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 forgotten’. It means focusing your mind on something in particular; it first occurs in Genesis 8:1, “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 both. The long-term future of his nation is revealed to Ezekiel, and it shows a wonderful ‘silver lining’ in contrast to the ugly picture of Israel in Ezekiel’s time. God tells him that the time will come “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 will be more than a remarkable worldwide 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” (20:41-44). The timing for this 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 and how real are they to us? Is it just ‘head knowledge’? When asked, “When the kingdom of God would come?” (verse 20) Jesus draws the lesson of the days of Noah and how people were “eating and drinking” and life seemed totally normal “until the flood came” (verse 27). The people had forgotten God and put Him out of their minds just as they have today. 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 …” (verse 28), but then God acted. We know the account well, it is brief and to the point. A vital question is, will we be ready when God acts? Reflect on verse 32, it has just three words, “Remember Lot’s wife”.