Today: [Lamentations 5] Reminding God – Is He Forgetful? Do you ever feel as though God has forgotten you? In this chapter concluding the book of Lamentations, Jeremiah cries out to God that He might REMEMBER the people and show mercy. We might ask then, is God forgetful? In this chapter we learn how important it is according to the scriptures, and direct declarations from God Himself that we put Him in remembrance.
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[Lam 5:1-22 KJV] 1 Remember, O LORD, what is come upon us: consider, and behold our reproach. 2 Our inheritance is turned to strangers, our houses to aliens. 3 We are orphans and fatherless, our mothers [are] as widows. 4 We have drunken our water for money; our wood is sold unto us. 5 Our necks [are] under persecution: we labour, [and] have no rest. 6 We have given the hand [to] the Egyptians, [and to] the Assyrians, to be satisfied with bread. 7 Our fathers have sinned, [and are] not; and we have borne their iniquities. 8 Servants have ruled over us: [there is] none that doth deliver [us] out of their hand. 9 We gat our bread with [the peril of] our lives because of the sword of the wilderness. 10 Our skin was black like an oven because of the terrible famine. 11 They ravished the women in Zion, [and] the maids in the cities of Judah. 12 Princes are hanged up by their hand: the faces of elders were not honoured. 13 They took the young men to grind, and the children fell under the wood. 14 The elders have ceased from the gate, the young men from their musick. 15 The joy of our heart is ceased; our dance is turned into mourning. 16 The crown is fallen [from] our head: woe unto us, that we have sinned! 17 For this our heart is faint; for these [things] our eyes are dim. 18 Because of the mountain of Zion, which is desolate, the foxes walk upon it. 19 Thou, O LORD, remainest for ever; thy throne from generation to generation. 20 Wherefore dost thou forget us for ever, [and] forsake us so long time? 21 Turn thou us unto thee, O LORD, and we shall be turned; renew our days as of old. 22 But thou hast utterly rejected us; thou art very wroth against us.
Chapter 5 of Lamentations opens with a plea by Jeremiah to the Father to remember the suffering of the people and the fact that their inheritance has been turned to strangers. This begs the question does God ever forget? This is more than a rhetorical question. God Himself speaks of remembering in Gen. 9 to Noah and the survivors of the deluge:
[Gen 9:16 KJV] 16 And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that [is] upon the earth.
The Hebrew word for remember is “zakar” meaning to “mark” something, like a bookmark for instance. The root word implies that God would consider the people of the earth “noteworthy” on the basis of His promise and therefore refrain from destroying the earth again by flood. The word used in Gen. 9 by God Himself is the same word used by Jeremiah in Lamentations 5:1. Jeremiah’s prayer is one that we are taught in the book of Isaiah to pray in our own situations:
[Isa 43:26 KJV] 26 Put me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified.
God tells us to put Him in remembrance, to compel Him by our prayers to mark us and return His faithfulness to us and to consider us “noteworthy” in His dealings in the earth. Do you ever feel as though you have escaped God’s attention? While God is all knowing and certainly never forgets anything or anyone we are instructed by Isaiah as exemplified by Jeremiah to put Him in remembrance by our prayers. Think of the phrasing in Isa. 43:26. This indicates a manner in which you as a believer can profoundly affect God. You can put God by your prayers into a state of remembrance. One example of a person profoundly affecting God is the woman with the issue of blood:
[Mar 5:28-30 KJV] 28 For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. 29 And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in [her] body that she was healed of that plague. 30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?
This is very important for us because we have been taught that God cannot be compelled to do anything. If that is so then why does He give us His covenant? In Isaiah 43:26 God is inviting us in His own words to compel Him to act. It is a foregone conclusion then that if we DO compel Him to act that He will do so. This is in evidence in the 8 times in the gospels Jesus told someone that THEIR faith had made them whole. We know that Jesus is the healer but the point of the statement is that THEIR faith was the initiator of what happened next.
When Jeremiah prayed, there was an answer. 70 years after the fall of Jerusalem, the restoration of the walls and the temple began and came to completion according to Jeremiah’s petition to the Father. When you pray, put Him in remembrance? Of what? If you are going to put God in remembrance then you must then have a knowledge of His promises. According to Herbert Lockyer, author of “All the Promises of the Bible”, reports that a man named Everett Storms in his 27th reading of the entire bible accounted for 7,487 promises of God to humanity. The bible then becomes for us a contractual agreement that we are invited by God Himself to keep an ongoing reconciliation of our life to His promise and finding a discrepancy are invited to REMIND God – to ask Him to MARK us, or put us down for the fulfillment of whatever particular promise is showing as unfulfilled yet in our lives.
Jeremiah concludes the chapter imploring the Father to turn once again to the people. They are still stained generationally by centuries of pagan worshp but the answer that God sends is in the form of His son Jesus 600 years later to establish a basis upon which our sins once washed away by the cleansing blood may no longer stand as a disqualification to the promise of His word applied to our need and our lives.
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