Thursday, March 16, 2017

God Always Remembers

When we think about God many times we place human characteristics upon Him. We think about our fallen human passions and we presume God shares in those passions. When we hear that God is angry we presume His anger is similar to our anger. Since we are limited in our ability to understand God, we shouldn’t be surprised that we confuse His reality with our reality. That is part of the “growing into His likeness” the Church speaks about. We were created in His image, but still lack His likeness. That will come when we are finally complete and resting in total communion with Him in heaven. Until then we need to constantly remind ourselves that we are fallen, and our passions, emotions, and other human characteristics cannot be attributed to God.

Today is an example. In today’s reading from Genesis we are told, “But God remember Noah and all the beasts and all the cattle there were with him in the ark.” (Genesis 8.1) We are tempted to read this verse with human minds “as if” prior to this point God had not remembered Noah and the animals. It makes sense to us when we read, “They were blotted out from the earth.” (Genesis 7.23) It also makes sense IF we consider the Flood as punishment from God. (See the 2017 Daily Lenten Journey Day 12)But since we don’t consider the Flood to be punishment but salvation, then God couldn’t have forgotten His people, even those who were blotted out from the earth. God had a plan the whole time which He never forgot.

Sometimes we may feel that God has forgotten us in our struggle. We may feel that since He has chosen to not remove our struggle from our life that He has ignored our prayers. We feel this way because we are fallen and lack total understanding of God. Admittedly it is easier to say than to embrace this truth about our lack of knowledge, but it remains true nonetheless. This is yet another benefit to the Great Fast when we are asked to increase our fasting, increase our time in prayer and worship, increase our almsgiving, increase our participation in the Sacraments, all to tune our hearts to hear the Word of God. This is why Be Transfigured Ministries offers a Daily Lenten Journey, so that we can begin every day with a fresh focus on God’s promise. What is His promise?

Since the first humans walked the earth, God has promised to be with us. He will never abandon us. He will never forget us, though we may feel AS IF He has. Just as the flood waters eventually abated at God’s command, our pain, suffering and struggle will also eventually come to an end. God knows the best time and manner for the end, no matter how long we may wait. God always remembers!

Here are today’s Old Testament Readings:
Isaiah 11:10-12:2 (RSV) -  Thus says the LORD: In that day the root of Jesse shall stand as an ensign to the peoples; him shall the nations seek, and his dwellings shall be glorious. In that day the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant which is left of his people, from Assyria, from Egypt, from Pathros, from Ethiopia, from Elam, from Shinar, from Hamath, and from the coastlands of the sea.  He will raise an ensign for the nations, and will assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.  The jealousy of Ephraim shall depart, and those who harass Judah shall be cut off; Ephraim shall not be jealous of Judah, and Judah shall not harass Ephraim.  But they shall swoop down upon the shoulder of the Philistines in the west, and together they shall plunder the people of the east. They shall put forth their hand against Edom and Moab, and the Ammonites shall obey them.  And the LORD will utterly destroy the tongue of the sea of Egypt; and will wave his hand over the River with his scorching wind, and smite it into seven channels that men may cross dryshod.  And there will be a highway from Assyria for the remnant which is left of his people, as there was for Israel when they came up from the land of Egypt.  You will say in that day: "I will give thanks to thee, O LORD, for though thou wast angry with me, thy anger turned away, and thou didst comfort me.  "Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation."
 Genesis 7:11-8:3 (RSV) - In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened.  And rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights.  On the very same day Noah and his sons, Shem and Ham and Japheth, and Noah's wife and the three wives of his sons with them entered the ark, they and every beast according to its kind, and all the cattle according to their kinds, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth according to its kind, and every bird according to its kind, every bird of every sort.  They went into the ark with Noah, two and two of all flesh in which there was the breath of life.  And they that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the LORD shut him in.  The flood continued forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth.  The waters prevailed and increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark floated on the face of the waters.  And the waters prevailed so mightily upon the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered; the waters prevailed above the mountains, covering them fifteen cubits deep.  And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, birds, cattle, beasts, all swarming creatures that swarm upon the earth, and every man; everything on the dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died.  He blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the ground, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the air; they were blotted out from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those that were with him in the ark.  And the waters prevailed upon the earth a hundred and fifty days.  But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the cattle that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided; the fountains of the deep and the windows of the heavens were closed, the rain from the heavens was restrained, and the waters receded from the earth continually. At the end of a hundred and fifty days the waters had abated.

Proverbs 10:1-22 (RSV) - A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is a sorrow to his mother.  Treasures gained by wickedness do not profit, but righteousness delivers from death.  The LORD does not let the righteous go hungry, but he thwarts the craving of the wicked.  A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.  A son who gathers in summer is prudent, but a son who sleeps in harvest brings shame.  Blessings are on the head of the righteous, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.  The memory of the righteous is a blessing, but the name of the wicked will rot.  The wise of heart will heed commandments, but a prating fool will come to ruin.  He who walks in integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will be found out.  He who winks the eye causes trouble, but he who boldly reproves makes peace.  The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.  Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.  On the lips of him who has understanding wisdom is found, but a rod is for the back of him who lacks sense.  Wise men lay up knowledge, but the babbling of a fool brings ruin near.  A rich man's wealth is his strong city; the poverty of the poor is their ruin.  The wage of the righteous leads to life, the gain of the wicked to sin.  He who heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof goes astray.  He who conceals hatred has lying lips, and he who utters slander is a fool.  When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is prudent.  The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; the mind of the wicked is of little worth.  The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of sense.  The blessing of the LORD makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.

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