When God Remembers

When God Remembers

During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel—and God knew. Exodus 2:23-25

I forget a lot–forget my laundry in the washer until it starts to smell, buy jelly but forget to buy peanut butter, forget to write a thank you note or RSVP. So, when I suddenly remember something, it’s a jolt from my forgetting. But when God remembers it’s different.

“When the Bible says that God remembers someone or his covenant with someone, it indicates that he is about to take action for that person’s welfare,” says my ESV commentary. And in the second chapter of the second book of the Bible, we find God’s people groaning, a sound I’m intimately familiar with in this stage of our adoption. Their cry for rescue is heard and God remembers, not because He ever forget them, but because the sovereign moment has come for Him to take action.

This is our introduction to Passover and the blood of lambs across doors, to the exodus, to the parting of the Red Sea, and to the eventual Risen Lamb of God who would stretch out His arms for you and for me.

I find myself in a weary, groaning state as we count down the hours to Lent, but perhaps this is exactly where I need to be, acutely aware of my need for a Lamb, for rescue, for redemption.

In my search for meaning and remembering in this season, I came across Jennifer Naraki’s ebook Rich + Rooted Passover. I’m looking forward to sharing these activities with my family as we remember together how God remembered His covenant people.

What Good People Need

What Good People Need

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The wind is howling outside the window. The tiny white blossoms on the neighbor’s tree cling for dear life with every gust that threatens to separate them. They whisper the promise of hope. Of resurrection. Beside me is my grocery list for the weekend–eggs, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and lemons for sticky lemon rolls, our Easter breakfast tradition. And here we are in the middle of Holy Week, the final days of Lent, drawing near to Easter. I was texting with a friend this morning about Psalm 16:5, “The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup.” My cup. Cup, like the cup Jesus drank from the night before He went to the cross.

Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:26-28 ESV)

When Jesus took this meal with his disciples, they were observing the Passover meal, the annual remembrance of how God had rescued them, redeemed them. A time to remember with grateful hearts how God brought them out of slavery into freedom, out of death and into life. During the Passover meal, there are four cups taken, each cup corresponding to a different promise from Exodus 6. The ESV Study Bible says the cup described here in Matthew 26 was “most likely the third of four cups at the Passover–the cup of blessing, or the cup of redemption–corresponding to God’s third promise is Ex 6:6.”

Say therefore to the people of Israel, ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment. (Exodus 6:6 ESV, emphasis mine)

This cup of redemption for us was a cup of agony for Him.

And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. (Luke 22:41-44 ESV, emphasis mine)

But He would take the agony in stripes across His back and nails pierced through His hands. He would take that cup so we could have the cup of redemption. He would redeem us with an outstretched arm. He would stretch out His arms on a wooden cross. He would be mocked and insulted. And darkness would eclipse the light.

Our savior displayed on a criminal’s cross
Darkness rejoiced as though heaven had lost
But then Jesus arose with our freedom in hand
That’s when death was arrested and my life began

“Death was Arrested” by Northpoint Music

I remember hearing Louie Giglio teach a message years ago where he said the message of the gospel isn’t that Jesus made bad people good. The message of the gospel is that Jesus made dead people ALIVE.

The gospel is so much more than a self-help message. Without Christ, we weren’t bad. We weren’t unchurched. We didn’t need a little help. We were dead. And being dead is a huge problem. Dead people can’t do a single thing to help themselves. Not one thing. So the gospel begins with really bad news–all have sinned and can’t do a single thing to improve their standing with God.

But the gospel ends with great news! Though the gospel begins with people who are spiritually dead because of the penalty and the power of sin, through Jesus, the spiritually dead are raised to life. The gospel isn’t a message of how bad people become good; it’s the power by which dead people come to life. It’s not about Jesus making us better. The gospel is about our cold, dead hearts starting to beat again by the power of God.

Passion, the Bright Light of Glory by Louie Giglio

Tiny, white blossoms bursting forth. The scent of lemon zest. And dead hearts beating with life again.

The cup of agony became our cup of redemption.

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup.