2 God also said to Moses, “I am the Lord. 3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the Lord I did not make myself fully known to them. 4 I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, where they resided as foreigners. 5 Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered my covenant. (Genesis 2-6 NIV)
In the continuing story of Moses at the burning bush, God makes clears to Moses that the One speaking is the One who spoke to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The One calling Moses called the Patriarchs. What God does now is the fulfillment of the covenant God made with Abraham.
God has heard the cries and groans, sees the needs of the Israelites. And God hears and sees in light of the covenant made with the Patriarchs.
There seems also to be a subtle contrast and comparison between the Patriarchs and Israel now – the Patriarchs lived in Canaan as foreigners as the Israelites are foreigners in Egypt. But the land where Abraham, Isaac and Jacob lived as aliens will instead be their home, their land.
God also says “I have remembered…” A quick search of the NIV reveals this phrase only appears here. Does God forget? Does God need reminding?
I need reminding of God’s goodness, God’s grace, God’s mercy, God’s love. Both Judaism and Christianity repeat a cycle of celebrations that remind us of who God is and what God has done. Every Sunday my church sings “Praise God from whom all blessings flow…” as a testimony to the source of all good gifts.
I don’t thing God needs reminding but we do. From the human perspective (just like yesterday’s passage where God seems to lie or at least obscure the truth) it seems as if God forgets. Sometimes it takes a long time for God’s purposes to wind out and as purpose comes to fruition others are in process. God had promised Abraham the land and generations later the Hebrews will move from being foreigners wherever they dwell to those who live and are part of that land. A long time, God.
I need to have a more divine perspective – I can’t remember where I parked my car most days (just ask my family). God does not forget and does not delay. But it does take time for the complex human relationships to work their way to the point where God’s purposes are made real.
O God Who Does Not Forget – sometimes I think you have forgotten. What the Scriptures say is not on your mind. The prayers that I have prayed you have let slip from your mind. At times when it is dark – outside and also inside me – I think you have forgotten me. But as Israel came to a day of deliverance so your faithfulness to me is not a passing thing or thing to take lightly. Before I accuse you of forgetting, remind me anew of what I have forgotten… in the name of the One who came after generations of trial and of promise, Jesus. Amen.