Last time, we began exploring occurrences of the word ‘remember’ in the Bible: God remembering us, us remembering God and God’s promises, us remembering the past and remembering each other in our prayers.
And then we came across a few occurrences in the Psalms, where people urge God to remember:
- Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. – Psalm 25:6
- Remember the nation you purchased long ago, the people of your inheritance, whom you redeemed— Mount Zion, where you dwelt. – Psalm 74:2
- Remember me, Lord, when you show favor to your people, come to my aid when you save them – Psalm 106:4
- Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope. – Psalm 119:4
Don’t forget that You are a loving God. Don’t forget about Your people. Don’t forget that You love me. Don’t forget about Your promises to me.
As I said last time, I find the audacity and presumptuous of these uses of The R-Word when talking to the Almighty, to be a little startling. Issuing reminders to your superiors here on earth can be dicey (just ask my kids). You’d think that reminding Someone who’s infinitely superior to us of anything would be infinitely dicey.
And this was in Old Testament times, when God’s temper seemed to be infinitely sensitive!
The Great Flood. Sodom and Gomorrah. The completely freaky episode in Leviticus 10:1-2 where God wipes out two of Aaron’s sons for an act of unauthorized worship. Some of these Psalms were probably written during or after the Babylonian Exile. Much of humanity’s experience with El Shaddai when the Psalms were being written was downright scary.
And yet, these Psalmists appear to have no fear of using The R-Word with their God.
Hey, David. Hey, Asaph. Go sit on the other side of the tabernacle when you write stuff like that, so the lightning bolt from heaven doesn’t smite the rest of us on this side.
But surprisingly, our scary, vengeful, jealous God is apparently fine with receiving reminders from His fickle, forgetful children.
Not only did the Psalmists not get struck by lightning or shaken to oblivion by an earthquake, their audacious, presumptuous prayers made it into the hymn book of the ancient Hebrews – and then became further immortalized in the Christian Bible. If there’s any truth to the notion that all Scripture is God-breathed (and there is), God must want us to remind Him of His promises.
Not that God needs our reminders, of course. God knows everything, all at the same time. God knows far better than we do what He has (and has not) promised, and God knows far better than we do when and how those promise should and will be fulfilled.
I think God invites us to use The R-Word in our prayers because when we think we’re reminding God, we’re really reminding ourselves of what is true about God and about ourselves. We’re reminding ourselves that God is faithful. We’re renewing our faith and trust in God’s good purposes and God’s good will. We’re reminding ourselves that we belong to God. That if we’re in Christ, Christ is in us. That, as I say in my Twitter bio, we are beloved children of God, and temples of the Holy Spirit.
So in the words of my favorite Christian recording artist …
Remember your people, remember your children. Remember your promise, o God … (and help us to remember that) Your grace is enough.
Peace be with you.