Bible News: Never Forgotten | Adapted from Our Daily Bread (4th August, 2021)
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.” – Isaiah 49: 15-16
“Uncle Arthur, do you remember the day you took me to the barbershop and the supermarket? I was wearing tan khakis, a blue-plaid oxford shirt, a navy-blue cardigan, brown socks, and brown Rockport shoes. The date was Thursday, October 20, 2016.” My nephew Jared’s autism-related challenges are offset by his phenomenal memory that can recall details like days and dates and the clothes he was wearing years after an event took place.
Because of the way he’s wired, Jared possesses the kind of memory that reminds me of the all-knowing, loving God—the Keeper of time and eternity. He knows the facts and won’t forget His promises or His people. Have you had moments when you’ve questioned whether or not you’ve been forgotten by God? When others appear to be healthier or happier or more successful or otherwise better off?
Ancient Israel’s less-than-ideal situation caused her to say, “The Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me” (Isaiah 49:14). But that wasn’t the case. God’s compassion and care exceeded the natural bonds of affection that mothers have for their children (v. 15). Before embracing labels like “forsaken” or “forgotten,” think again of what God has done in and through His Son, Jesus. In the gospel that brings forgiveness, God has clearly said, “I will not forget you!” (v. 15).
INSIGHT: In ancient Mesopotamia, tattooing often showed identity. To have a tattoo might indicate whom you belonged to as a slave, or it could be the markings of your god. In today’s passage (Isaiah 49:14–18), the prophet Isaiah flips that concept. God engraves the names of His people onto His palms (v. 16). The imagery is one of permanence and deep intimacy. We can’t be separated from God.
The metaphor of God’s “hand” or “hands” is used often in Scripture as a reference to His authority and strength and the security found in Him. Jesus highlighted this security with His comforting words in John 10, when He said of His sheep (those who put their faith in Him), “No one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one” (Vv. 28–30).
Father, when I’m tempted to feel neglected, forgotten, and abandoned, help me to ponder again the love You demonstrated by sending Jesus to die for me.
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