Hope For Action - As Seen On Sunday
Remember us as we worship idols,
Our worthless wealth!
Remember our hypocrisy,
The way we taint your name!
Remember your Promise,
The way you forgave.
Although I see all of Lamentations as one giant prayer to God voicing how they are feeling, Rah specifically sees chapter 5 as a prayer. This prayer asks God to remember what they are going through. Yet again, the lament discusses the hardships within Jerusalem. Families have been destroyed, it is hard for them to get even the basic human needs (food and water). Interesting enough it does not blame God, there isn’t a “remember what you did to us” even though Lamentations has previously established that it is God who caused this, due to their wickedness. Reading over what is listed for God to remember, we find that they are all things that loosely fit under promises God made with this people.
The expansion of Abraham’s children into a nation is opposed by many of them being killed. The promise of a land following with milk and honey in Exodus is now met with not having water, wood, or bread. Those who blessed the nation would be blessed and those who cursed the nation would be cursed but their inheritance had been taken by strangers and their homes had been taken over by foreigners. Inheritance, in general, is land, offspring, and prosperity. They were all things that were a part of God being their portion.
It would almost seem as if all of the promises had been taken back. Of course in every covenant between God and his people, there were stipulations, but now all they wanted was for God to see their disgrace.
They are asking God to remember what is currently going on. Rah quotes O’Connor saying that “it is imperative that God brings their suffering into consciousness” and “is more than intellectual recall of past events.”
I was a little confused about what she meant. First of all, God does not forget the situation and have to be reminded of what is going on. It’s not that God looks down and goes “crap, I really should help you guys now.”
So I decided to look up other times people asked God to remember something and times where God says He remembered something.
There are 19 verses that I found petitioning God to remember something. Most of them were in Psalms that could be categorized as laments (obviously not to the degree of lamentations) and share a similar pattern of “remember,” “O Lord,” and a hardship, as found in chapter 5. I used the word petition since in each instance the author is calling for God to do something as beyond just remembering. It is almost like saying, “Consider this___, and that is why I want your help.”
Then, I found 17 verses when I did a quick search for “God (Lord) remembered” or says, “I will remember.” Where ‘I’ is God. These verses are in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, 1 Samuel, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, Hebrews, and Revelation.
Genesis 8:1 - "But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided.”
Genesis 19:29 - “So it was that, when God destroyed the cities of the valley, God remembered Abraham and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow when he overthrew the cities in which Lot had lived.”
Genesis 30:22 - “Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb.”
Revelation 16:19 - “The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell, and God remembered Babylon the great, to make her drain the cup of the wine of the fury of his wrath.”
Many would say that “God remembering” is an anthropomorphism since humanly we forget before we can remember, but I would like to point out that every time God "remembered" something He took action.
So we take the times where we ask God to remember and times where God remembered and we find that in both instances, God takes action.
I think that it is safe to say that to ask God to remember what they were going through in light of the first 4 chapters of lamentations and the things that are listed after the petition are in hopes that God will act.
The act of asking God to remember and therefore act implies hope for the situation. Why?
Because there wouldn't be a reason to ask God if there wasn’t hope. Lamentations has also established that God is faithful. The faithfulness goes both ways where God will do what he says, regardless if it’s the thing we like. So there is hope that God, in His faithfulness, will, in fact, restore them along with His promise. If this was not the case there would be no reason to ask God to bring the suffering to consciousness, since He would not change anything.
So if they have hope for their future in God because of His faithfulness to His promises, how does that matter for us today in our blessed American Christian culture?
Jesus promised his disciples several things before His ascension. He promised persecution, the Holy Spirit, a place in heaven, and to return.
Several times Jesus tells us to expect persecution for His name. 2 timothy 3:12 says Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,”
Jesus told us that He would ask the Father to send the Holy Spirit to be our advocate. We read about the day of Pentecost where tongues of fire came on them and they started speaking in tongues.
The last two, we have yet to see. Jesus said He was going to prepare a place for us and that He would return one day.
So my question is, “Are we seeing these promises today?”
Pray that God remembers these 4 things so that he takes action and we see these 4 things.