Monday, July 10, 2006

Reminding God

I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem;
They shall never hold their peace day or night.
You who make mention of the LORD,
do not keep silent,
And give Him no rest till He establishes
And till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.
(Isaiah 62:6-7)
In addition to being all-powerful, all-wise and everywhere present, He is also all-knowing. But does He have a faulty memory the He needs to be reminded? Then why does He set watchmen on the wall and tell those who make mention of Him to give Him no rest?

The Hebrew word behind “make mention” is zakar and means to remember, to remind, to cause to remember. “You who make mention of the LORD” are literally the Lord’s remembrancers. Their job is to remind Him relentlessly until He has established what He has promised.

God has a wonderful memory, but there are some things He chooses to forget:
I, even I, am He who blots your transgressions
for My own sake;
And I will not remember [zakar] your sins.
(Isaiah 43:25)
God has a wonderful memory, but He is not one bit offended by His people reminding Him of those things He has spoken. Consider this prayer of Jacob, and how he reminded God of the promises He made to Abraham and Isaac:
Then Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, the LORD who said to me, ‘Return to your country and to your family, and I will deal well with you … For You said, ‘I will surely treat you well, and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.’” (Genesis 32:9, 12 )
In the Psalms, the book of praises, we find this:
LORD, remember [zakar] David
  And all his afflictions;
How he swore to the LORD,
  And vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob:
“Surely I will not go into the chamber of my house, or go up to the comfort of my bed;
  I will not give sleep to my eyes
  Or slumber to my eyelids,
Until I find a place for the LORD,
  A dwelling place for the Mighty one of Jacob.”
(Psalm 132:1-5)
The psalm writer shrewdly reminds the Lord of the vow David made to Him. I say “shrewdly,” because his real aim is to remind God of the promise He made right back to David concerning his line:
The LORD has sworn in truth to David;
  He will not turn from it;
“I will set upon your throne the fruit of your body.
  If your sons will keep My covenant
And My testimony which I shall teach them,
  Their sons also shall sit upon your throne forevermore.”
(Psalm 132:11-12)
In this roundabout way, the psalm writer brings to God’s remembrance the promise He made (this promise is fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of David who now rules and reigns forever).

We also find remembrances in the New Testament. Jesus said of the Table of the Lord, “Do this in remembrance of Me.” This, of course, is something we do for the sake of our own remembrance. But it can also be an occasion to remind the Lord of the promises He has made to us in the covenant of Jesus’ shed blood. It is the new and better covenant God foretold in the Old Testament. It is based, not only upon better promises, but also upon a better sacrifice (which is the lesson in the book of Hebrews). As we, in faith, take the bread and the cup of communion, we not only remind ourselves of God’s promises, we are putting Him in mind of them.

How long are we to remind God of His promises? He tells His watchmen to give Him no rest until He establishes what He has promised. This calls for faith, which includes patience and persistence. Do not give ever give up reminding God of His Word until you see all the things He has promised established in your life.

Now, if you will excuse me, it is time for me to go to the Table of the Lord.

(See also Warring With the Bread and the Cup)