What Does God Remember?


For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust. Psalm 103:13


It’s been said that an elephant never forgets. One report documented two elephants that had been in a circus together 23 years earlier, reuniting with intense emotion.[1]

Yes, elephants remember…but we forget. As soon as things in our lives become rocky, plans fall through, when we’re walking through hardship or loss, we forget.  We forget what God has done for us in the past, we forget that His presence is with us and that His promises are true for the future. And in our forgetting, we’re in good company.

The Bible’s Psalm 78 is a retelling of lessons from the past. God had communicated His commands and His love to His people, warning them tell future generations of His ways. But, says the Psalm, “They forgot what he had done—the great wonders he had shown them…They did not remember his power and how he rescued them from their enemies…[or] his miraculous signs” (Psalm 78:11,42, 43b). “In spite of this, the people kept sinning. Despite his wonders, they refused to trust him” (Psalm 78:32).

God, on the other hand, remembers. Scripture says that God “remembered that they were but flesh, a passing breeze that does not return” (Psalm 78:42 NIV) and another Psalm reminds us that “…he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust” (Psalm 103:14). There are other accounts in the Old Testament of God remembering people with compassion (Genesis 8:1, 30:22, Exodus 2:24) and the word used for remember–zakar, means, not just bringing someone to mind, but to act on their behalf.

Stressed out over life?  “Remember,” as God’s people finally did, “that God [is] your rock, that God Most High [is] your redeemer” (Psalm 78:35).

[1]Ritchie, James. “Fact or Fiction?: Elephants Never Forget.” Scientific American, 12 Jan. 2009, www.scientificamerican.com/article/elephants-never-forget/.