If God Isn’t Forgetful…

God is Spirit. He isn’t limited by space and time and the rules of the physical universe like we are, so for our finite minds to comprehend his infinite nature, God uses metaphors and pictures to help explain himself.

For example, God is not a biological male, yet he refers to himself exclusively with masculine words and ideas like “Father.” He doesn’t use that language to tell us that he has XY-chromosomes or particular anatomy, but to reveal something about his nature and action. Sometimes when we read scripture we forget that God is not just like us.

Many times the Bible says that God remembered something. God remembered Noah in the ark (Genesis 8:1), barren Rachel in her distress (Genesis 30:22), and the groaning of enslaved Israel (Exodus 2:24), among others.

An all-perfect, all-powerful, and all-knowing God clearly doesn’t have a memory problem. He isn’t forgetful. So when God says, “I remembered my servant” it does not mean, “I nearly forgot him, but fortunately, I had a post-it note handy.” So what does it mean?

Remembering for God is not the opposite of forgetting. Research the times when God remembers and you’ll see a trend emerge. When God remembers someone, he is thinking of them in a special way. They may feel like they have been forgotten, but God is about to demonstrate his love for them in his acts of deliverance for them. When God remembers a person, he favors a person.

As we reflect and remember this Memorial Day weekend, let’s remember how God remembers us. Perhaps we can begin to remember him—and others—in a similar way.

2 thoughts on “If God Isn’t Forgetful…

  1. Maybe this is quibbling, but the Bible does not refer to God exclusively as a male. In Deut. 32, God is a mother eagle taking care of her hatchlings. In both Luke and Matthew, God is a mother hen, and in other places, God is a mother who takes care of her children. Probably what you meant is that God is referred to exclusively with masculine pronouns, which is true, but I actually think the fact that God is a mother hen but also like a warrior who goes into battle strengthens your point that descriptions of God in the Bible are only incomplete pictures of what God is really like, so we must be careful of taking these descriptions too literally; usually they’re communicating something more about one aspect of God’s character, and if we read the text carelessly, we’ll miss the true point of the passage. So if we get hung up on theological debates about whether God “remembers,” we’ll miss the true point of the text in the same way that if we get hung up on if God is a “male,” we’ll probably also miss the point of the text.

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