Solomon’s Temple was a magnificent structure; his riches were beyond description. So impressed was the Queen of Sheba when she came from the South to view his empire that she exclaimed, “The half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity exceed the fame of which I heard.” (see 1 Kings 10.1-7). Solomon’s father, David, had wanted to build the first Temple but God prohibited it due to the fact that he had been “…a man of war and had shed blood.” (1 Chronicles 28.3). When Solomon finished the Temple, the following answer to his prayers was received.
“Then the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said to him: ‘I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually. As for you, if you walk before Me as your father David walked, and do according to all that I have commanded you, and if you keep My statutes and My judgments, then I will establish the throne of your kingdom, as I covenanted with David your father, saying, “You shall not fail to have a man as ruler in Israel.”’” (2 Samuel 7.12-18).
In these brief references, an amazing characteristic of God can be seen. Our purpose in this devotional message is to address this Divine trait. David was not a sinless man. In fact, he was far from it. One of the most infamous deeds of David involved his affair with a married woman and his deceit along with the hypocritical betrayal and murder of her husband, Uriah. The Bible clearly reveals these painful facts about a man who in another place was identified as a man after God's own heart (see Acts 13.22). On another occasion David directly disobeyed God's commandment in performing a census of the nation of Israel. As a result of David's misguided deed, a great plague took the lives of over seventy thousand men in Israel! Even in this, David forthrightly admitted his sin even as he had on other occasions (see the entirety of 1 Chronicles 21).
While it is true that God remembers sins for generations and generations to come, it is also true that God forgets sins! While I have heard people accused of having selective memory, God truly does have this trait. He doesn't apply it randomly or without Divine purpose, but He is able to forget the sins of His saints. This amazing trait is specifically mentioned in Jeremiah 31.34 and repeated twice in the New Testament (see Hebrews 8.12 and Hebrews 10.17). The ability of God to forget sins (also know as forgiveness) was brought to pass at great cost! It was/is not a Divine Disease; rather, it was/is a Divine Blessing. The blood of Jesus Christ was required in order for our Father to forget the sins of His people. This was a planned and intricately executed plan set in motion by the grace of God even before the first man walked this planet.
The fact that God could look back on David and commend others to walk in his footsteps is a testimony to this Divine trait of forgiveness. We should truly be glad that God's memory of sins is not absolute, but has been tempered by mercy and grace. When we sin, it need not signal the end of a relationship with God. Depending upon our reaction to our sins, God can use us and still say, “Walk in David's footsteps!”
1. What is “selective memory”?
2. In what sense does God have “selective memory”?
3. What was the price that had to be paid in order for God to have “selective memory”?
4. Is this a blessing or a curse? Why should we be joyful that God has this characteristic?
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