Mark 8:15-18 – And he cautioned them, saying, “Watch out; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” And they began discussing with one another the fact that they had no bread. And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember?”
This exchange between Jesus and his disciples came after two important events: Jesus’ feeding of the 4,000 with 7 loaves and his encounter with the sign-seeking Pharisees. When Jesus tried to warn his disciples against the infectious and ungodly thinking of a generation that was seeking self-satisfaction over the truth of God, the disciples got lost in his metaphor about leaven. They began to worry about the fact that they only had one loaf of bread for the 13 of them.
Jesus’ response to the disciples looks a bit hard, and it rightly should have been. The disciples had already seen Jesus feed 5,000 with 5 loaves and 4,000 with 7 loaves. They should have known better than to think that they might run out of bread for the trip. Thus, Jesus rebukes them for being blind in their hearts to truth.
What strikes me is his asking them “Do you not remember?” and “Do you not understand?” This should strike us all. When we forsake the will of God for temporal pleasures, cultural norms, or the approval of men, should we not say to ourselves, “Do you not remember?” When we get caught up in worry about how we will make it from day to day, should we not ask our selves, “Do you not understand?” When we fail to view this life through the lens of the glory, power, provision, and goodness of God, we have failed to remember and understand everything that is important. We will dramatically misinterpret our circumstances if we view them outside of the plans and purposes of God.
Next time you find yourself tempted to give into cultural pressures or to try to rationalize your way out of a right action, remember. Remember that God made you, bought you at a price, loves you deeply, knows what is truly best, and is the only one who can truly satisfy your soul. Next time you are tempted to despair, remember that Jesus died to purchase your relationship with God, that God has made you his child, that God is good, and that God is certainly strong enough to overcome your greatest struggle. Next time you find yourself drawn into the world’s mold of selfishness, victim mentality, or relativistic morality, remember that God is the one who defines righteousness, who judges all humanity, who knows your heart, and who is the one for whom the universe exists.
While I do not want to belabor the point, I believe that to stop without repeating this call would be unfruitful for those who read it. Add the question, “Do I remember,” to your vocabulary. If you do not actually change the way that you think and the way that you talk to yourself, you will not actually change. When you get angry, frustrated, afraid, depressed, or disillusioned, ask yourself, even aloud if necessary, “Do I remember,” or “Do I understand?” Ask, “Am I remembering the truth of the gospel and the character of God?” Inquire, “Have I understood God’s sovereignty and his purposes in my situation?” find out, “Am I remembering truth more than feeling emotion?” then, return to God, remember what is true, understand his word, and let him change you and your actions and attitudes from the inside out.
Dear Lord, I recognize that I so often fail to remember the truth. I pray, however, that you will remind me every day. Help me to remember you by looking into your word. Prompt me, by your Holy Spirit, to understand and remember what is real in place of the false and worldly thinking that endeavors to dominate my mind. Help me to remember, and to take captive every evil and ungodly thought. Help me to honor you by thinking with an eternal perspective.