Remember Your Creator

rememberyourcreatorSix thousand years of human history. Six thousand years of empires rising to the height of power, of discoveries allowing us to harness the laws of the universe for our own purposes, and of civilizations producing wonders that leave us in awe of what mankind is capable of accomplishing. Six thousand years of that, and all it takes is 24 hours without food to rob us of our strength and reduce us to almost nothing.

The human race has accomplished some incredible things, but at the end of the day, what are we?

“All flesh is grass” (Isaiah 40:6), says God. “Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor” (Psalm 39:5), muses David. “All are from the dust,” writes a despondent Solomon, “and all return to dust” (Ecclesiastes 3:20).

Grass. Vapor. Dust. For everything our race has accomplished, our lifespans are blips on eternity’s radar—and the Bible makes that clear.

And yet, even then, it’s easy to forget. Nebuchadnezzar forgot when he praised himself for building Babylon “by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty” (Daniel 4:30). The rich man forgot when he told himself, “You have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry” (Luke 12:9). The entire nation of Israel forgot once they found themselves in “large and beautiful cities which you did not build, houses full of all good things, which you did not fill” (Deuteronomy 6:10-11). And if we’re honest, sometimes we forget, too.

Atonement cuts through the noise and reminds us. It doesn’t matter how much money we have; it doesn’t matter what we’ve accomplished; it doesn’t matter who we are—24 hours without food or water reminds us that we are dust. We came from it; we’re going back to it.

Grass. Vapor. Dust. Moments in time. That’s all.

* * *

Atonement also reminds us of a momentous step in God’s plan: the step that deals with the angel who thought he deserved to be God. Since the Garden of Eden, Satan has been actively deceiving the human race (Revelation 12:9), masquerading as “the god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4).

But the Bible tells us that Satan wasn’t always this way. He was created to be “the anointed cherub who covers,” “the seal of perfection” (Ezekiel 28:12, 14). When Satan was created, he was absolutely splendid—one of the crowning jewels of God’s creation.

And then he forgot. Satan forgot who he was—and what he was. God laments, “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor” (Ezekiel 28:17). Satan, the enemy of God’s people, the deceiver, the serpent of old, the accuser of our brethren, the devil himself was once a favored angel of God. But it wasn’t enough. He wanted more. He deserved more—at least, that’s what he believed in his increasingly twisted mind.

“I will ascend into heaven,” he told himself, “I will exalt my throne above the stars of God … I will be like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:13, 14). God responds, “Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit” (Isaiah 14:15).

Atonement is the day that sees Satan bound for a thousand years, powerless to influence mankind or interfere with God’s plan. It’s also a day with a clear message for God’s people—a message that Satan failed to act on:

Remember your Creator.

* * *

Pride. Pride is what ultimately brought Satan down, and it’s what can ultimately bring us down, too. God’s calling doesn’t make us immune to pride, either. Quite the opposite—that calling gives us a whole new list of things to be prideful about.

After all, out of the whole world, God picked us as His firstfruits. We know the plan of God, we have the spirit of God, and we know the right way to live. We’re special. The Bible even says so. We’re “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people” (1 Peter 2:9).

Satan wanted to be like God. We will be like God, “for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2). Behind us is the Feast of Trumpets, which reminds us that we will be transformed into eternal members of the God family. Ahead of us is the Feast of Tabernacles, which reminds us that we will reign with Christ for a thousand years. “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). We have every reason to feel a sense of pride at who we are and what we’ll become—that is, until we step back and look at the bigger picture.

God didn’t place Atonement between Trumpets and Tabernacles by accident.

Yes, we are His own special people, but we weren’t always. We were called out of darkness. We were once not a people. We had once not obtained mercy (1 Peter 2:9-10).

What changed? Was it us? Did we somehow earn the right to be God’s people? Did we become entitled to His light and mercy?

No. We were dead. We were worthless. “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). Why? Because we deserved it? “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Our calling, God’s Spirit, our future in the Kingdom of God—it’s a gift, every bit of it. An unearnable, undeservable gift extended to us because of God’s goodness and not our own. Paul calls it “this grace in which we stand” (Romans 5:2).

Remember your Creator.

* * *

Remembering our Creator requires something of us. It requires acknowledging that we were created. We exist because God said so. That’s the key; that’s what Satan forgot and we must remember. We are grass. Vapor. Dust. Dust with the potential to join the family of God, sure, but dust all the same: for “we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us” (2 Corinthians 4:7).

When our eyes were opened to the truth, that was of God and not of us. When we obtain forgiveness for our sins, that’s of God and not of us. When Christ returns and welcomes us into His family as His brothers and sisters, it will be of God and not of us. And when our adversary is at long last chained and bound and removed from the affairs of men, it will be of God and not of us.

The gift we have is not earned, “lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:9). We have work to do—work God expects of us—but the most important things cannot be earned. They’ve already been given. “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:7-8), for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).

Atonement pictures the day our battle with Satan finally comes to an end—but it’s also a day for us to bow our heads and bend our knees before the God who makes that end possible.

All flesh is grass,
And all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
Because the breath of the Lord blows upon it;
Surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
But the word of our God stands forever.

(Isaiah 40:6-8)

Remember your Creator.

Until next time,
Jeremy

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