Sunday's Reading: Genesis 8-11
One of the most shameful moments for me as a parent was the day I forgot to pick up my children from school. I was engrossed in some task, the time flew by and I forgot about them. They were so hurt, and I was devestated. They had depended and trusted me totally, and I had let them down.
In the reading for the first Lord's Day of this calendar year, we hear these wonderful words, "God remembered Noah..." Despite the grief and sorrow and torment of the flood, God didn't say, "Just forget it" when it came to Noah.
Noah, whose name means "rest," had two great attributes from God. In 6:8, we see that he "found grace with God" and in 6:9 we see that Noah "walked with God." He also had another thing going for him: God established God's covenant, God's pledge of allegiance with Noah.
Saturday, January 2, 2010, I was one of the witnesses at a wedding where two people made a covenant with God and with one another...a pledge of allegiance. At our baptism, God makes covenant with us: "I will be your God and you will be my child--I will remember you and you are to remember me."
Fortunately, God always keeps God's covenants, even when we fail to keep our end of the bargain. We become forgetful when life is moving along normally. We begin to "make bricks," "build cities" and erect our own "towers of Babel" hoping to reach the top of the sky/heaven on our own. We get wrapped up in our tasks of our day, time flies by and we simply forget about God. We forget to talk with God. We forget to love on God. We forget to adore God. We forget to serve God.
The question is this: When we realize we have forgotten God, are we overwhelmed with even a bit of shame and devastation? Are we aware of the pain we cause God? Are we cognizant that God is depending upon us?
Now, Noah was not about to forget God. He was trapped in an ark with a bunch of critters surrounded by the chaos and destruction of water. He was totally dependent upon God for his salvation and existence. No way would Noah forget God!
I'm always amazed at the times we "remember" God---when we've heard bad news, when we're scared, when we are at the end of our rope, when we finally realize that even when things are going well, we are totally dependent upon God for our salvation and existence.
One of the thieves on the cross had a time like this and despite his dire circumstance, he turned to God and said, "Jesus, remember me." Don't forget about me. Don't leave me alone or behind or in this mess or without hope. "Jesus, remember me."
As Noah stepped off the ark, knowing God remembered him, the first thing he did was an act of remembering God. He built an altar of worship to the LORD (8:20). And in these mutual acts of remembering--God remembering Noah and Noah remembering God--God was soothed and Noah found rest.
The word in 8:21 translated "soothing" or "sweet" which refers to the aroma is the Hebrew word nichowach whose root word is nuwach, the word from which "Noah" or "rest" originates. Remembering God and God's remembering of us leads us into a place of rest, quiet and soothing comfort from all that grieves or troubles us.
So when Jesus says, "Do this and REMEMBER ME," the mutual covenant invites us into mutual rest and soothing comfort. God remembers me. I remember God. And we are both at peace.
Jesus, remember me...