There are times when the circumstances of life make us question the presence and the mindfulness of God in our life. "Lord, have you forgotten me?" This temptation is, as all temptations are, common to man. Here in chapter 49 Israel is questioning God's remembrance of them. "But Zion said, 'The LORD has forsaken me, and the Lord has forgotten me." David had these moments as well:
- He says to himself, "God has forgotten; He has hidden His face." (Ps 10:11)
- I will say to God my Rock, "Why have You forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?" (Ps 42:9)
- Has God forgotten to be gracious? Or has He in anger withdrawn His compassion? (Ps 77:9)
- My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? (Ps 22:1)
We are prone to feel forsaken. We are apt to feel forgotten. Feelings do not equal reality and our circumstances can NOT be the determining factor as to whether or not God sees, knows, and cares about us. As has already been seen in Isaiah - often the trials of this life show us just how much God does see, know and care. The refining fire is a good thing as is the loving Father's rod and reproof. He sees, knows, and cares enough to make me better and more beautiful. He loves me enough to not leave me in the things that will destroy me. If I am feeling forsaken this day due to my circumstances, perhaps I should stop and ask what dross these God-ordained trials are graciously seeking to burn off. Let me "take my thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ" and labor as a thankful aid to the flames rather than as an angry adversary of them.
We often feel forgotten and forsaken - but, O Christian, we NEVER are. Dozens of verses come to my mind even as I type those words. Today I will mediate on Isaiah's confirmation of this neverchanging fact.
"Can a woman forget her nursing child, and have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me."
I am a Christian, my salvation has been birthed by God. It is He who conceived me. It is He who plucked me out of the miry pit. It is He who saw my desperate need and loved me enough to send His Son to propitiate for my sins. It is He that began the good work in me and it is He who will carry it on to the day of completion. I am the apple of His eye. I am His chosen child. I am His eternal heir. I am His and He is mine! The Faithful and Omnisicent God has not forsaken nor forgotten - it would be impossible for Him to do so. Take your thoughts captive O ransomed and redeemed sinner!
Matthew Henry says: "Zion's suggestions were altogether groundless. God had not forsaken her, nor forgotten her, nor ever will. "You think that I have forgotten you. Can a woman forget her sucking child?" A mother cannot but be concerned for her own child; for it is a piece of herself, and very lately one with her. Yes, it is possible at times in this sinful world that she may forget. But, says God, "I will not forget you!"
"He has constant care of His church and people. He has engraven them upon the palms of His hands. This alludes to the custom of those who tie a string upon their hands or fingers to put them in mind of important things - things they never wish to forget. It also points to the wearing of a signet or locket ring in remembrance of some dear friend. God's setting them thus as a seal upon His arm denotes His setting them as a seal upon His heart, and His being ever mindful of them and of their interests."
I am EVER on His heart and mind. My days are ordained. My paths are carved. And all of them will fall out in the perfect faithfulness of my good and gracious, loving and merciful, sovereign and holy, never forgetting and never forsaking God.
Lord, You will not forget. Make me to remember!