Tuesday 30 September 2014

"YOU SHALL REMEMBER YOUR WAYS" Bible Reading Thoughts for Sept. 24th


            One of the most widely used Hebrew words in the Old Testament is the word Zakar.  It is usually translated ‘remember’ but it does not necessarily mean ‘suddenly bringing to mind something you  have forgotten’.  It means focusing your mind on something in particular, it first occurs in Genesis 8 v 1 “And God remembered Noah and all…that were with him in the ark”.  
            The work “remember” occurs in both our Ezekiel and Luke chapters today and conveys a significant message in them both.  The long term future of his nation is revealed to Ezekiel, it creates a wonderful ‘silver lining’ in contrast to the ugly picture of Israel in Ezekiel’s time.  God tells him that ultimately the time will come for his nation “When I will bring you out from all the peoples and gather you out of all the countries where you have been scattered”. 
            But this is to be more than a remarkable world-wide regathering!  “And I will manifest my holiness among you in the sight of the nations.  And you shall know that I am the LORD, when I bring you into the land of Israel…And there you shall remember your ways and all your deeds….And you shall loath yourselves for all the evils you have committed.  And you shall know that I am the LORD”.  (20 v41-44)  How soon before this happens?  It is in God’s hands.
            We have a book, written by David Ben Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Israel;  it includes reference to a stirring of interest and some knowledge of God’s prophets, such as Isaiah. They are starting to remember and search out the foundations on which their nation was originally built.
 But what of ourselves?   How well do we know the foundations of our faith – how real are they to us?  Is it just ‘head knowledge’?   Jesus, when asked, “When the Kingdom of God would come?” (v 20) draws the lesson of the days of Noah and how people were “eating and drinking” and life seemed totally normal “until the flood came” (v 27). The people had forgotten God and put him out of their minds just as they have today.   But God remembered, but only Noah and his family remembered God!
Jesus also reminds his audience of the destruction of Sodom, and how “they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building….” v.28, but then God acted. We know the account well, it is brief and to the point. A vital question - if our minds are absorbed and distracted by the interesting and exciting things in our world today, will we be ready when God acts?  Reflect deeply on v. 21, it has just three words;  “Remember Lot’s wife”.

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