Sunday, April 24, 2011

Remember - Learning to live what you already know - Chapter 2

So, the book continues. Hope you are encouraged on this Resurrection Sunday.

Chapter 2
“Do as I say. Don’t do what I do.” It is what I wish I could say to my kids. Don’t yell at your sister (after I just yelled at her). What were you thinking saying that to your sister (after I kick myself about what I said to my friend). I probably would not require a thing of my children if I was not called by God to parent them and was not responsible for raising them. It is just too convicting trying to expect from my kids what I can not seem to do. It somehow does not seem fair that I do not get the same discipline that they do when I am doing the same thing they are doing, but the same is not true of God.
It seems that everything we are commanded to do in the Bible, is commanded because God did it first. Love as I have loved you. Accept one another as Christ accepted you. Forgive as He forgave you. Lay down your life because He laid down His life. Bless and He has blessed you. God does not ask us to do anything he has not already done Himself. He gives us the power to do everything He asks of us. Everything we think, everything we are, everything we will accomplish is purely by the grace of God. John Piper makes this point in his sermon in Romans 1:14 where Paul says he is a debtor, a person under obligation, to the barbarians and Greeks. Piper makes the point that the debt that must be paid is grace. God gave him a grace underserved and that makes him a debtor of grace to everyone else. He owes grace unreserved because grace came to him undeserved. And so when we come to this command to remember, we can rest assured knowing that God has both initiated and will empower you to do what he has commanded you to do.
The first time we see the word remember in the Bible is in Genesis 8:1 where God remembered Noah and all the animals. As a result of this remembering, He sent a wind over the earth and the waters receded. After many long days and nights in the ark, Noah was delivered and set foot onto a very quiet, lonely world. Noah built an altar and sacrificed a burnt offering before the Lord. And a few verses later, God says to Noah in Genesis 9:15-16, “I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”
God initiates a covenantal relationship with all living creatures of every kind and he gives a sign of his faithfulness in the display of a rainbow. God promises to remember. And He demonstrates this promise throughout the Old Testament. He remembered Abraham in Genesis 19 and rescued Lot. He remembered Rachel in Genesis 30 and gave her a child. In the book of Exodus, after 400 years of slavery, God hears the groaning and remembers the Israelites and His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. What was this covenant? The one found in Genesis 12:1-3 – “1Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

What He remembered determined how He acted. He doesn’t forget and, thus, his remembering saves and cares for the benefactors in that promise. He remembered the Israelites and the Bible says, “So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.” God shows here that His remembering is motivated by a heart of love and care. He is concerned and then He acts.
But, something shifts in this next passage. God commands something very unusual in a very unusual way. Moses meets Jesus as the fire in the burning bush, and Jesus commanded him to go deliver his people from Egypt. Jesus says to Moses in Exodus 3:15 “ … ‘Say this to the people of Israel, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.’”
God declares that His name is “I am who I am or to be”; or in Hebrew, “Yahweh”; or as we know it in its translated form, “Lord.” This name, LORD, is to be remembered throughout all generations. Because He was, and is, and will always be, it is imperative that we remember Him, forever. His name and who He is, shall be remembered for all time. He was, is and will always be, so therefore, because he will always be, he is to be remembered for all time. That was the command. It seems a bit strange in our human thinking to be commanded to remember because of his forever name. It seems a bit egotistical, but as we will see in a little bit, God’s commands are best for us.
I did a little study on the Hebrew word “Yahewh,” and I think you will find it very interesting to also study the Hebrew word for “remember,” as well. The word is “zeker,” which is a verb meaning “to remember, to mention, to recall, to think about, to think on, to be remembered, to recall, to acknowledge, to mention, to make known.” The basic meaning indicates a process of mentioning or recalling either silently, verbally, or by means of a memorial sign or symbol, The Lord, by remembering Him. God is in essence saying, “Think about, recall, think on, meditate on my name.”
The foundation of everything we will talk about from here on out is centered on remembering this forever name of God. So, walk with me for a second down a few verses which use the same Hebrew word for remember. I think you will find it as significant as I did.
Psalm 102:12 – “12But you, O Lord, are enthroned forever; you are remembered (zeker) throughout all generations.”
Because He is enthroned forever, He is to be remembered forever. Each generation that lives will remember the greatness and love of God. He never changes, so He will never not need to be remembered.
Psalm 135:13 – “13Your name, O Lord, endures forever, your renown (same word - zeker) O Lord, throughout all ages.”
The Hebrew word “remember” is now explained in the English word “renown.” The word “renown” means fame or reputation. Again, because God’s name endures forever, His famousness will be remembered throughout all generations.
Hosea 12:5 – “5the Lord, the God of hosts, the Lord is his memorial name: (same word - zeker).”
In this verse, something big happens. The idea of remembering, which is what memorial signifies, AND the word name are combined into one, further clarifying that His name warrants a continual remembering.
And it all comes together in this last verse:
Ps 30:4 – “Sing to the LORD, you saints of his; praise his holy name.”
The English word “name” is actually the Hebrew word “remember.” To know His name is to remember His name. The very act of praising His name is the very idea of remembering his name.
This word “Zeker” cannot be contained in one word remember. In the 24 times this Hebrew word is used, it is translated as: commemoration (1 time); fame (2 times); I am to be remembered (1 time); memorial (1 time); memory (9 times); name (2 times); remembered (2 times); remembrance (3 times); renown (1 time); son (1 time); and to be remembered (1 time). The point is obvious: God’s name is to be pondered upon, considered and brought to light in every situation of our lives forever and ever. God’s name, God’s command, and God’s eternity is all wrapped up into the idea of remembering.
It is not that we need to learn more about God. All that God is, He will forever be. Who He is, is all we need to survey and to survive any problem. A remembering faith is the access we must enter through to obtain and understand the spiritual perspective that is enough for all of life. It is no wonder that Satan is continually launching fiery darts to attack our faith in His name, His character, and His glory. Satan’s greatest aim is to get our eyes off our all-sufficient God, who is enough for every situation in our life. Satan did it in the garden, and he does it in our garden. Our Lord, Yahweh, is as great, majestic, and awesome as our faith remembers Him to be. Not really, of course, He is great regardless of whether we remember Him, but in our lives, our actions, and our mind, He will only be as great as we continually remember Him to be. God makes it simple. Just remember me. You can hear him pleading, “Trust me. Remember my name and the rest is easy.”
Do you get it? The God who remembers commands us to remember Him. He does not yet give us a list of things to remember. He starts with himself and in essence, names Himself, remember. Remember Me forever. His name is our command.
Remember that I am good, all the time.
Remember that I am loving.
Remember that I am sovereign and thus I am in control at all times.
Remember that I am faithful.
Remember that I am kind, compassionate, merciful, gracious, gentle, and emotional.
Remember that I am the God of all comfort, the God who hears, the God who cares, and the God who is near.
Remember that I know you, knew you before you were born, and knew/know when you will die, before you were even born.
Remember that I know what you are going to say before you say it. And when you are going to get up and go down.
Remember that I made you. I know you. I love you.
Remember Me. Always. Because I AM, forever.

No comments: