By Shawn Tomlin
There’s this little phrase throughout the bible that says, “God remembered.” What does that even mean? Does God ever forget? No, He doesn’t. When we use the word “remember,” it usually that means we forgot something first. When God “remembers” in scripture it’s something much more. The term “remember” in the Old Testament was a Hebrew expression concerning action based on a previous commitment. With that in mind, let’s look at some passages of scripture that highlight God remembering.
Let’s look at Genesis 8:1 which says, “But God remembered Noah…” Based on the previous definition, what past commitment was God acting on? Genesis 6:18 holds the answer. It reads, “But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall enter the ark- you and your sons and your wife, and your son’s wives with you.” God committed to establishing a covenant with Noah, so being faithful to His promises, God remembered Noah and his family and made a covenant with them. To this very day when we see a rainbow in the clouds we know God remembers that promise made so long ago to Noah, and He upholds it, even until now.
Another time God remembered His people is when He sent His Son, Jesus Christ to be born in human flesh
Some other instances of God remembering would be Genesis 19:29 when God remembered Abraham and saved Lot and his family from the destruction of Sodom. Lot was a member of Abraham’s family so the promise of the Abrahamic Covenant extended to him. In Genesis 30:22 God remembered Rachel and opened her womb. She bore Joseph, who would go on to play an important role in redemptive history. In 1 Samuel 1:19 the LORD remembered Hannah and she bore a son, Samuel, who would go on to anoint David as king. When God remembers it’s not simple mental recall, there is action.
Another time God remembered His people is when He sent His Son, Jesus Christ to be born in human flesh. This action was based on previous promises, the first of which is found all the way back in Genesis 3:15. That promise is echoed throughout the Old Testament, for example Jeremiah 31:31-34, which is known as the New Covenant. Jesus Christ and His fulfilling of the Law perfectly, His atoning death on the cross, and His resurrection, was, in two senses not for Him, but for us, and ultimately it was for the Father, so that He may be glorified through His chosen people. The Father “remembered” His chosen people and, based on his previous commitments, action was taken. Christ’s perfect life, death, and resurrection gave us, in Christ, the only way to be free from the condemnation of the Law, have our sins atoned for, and be justified before the Most Holy God. Now when that day comes and we stand before the Father, dripping in the blood of His Son, He will remember, as He does now.
“The LORD bless you, and keep you;
The LORD make His face shine on you,
And be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance on you,
And give you peace.”