Psalm 25:6-7 (KJV)“Remember, O LORD, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindnesses; for they have been ever of old. Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness’ sake, O LORD.”
Last week we talked about God’s promise of, “I will not forget!” Now, as we approach Memorial Day 2018, I want to talk about our cry to God to “Remember.”
I love King David’s heart. God did too! David is reflecting upon his life before his encounter with God through Samuel, the prophet and priest. Much had taken place since he had been anointed to be King of Israel. He had killed Goliath, was awarded Saul’s daughter as his wife, grown in popularity, and had succeeded in incurring the wrath of King Saul!
Despite all this, in today’s Scripture, David is reflecting upon his youthful days and the shortened number of days he assayed were potentially before him. David, the “man after God’s heart,” became troubled by the reality that everything was changing around him. Only God remained constant!
Even David had become inconsistent in his consecration with God. As he was maturing, he realized that he had changed; and, not all his changes had been for the good or betterment of his life and walk with God. He became increasingly aware of his sinfulness and the need of a Savior!
Perhaps David had returned to the pastures where he shepherded his father’s flocks. As he sat in one of his favorite resting sites, he might have reflected on his youth and remembered where he once walked closely with God, but he had faltered with the ruggedness of his recent past. In his time of reflection, perhaps he drew strength from his knowledge of God and the experiences of mercy he had enjoyed.
Regardless of what prompted David to cry out, we have today’s Scripture to ponder. David’s cry was an appeal for mercy, not for justice. Being a fallen man, David knew full well that he had an ability to “remember” people based upon what they had done to, for, or against him. He never forgot how they made him feel. He cried out for God to NOT “remember” him for what he had done; but, rather to “remember” him for what God was able to do.
Psalm 25:6-7 (NLT) “Remember, O LORD, your compassion and unfailing love, which you have shown from long ages past. Do not remember the rebellious sins of my youth. Remember me in the light of your unfailing love, for you are merciful, O LORD.”
I’ve often pondered the plea of the thief that was crucified with Jesus…
Luke 23:42 (NLT) “Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.’”
I’ve been challenged by the thought that this thief may well have been one of many “hearers” in the crowds that followed Jesus. He may also have been a devout student of some rabbi in his younger days. OR, he may also have been convicted by the sarcastic inscription placed above the head of Jesus at Calvary which read, “This is Jesus, King of the Jews.” For whatever prompted the thief to appeal to Jesus, we do know that he requested for Jesus to “Remember me.”
When God “Remembers,” something extraordinary always happens! Let us look at just a few examples in Scripture…
Samson devalued his gifting from God. He dismissed God’s command to maintain holiness and an environment in which the Holy Spirit would “touch” him. Because he compromised with the snares of the enemy, Samson was taken prisoner, made blind, and placed in a position of providing entertainment to the Philistines. BUT, in an act of God’s Grace, his hair grew back! Samson cried out for God to “Remember me,” and God did!
Judges 16:28-30 (KJV) “And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes. And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left. And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life” (Emphasis Added).
Hannah, the mother of one of the most influential, impactful prophets and priests in Israel, was childless. She was mocked by her husband’s second wife, and she was disdained by many of the women in Israel. She carried her sorrow as long as she could. So, she went to Shiloh with her husband to make the annual sacrifice to the Lord, but she stayed by the temple to cry out to God. Her praying was so intense that Eli the priest thought she was drunk because of her seemingly speaking in a drunken manner. She cried out for God to “Remember me!”
1 Samuel 1:11 (KJV) “And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head” (Emphasis Added).
God heard her cry…
1 Samuel 1:19-20 (KJV) “And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before the LORD, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the LORD remembered her. Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the LORD” (Emphasis Added).
Many are familiar with the story and trials of Job. God referred to Job as a “perfect” man…
Job 1:1 (KJV)“There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil” (Emphasis Added).
After God allowed Satan to test Job, strip him of all his earthly treasures, including his children, Job maintained his faith in God AND His Goodness. Yet, he cried out for God to place him in a hiding place and let the evil of the world pass by; for, he knew God would NOT forget him.
Job 14:13 (KJV) “O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me!” (Emphasis Added).
Some might suggest that Job didn’t really believe God would “Remember me,” but that is debunked with Job’s statement immediately following his request.
Job 14:14-15 (KJV) “If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands” (Emphasis Added).
Job did not have to wait until he died and was resurrected before God “Remembered!”
Job 42:10 (KJV) “And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before” (Emphasis Added).
God “Remembered” Job in the New Testament as well!
James 5:11 (KJV) “Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy” (Emphasis Mine).
Today, we join with David and the dying thief, as we cry out, “Lord, Remember ME!” Our cry is a desire for God to “Remember” how and what He created us to be. We cry out for Him to NOT “Remember” our sins or identify us by our sins. Because of His loving kindness, He does NOT! He “Remembers ME!”
Jeremiah 31:34 (KJV) “And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more” (Emphasis Added).