Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Will God Remember?

Still delving into a deep well of Hebrew theology, DanO has caused me to seriously think about some stuff. Dan has his own excellent blog: Poser or Prophet: On Journeying With Those in Exile. Be sure to check that out. He offers various thoughts, on some biblical topics as well as theological which have caused me to sit down and think deeply.
Back to God and Memory, Dan raises the interesting question of Exodus 2:23-25
After a long time the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned under their slavery, and cried out. Out of the slavery their cry for help rose up to God. God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God looked upon the Israelites, and God took notice of them.
This fascinating passage is followed by a tradition of questioning whether or not Yhwh will remember his covenant to Israel. Listening to Tom Wright's lectures on Romans, while driving into the city recently, I was reminded of his four-fold plan of studying and reading: Exegesis > Theology > History > Praxis. It's a very helpful model, but I find that I'm always mixing them up (in fact I think the biblical writers do this all the time, especially Paul), and actually struggling to separate them - I think because of my view that the Scriptures have authority over my life, that they speak beyond their intended audience and to me now, and that someone I must respond to them. But that's another story - Back to Yhwh.
Did Israel really think that GOD had forgotten them? Does God actually become unaware of situations? One can easily suggest the scenario of Gen 18. God has heard rumours of disaster on the earth, so he "comes down" to see if it's true. Is this all part and parcel of anthropomorphic language, or is this actually conveying something about how God has chosen to interact with humanity?
I'm getting Fretheim, Durham and Brueggemann's commentary on Exodus so that I can explore this further, but in my own life, I'm pondering about whether GOD has forgotten some. And is Jaques Ellull right that the task of the community is to remind GOD of his covenant with humanity? Have we succeeded in this task? Are we even aware of such a mandate? Does it even matter to us? SHA!
Much to think through...

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