“If I ever forget you, Jerusalem, let my fingers wither and fall off like leaves.” Psalm 137.5
Certain events, places, things, and people burn themselves into your mind so deep that one will never be able to escape their reality. The memories become real, close, and often personal. Thanksgiving and Christmas are times where we capture and write new pictures while old ones chase themselves around in our heads.
Remember your first date? How about the first car to have your name on the title? What was your first lost love’s hair color or favorite food? Are there any high school or college classes that stick in your mind? Perhaps a party to end all parties?
For David and most of the Israelites, Jerusalem often was central in their important memories. Major religious, cultural, and national events happened in this city. Kings made their homes in the center while business held court at the major gates. For many citizens the city was their national identity. For an Israelite the overriding reason for the memories and importance all came from one primary reason – this was the city where the God of the Universe called home.
I wonder if we realize where God calls home now. I know that I often forget. God tugs and pulls for my attention but I find my mind drifting around on trivial personal issues. The Bible is clear; we are a temple of God’s – the place where His Spirit is willing to dwell. This should get my attention but, if I am honest, it often does not.
I really like the attitude of the Psalmist. If I ever forget you, let me feel the pain forever! This is commitment and intensity, especially if one is serious about the prayer. I am sure I will and do hesitate more than just a minute before these words come out of my mouth! I am reminded that the Psalmist is expressing to God how intense is his desire to always remember. This is an amazing opportunity resting right in front of me. You too!