Remember: zakar (Strong’s 2142)
Root: זָכַר (zayin, kaf, resh)
The end of the year is a time of remembrance. We look back on what happened and we look forward to what will come. The notion of future and past is very different between Jewish and Gentile thinking. We see the future ahead of us, waiting to be explored, and the past behind us, already done. To Jewish philosophers the past is in front of us, visibly there to learn and grow from. The future is behind us, unseen.
We need to learn from the history that is in front of us. Remembering, and not forgetting, is of utmost importance. The Jewish people remember their slavery in Egypt, they remember their fight against Greek oppression (Chanukkah), they remember the Holocaust. The phrase, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”, is a solid Jewish concept. Remember what you have seen and pass it on.
“Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons.”
We are to remember and pass those memories on to the next generation.
Remember the days of old, consider the years of all generations.
We are to remember the Covenant, from the days of old, that God has with us… a Covenant of hope and redemption; a Covenant fulfilled by the Messiah.
God, remember your Covenant
Over and over (Genesis 9:15, Exodus 2:24, Exodus 6:5, Leviticus 26:42, Ezekiel 16:60 to name a few) God says He will remember His Covenant:
And I will remember the Covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God. I AM YHWH.
It is important that we remember God and His Covenant, but we can also ask God to remember us.
God, remember me.
Over and over, in Biblical Scripture, we hear the familiar prayer “remember me”.
Job is certainly one of the most tested people in the Old Testament. In his agony he cries this out to God:
Oh that You would hide me in Sheol,
That You would conceal me until Your wrath returns to You,
That You would set a limit for me and remember me!
YHWH’s action: Job is rewarded, with twice as much as he had before, after all his suffering.
Samson asks God to remember him as he faces the Philistines:
Now the temple was crowded with men and women; all the rulers of the Philistines were there, and on the roof were about three thousand men and women watching Samson perform. Then Samson prayed to the Lord, “Sovereign Lord, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.”
YHWH’s action: He hears Samson’s plea, the walls come down and Samson is avenged.
Hannah asks God to remember her so she can have a child:
1 Samuel 1:11
“O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a son, then I will give him to YHWH all the days of his life, and a razor shall never come on his head.”
YHWH’s action: Hannah is blessed with a son, Samuel.
AUTHOR OF PSALM 106:
The unidentified writer of this Psalm (quite possibly King David) asks God to remember him and to bring Salvation to him:
Oh give thanks to YHWH, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Who can speak of the mighty deeds of YHWH,
Or can show forth all His praise?
How blessed are those who keep justice,
Who practice righteousness at all times!
Remember me, YHWH, in Your favour toward Your people;
Visit me with Your Salvation
YHWH’s action: If David is the writer of this particular Psalm, he is certainly remembered by God as the most successful earthly King of the Jewish people, and the ancestor of Yeshua, the Messiah of Salvation.
Jeremiah, surrounded by the enemy, asks God to remember him in his turmoil:
YHWH, you know! Remember me and visit me and revenge me of my enemies; do not take me away in the prolongation of Your anger, know that for Your sake I have suffered rebuke. Your words were found, and I ate them; and Your word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart: for Your name was called upon me, YHWH God of the hosts.
YHWH’s reply (Jeremiah 15:20):
And I will give you unto this people as a fenced brazen wall, and they shall fight against you but they shall not prevail against you: for I am with you to keep you and to defend you, said YHWH. And I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked, and I will ransom you out of the hand of the strong.
In your own conversations with God perhaps you could follow the examples of these women and men of prayer and say, “Remember me” (zā·ḵə·rê·nî). Because with these words God takes action! Just like He did for Jeremiah, YHWH will keep you, defend you, and deliver you.
Yeshua, as the Son of God, follows in His Father’s footsteps. While He is hanging on the cross the words “remember me” are directed towards him. Here is how Yeshua replies:
One of the criminals who hung there heaped abuse on Him [Jesus]. “Are You not the Christ?” he said. “Save Yourself and us!”
But the other one rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same judgment? We are punished justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our actions. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!”
And Jesus said to him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
The criminal acknowledges Yeshua as the Messiah (Your Kingdom) and asks to be remembered. Jesus doesn’t just remember him, he takes action; Jesus takes the criminal with Him to Paradise.
When you ask to be remembered, you will be! It inspires God to move on your behalf! God does not forget. He knows you, and He loves you, and He remembers you.
Do not forget. Remember and pass on… Pass on what you have learned, what you have seen, and what God has done for you. You are the witness to God’s Covenant and the proof of His love. Do not hide it in your heart, remember… and pass it on.
Next week: Hope