“It is he who remembered us in our low estate, for his steadfast love endures forever.” Psalm 136:23
Archive. It’s that function in my email that allows me to remove something – a message, an event, a reminder – from my Inbox yet keep it in my account, just in case I need to retrieve it later. Archiving protects the information from being deleted. Prior to digital storage, libraries were (and still are) the physical archives of historic materials and documents or practically anything that is deemed valuable enough to be preserved and not forgotten.
As a child, I imagined God to have a mind bigger than a library. How does he know everything, and how does he not forget? And those are two different skills, at least in the human brain where knowledge might be stored but retrieval of it may be a problem. Not so with God whose covenant of love lasts forever. He always remembers his people. He will never forget his children. Genesis 8 says he remembered Noah in the ark, and the waters subsided. He remembered Jacob’s wife Rachel who could not conceive, and her womb was opened (Genesis 30). The bible is full of stories about God remembering, loving, rescuing, not because people were worthy, but because he is God.
“But I will for their sake remember the covenant with their forefathers, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God: I am the LORD.” Leviticus 26:45
Unlike God, people forget. One of the most frustrating parts in the story of Joseph was when Pharaoh’s chief cupbearer, whose dream he graciously interpreted while they were in prison, forgot his promise that he will mention Joseph to Pharaoh once he was set free. Joseph’s request was simple. “Only remember me, when it is well with you, and please do me the kindness to mention me to Pharaoh, and so get me out of this house.” (Gen 40:14) “Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.” (Gen 40:23) How ungrateful! Yet, that is how I am, too. When it is well with me, I tend to forget that I owe everything to God, and that my entire existence was, is, and will always be absolutely dependent on him and his goodness.
On the contrary, my Father, who is a Perfect God, who does not need me at all, says he will never forget me. Isn’t HE amazing? “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:29-31
His word says in Isaiah 49 that though a mom should forget the child that she nursed, God will never forget his people. He has engraved them (us) on the palms of his hands – the hands that created the universe; the hands that were nailed to the cross. The blood of Jesus sealed the new covenant. By his grace it will never be erased. By faith, I am his child, and I will never be forgotten. So when I come before him in prayer, I know that his Inbox is never too full to hear me, nor does he need to retrieve my file from an archived folder or a dusty shelf.
“The LORD has remembered us; he will bless us; he will bless the house of Israel; he will bless the house of Aaron; he will bless those who fear the Lord, both the small and the great.” Psalm 115:12-13