Forgetting Faces

Deuteronomy 8:11-18
Remember the Lord your God. He is the One
who gives you power to be successful, in order
to fulfill the covenant He confirmed to your
ancestors with an oath

In 2004, a woman named Claire contracted viral
encephalitis. After treatment for her illness at a local
hospital, she returned home. But her memory had
been dramatically affected. Claire developed a condition
known as prosopagnosia—the inability to recognize
faces. After several years of effort, she can finally pick out
her husband’s countenance in a crowd, but she still can’t
point out her children if they’re with a group of friends.
Claire’s condition reminds me of something Moses
warned the Israelites about—forgetting the face of God.

Just prior to God’s people concluding their 40 years
of wandering in the wilderness, at the doorstep to the
Promised Land, the prophet gave them a loving warning:
“Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the Lord
your God and disobey His commands” (Deuteronomy
8:11). Moses knew that in Canaan the people would
trade tents for “fine homes” and manna for bountiful
buffets of food that would leave them “full” (v.12).
When prosperous days come calling (v.12), you and
I are often tempted to forget what God has done for us
(v.15). We become proud and convinced that our goods
and great success came about by our “own strength and
energy” (vv.14,17). It’s a subtle change that happens
as we leave humility (caused by humble circumstances)
and embrace arrogance and self-reliance (prompted by

If things are going well for you today, drop to your knees and humbly thank
God. “He is the One who gives you power to be successful” (v.18). Don’t forget
His face.

If you’re being humbled by life’s challenges, thank God for this “wilderness”
that can cause you to seek and depend on Him. Although we sometimes forget
His face, He never forgets ours. —Tom Felten

• Psalm 106:19-22
• Isaiah 17:9-11
• Hosea 13:6

In what ways have you
forgotten God? What will
you do today to celebrate
who God is and what He
has done for you?