“Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons” – Deuteronomy 4:9
Recently in my psychology class, we were studying the stages of child development. One idea that we studied was that young infants lack “object permanence,” which is the awareness that an object continues to exist even when it cannot be seen or heard. This is the main idea behind games like peek-a-boo – babies are amused by quick appearances and disappearances because they do not yet understand that people exist even when they cannot see them.
During class, we watched a short video clip of a baby crawling toward a toy. When the toy was covered by a blanket, the baby stopped crawling and looked around, confused. As far as she was concerned, the toy that she had wanted only seconds ago no longer existed! The toy was uncovered again, and she began to crawl toward it, but when the blanket was thrown over it, she would stop. This was repeated several times until finally the toy was in the baby’s reach – but just as she was reaching her hand out to grab it, it was covered by the blanket again. Of course, she pulled back her hand, sat back, and looked around, completely clueless. Naturally, the video was quite amusing. The baby had just seen the toy, had nearly touched it, yet somehow, she didn’t understand that it was still there! How silly it seemed to us!
But as I thought more about it, aren’t we sometimes the same way when it comes to remembering the presence of God? At times, we see God working so clearly in our lives and in the lives of His people, or we hear His Word preached so powerfully into our hearts. When we are spending time in His Word or taking the time to pray, He is at the forefront of our minds. Like the baby crawling toward the toy, we see God and we want to follow after Him and grow closer to Him.
But just as we begin to do this, Satan appears, ready to “cover God up,” to distract us and make us forget about Him. Maybe the blanket he uses is difficult circumstances in life that make it hard to believe that God is really present and working in our lives. Maybe it’s the distractions of the entertainment of this world or simply the busyness of everyday life that keeps us from focusing our hearts on Him.
And the sad thing is, far too often we fall for Satan’s lies and tricks. We hear God’s Word preached so powerfully on Sunday, but the rest of the week we are distracted and forget that He is even there. We make time for devotions in the morning, but then completely erase God from our thoughts for the rest of the day. Like the baby in the video, we look around, confused about what we should be doing because we have lost sight of our goal of growing nearer to Him.
We must not let this happen! Instead, we must be like the apostles, who were so excited by Jesus and His amazing words and works that they said in Acts 4:20, “We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” We need to read God’s Word often, and apply it to our lives so that when Satan attempts to distract us from God and make us forget Him, we see right through his plans and keep our minds and hearts focused on the Lord.
Deuteronomy 8:11 – “Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day.”