God for her failure as well as his.
We must remember our memories. It’s this collection of memories that helps us to stay found, less bewildered and never lost. In fact, Israel had a thing called Ebenizers. Stones of Help. When God protected them and defeated their enemies, they would set up an Ebenezer, a stone of help, a memorial, a remembrance of God’s voice and wonderful results of listening to that voice.
So taste and see how good it is to listen to God, and keep on listening and keep on following. You may find some bewilderment, but armed with Ebeneziers, you’ll never get lost. Go with God and you can be confident He will go with you.