The practice of mindfulness has become increasingly popular in society today. However, there is real danger associated with becoming overly focused on self. As an antidote to self-occupation, I would like to consider what the Bible says we should be mindful of – profitable things that we should strive to remember and focus our minds upon.
The first reference we want to consider is in 1 Chronicles chapter 16 where we read in verse 15, ‘be ye mindful always of his covenant’. The setting is the bringing up of ‘the ark of the covenant of the Lord’, 15. 25. David had pitched a tent for it, and it was brought up and set ‘in the midst’, 16. 1.
Notice how giving God His rightful place, in the midst, affected: their attitude – ‘with joy’, 15. 25; their anthem – ‘the singers’, 15. 27; their actions – they offered ‘burnt sacrifices’, 16. 1; and their appreciation – David appointed ‘Levites to thank and praise the Lord’, v. 4, and then he wrote a ‘psalm to thank the Lord’, v. 7.
The theme of the psalm, comprised of sections of three of the Psalms (96, 105 and 106), is what God had done – notice the reference to His ‘deeds’, v. 8, His ‘wondrous works’, v. 9, His ‘marvellous works’, v. 12, and His ‘wonders’, v. 12.
There is much to encourage us as we too remember God’s dealings with us and our security in Him. The context is the covenant with Israel, but the principle can be applied in our experience as we have trusted the same God who will fulfil His promises toward us – ‘the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant’, Deut. 7. 9.
This psalm David wrote can be divided into four sections:
The One who is in complete control and is all-powerful is the One who has chosen us in Christ and given us precious promises. He is the One who will care for us and preserve us.
How do we know He will keep us secure and fulfil His promises to us? Because of the greatness of His character. Little wonder this psalm ends with bursts of praise – ‘O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good’, v. 34, and ‘blessed be the Lord God of Israel for ever and ever’, v. 36.
It is good to know that what God asks them to do is what He Himself will do. Psalm 111 verse 5 gives us the assurance that He ‘will ever be mindful of his covenant’.
The next reference occurs around 600 years later in Nehemiah chapter 9 where we are told of something that the nation had not been mindful of. In this chapter there is a reminder once more of God’s faithfulness in His dealings with the nation and the many signs they had of His care. Despite all that God had done they failed and had to confess to their failure in response. Many times, they had lost sight of God’s signs and wonders – in verse 17 their minds were so taken up with Egypt that they even desired to ‘return to their bondage’. What a sad indictment of the people of God when we learn that they ‘refused to obey, neither were mindful of thy wonders’, v. 17.
They failed God so often, and yet it is wonderful to read of His perseverance with His erring people as ‘many times’, v. 28, and over ‘many years’, v. 30, He delivered them and was patient with them. How thankful we are that God is indeed the God of recovery, who is faithful despite our unfaithfulness.
Once more we see the perfect example of God’s attitude toward us as we are reminded that ‘the Lord hath been mindful of us’, Ps. 115. 12. In return, let us be ever mindful of the wonder of God’s dealings with us and consider the ‘great things he hath done’, 1 Sam. 12. 24.
We now turn to Isaiah chapter 17 where we have the prophecy concerning Damascus, and the associated judgement of Israel. The reason for the judgement of God upon them is outlined in verse 10, where they are told that it was because they had ‘forgotten the God of thy salvation’ and were not ‘mindful of the rock of thy strength’.
Remembering that God is the God of our salvation and that He is our strength will help us to live with a balanced perspective – not thinking too highly of ourselves but equally not becoming too despondent at our lack of power to keep on going. Just as we were totally dependent on Him for our salvation, so we should be for our daily strength.
We should always remember that our salvation is only because He was first mindful of us – ‘what is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?’ Ps. 8. 4.
How do we fill our minds with thoughts of our security, God’s signs, salvation, and strength? The answer of course is by being occupied with the scriptures, as we are exhorted to in our final text.
In 2 Peter chapter 3, Peter appeals to the believers to ‘stir up your pure minds’, v. 1, in order that they might ‘be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets [Old Testament], and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour [New Testament]’, v. 2.
There is an additional purpose to this recollection of the truth of scripture as it enables us to resist the scoffers of the word of God, vv. 3, 4 and to rest in the strength of the word of God, vv. 5-7.
The perfect example is again found in deity, where we read in one of the Messianic Psalms, ‘thy law is within my heart’, Ps. 40. 8.
In a world where there are so many distractions, let us seek to saturate our minds with ‘the sincere milk of the word’, 1 Pet. 2. 2.