"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).
This admonition was given by God through Moses as the children of Israel were preparing finally to enter God's promised land. God had done mighty things for them (delivering them from slavery in Egypt, parting the Red Sea for them, feeding them for forty years with water from a great rock, and daily bread from heaven) and it was important for them to teach their descendants, "lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen."
It was especially vital not to forget the actual words of God. "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it" (Deuteronomy 4:2). The writer of Psalm 119 (the longest chapter in the Bible) stressed no less than seven times how important it was not to forget the words of God.
"I will not forget thy word" (v.16).
". . . yet do I not forget thy statutes" (v.83).
"I will never forget thy precepts" (vv.93,141).
". . . for I do not forget thy law" (vv.109,153).
". . . for I do not forget thy commandments" (v.176).
Our nation has seen God do marvelous things. It was founded by a small band of Christians, and in a short span of history has become the greatest nation in the world. Yet we also seem about to forget, as Israel once did.
We would do well to rehearse again and again the poignant words of Kipling, in words written over a hundred years ago:
"Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet
Lest we forget, lest we forget."