God in the Psalms No.41 – God who remembers
Psa 25:6 Remember, O LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old.
Tomorrow we’ll look at the next verse which is about God forgetting, but before we get there comes the verse about remembering. Memory is an amazing feature of being a human being who is made in the image of God (Gen 1:26). Most of us take it for granted. I certainly did until my father-in-law had a series of strokes which left him with no short term memory. When you walked in he would ask you how you were and what was happening to you and you’d tell him. Three minutes later he would be repeating the questions and three minutes after that you’d start the cycle again and again. Thinking about that I realized how much of our conversation is about the past. Our conversations are mostly based on what has already happened – you watch yourself over the next day. In fact if you take that in, you’ll see that if we had no memory, we would even forget who we are. That is the problem of the person who wakes up in a hospital after a serious accident and suffering amnesia, and who can’t remember who they are.
So here we are now in the above verse with David basically saying, “Lord remember who you are, remember what you’re like!” You want to see more of the significance of that? Stop and think about your life when things are going wrong. On a good day you might be thinking (in accordance with Scripture and your experience), “I am a child of God with all of the grace of God available to me. I am full of His Spirit and all of His characteristics, I am a child of the king!” Then suddenly you are attacked with a verbal attack that takes your breath away. Suddenly you forget who you are and you go on the defensive and attack back. You shouldn’t but sometimes you do, because the emotions that suddenly arrive overwhelm you and make you forget who you are. That’s why David is saying, “Lord remember who you are” because he knows the experience of forgetting in the face of adverse emotions.
Now of course the funny thing is the Lord never forgets who He is. He has no cause to feel defensive, but David needs to remind himself of these characteristics of the Lord. Some times when we pray things about the Lord, it’s not because the Lord needs telling them – He already knows – but it’s for our own benefit; we need reminding, we need encouraging by the truth.
So here is the truth that David is declaring: the Lord won’t forget who He is. The Lord won’t forget that He is full of mercy and love. Moses had to tell his people that the Lord would not forget His covenant (Deut 4:31). Sometimes David asked the Lord not to forget, because it seemed the Lord was not moving and had forgotten. Of course He hadn’t; He was just biding His time. Hence David asked the Lord not to forget the helpless – himself (Psa 10:12) or him generally (Psa 13:1). One of the other psalmists asked the Lord not to forget their oppression (Psa 44:24). The Lord declared through Isaiah, “O Israel, I will not forget you” (Isa 44:21). For the Lord to forget His children today is an impossibility. You forget someone who is away from you perhaps, but the Lord actually dwells within His children today by His Holy Spirit. How can He possibly forget us? He won’t but there may be times when, for His own purposes, He may appear to delay and we’ll find ourselves saying, “Lord don’t forget….” because that’s the fear we have, of being forgotten by our loving heavenly Father and being left alone in the corner of upset. It’s all right, you’re not alone, He hasn’t forgotten (Deut 31:6, Heb 13:5,6)