Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Remembering God

Have you ever been afflicted with that thing, you know, that makes you forget things? What's it called? Oh yes, amnesia. It's not pleasant when you're telling a story and you forget someone's name, or what happened next. Or you were meant to go to the doctor's or ring someone and you completely forgot.

When you think of God, you wouldn't imagine He could suffer from amnesia. God is, after all, omniscient - all-knowing, so how could He forget? Yet a few times in Genesis, and again in Exodus, we read that 'God remembered'. Does that mean that God had forgotten and then it suddenly struck Him to recall someone?

After Joseph has brought his family to Egypt, and he and his generation have died out, a new king Pharaoh comes to the throne in Egypt, who doesn't know about Joseph. The Israelites are seen as fair game to be exploited and enslaved. Moses, who had been brought up by his mother then passed over to Pharaoh's daughter, has tried to save the Israelites by beating up and killing an Egyptian. But it has all backfired, and he's off in the desert of Midian.

During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel - and God knew. (Exodus 2:23-25)

God remembered! God always knew, but here is the decisive time to act - in God's timing He is seen to 'remember'. God's remembering is connected to His acting and saving. Just think of Noah, riding high on the waves in his ark. 'But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided.' (Genesis 8:1).

Or think of Lot, sojourning in sinful Sodom, as divine destruction threatens. 'So it was that, when God destroyed the cities of the valley, God remembered Abraham and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow when he overthrew the cities in which Lot had lived.' (Genesis 19:29)

God's remembrance is intimately linked with his saving acts. Little wonder, then, that he calls us to also remember his saving act on the cross with bread and wine.

No comments:

Post a Comment