For in death there is no remembrance of you; in Sheol who will give you praise? -- Psalms 6:5
Wednesday, August 5, 2015
Call Me Ishmael
This is one of those verses that I read and sort of footnote as I go along. That was an Old Testament, limited understanding that viewed our status when we die as becoming something like “shades”, similar, perhaps, to the belief of the Greeks. Death has lost its sting in the New Testament revelation of Christ’s resurrection. The grave or sheol is no longer victorious. Christ conquered death, hell, and the grave for us so that we need no longer live in fear.
Of course, all that is true; suppose, though, we turn the verse around a little. Where there is no remembrance of God is death. Where there is no praise of God is Sheol. The living dead walk among us, for … we were dead in our trespasses … (Ephesians 2:5). Jesus told those Sadducees who challenged Him about the resurrection: Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to him (Luke 20:38).
The other verse I read this morning that struck me was Genesis 16:13-14 where God speaks with Hagar and shows her a well to save herself and her son. Ishmael means “God hears”. Hagar calls the well she found “beer-lahai-roi” which means “the well of the living one who sees me”. The living God sees me; He hears me. So long as I remember Him and keep in mind that He sees and hears me, I will live. To live is to live to Him.
I often live in a mindset of death. If I think of God at all, I may think of Him only in His transcendence. I may think of Him as someone I have to call into the situation, as the ultimate non-local 911 Operator who gets a call and punches up some help for me. No, He is the living One who sees me. Though it is incomprehensible to me, He is as immanent as He is transcendent. All I have to do is remember Him, for He always remembers me.