It’s not what you think, it’s what you do
zâkar to remember, recall, call to mind
“I will remember My covenant that is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all flesh.” Gen 9:15 TLV
In the first part, we learned how remembering is taking action. When God said “I will remember My covenant. . .Never again will the waters become a flood. . .” the action is never again a flood.
We also learned what we are to do when we remember.
“Remember the prisoners as if you were fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you also were suffering bodily.” Heb 13:3.
What you would want is to lead you to take action for them in the same way, an example of “love your neighbor as yourself.” Lev 19:18
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” Exo 20:8 which is followed by three verses of things we are to do – refrain from working, and keep everyone else who you can influence from working as well.
We summed up this active response to remembering with Mary and her learning of the birth of Messiah through her: “He has helped His servant Israel, remembering His mercy,” (Luke 1:54) What did His remembering bring? Mercy in the form of our Savior.
Now what do we do with “forgive and forget?” Have you ever tried to forget someone’s sin against you, and then it rears it’s ugly head again, and again, and again? And you try so hard to forget and end up forgiving over and again until it leads you to feeling powerless?
Let’s look at God’s forgetfulness and see what we might glean for ourselves from it.
“I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” Isaiah 43:25
Does this mean that God has perfect forgetfulness? Does he scratch his head, squint his eyes, lean back, look into the distance and go “I know there’s something there, but I just cannot recall what that is.”
This is the same God who says of himself:
“Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’” Isa 46:8-10
He calls us to act on behalf of “this” – and stand firm and then recall to our mind the former things of old, which are the “this”. If he can declare the end from the beginning, forgetfulness must not be a part of his character. What then of not remembering our sins?
If we apply what we learned in Part 1, we replaced the word “remember” with “acted on behalf of.”
“I, am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not ‘act on behalf of’ your sins.” Not acting on behalf of our sins is much different from not being able to recall them.
That is what we call mercy (a subject for another blog that we don’t have time to go into right now), the receiving of what is not deserved rather than what is deserved.
So our Creator is not forgetful, rather he chooses not to “act on behalf of” what we have done and gives us something completely different. However, the difference is up to us.
In Jeremiah 14 (when you get the chance read verses one through twelve) the word of Yehovah comes to the prophet during a disastrous drought. Jeremiah calls on the LORD to act for his own name’s sake even though their iniquities testified against them (v. 7).
Then he says this in response to the prophet:
“Thus says the LORD concerning this people: “They have loved to wander thus; they have not restrained their feet; therefore the LORD does not accept them; now he will remember their iniquity and punish their sins.” v. 10
Their actions gave away what was really in their heart and brought about his response, “now I will act on behalf of their sins.”
So the next time a remembering of being sinned against comes to your thoughts, choose “not to act on behalf of” what that other person did to you, but do something completely and outrageously different. Treat them with mercy and act as if the sin had not occurred. Forgiveness is of course different than trust, so do not trust like nothing ever happened. That may just give them another chance to hurt you some more. Their repentance is separate from your forgiveness. Rather forgive – choose not to act on behalf of their sin like nothing happened. As our Master said:
“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Mat 5:44-45
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