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And God Remembered Rachel
There are strange and unusual expressions in our Bible. No statement could be stranger than a statement that begins, “And God remembered…” No one would be surprised if we said that “we” had forgotten something, and then we remembered it again. Forgetting things happens. Possibly, enough time has passed that the memory has just faded. We forget things because we did not store them strongly in our mind initially. Things are also forgotten because people want to forget. One of the most unusual expressions in the Bible says, “And God remembered Rachel." The good news is that just as God remembered Rachel, He will remember us also!
“And God remembered Rachel.” A very familiar Bible story is that of Jacob and his wives; Rachel and Leah. “Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.” (Genesis 29:20) Laban deceived Jacob and gave him Leah, instead. Leah is the mother of six of Jacob's sons, including his first four Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, and later two more, Issachar and Zebulun, and a daughter, Dinah. Rachel was barren. She was unable to have children. As the years passed Leah bore Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah. “Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die.” Jacob was angry at Rachel’s outburst. He said, “Am I in God's stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?” Rachel then took her problem to God. In four amazing words we learned that God answered her request, “And God remembered Rachel.” (Genesis 30:22) She was blessed to be the mother of a famous son, Joseph. Later she would die giving birth to a second son, Benjamin. The birth of Joseph was a reward of faith and an answer to prayer. God remembers, even though we may think that He forgets.
The Lord remembered Hannah. Hannah, like Rachel, was unable to have children. Her husband was Elkanah. He had two wives, Peninnah and Hannah. God’s plan was one man, one wife until the death of one or the other. We would just expect the arrangement of 2 wives to cause trouble and it did. The Bible says, “Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.” Hannah was loved by her husband, but we read, “The LORD had shut up her womb.” Peninnah provoked Hannah because she was childless. “Her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the LORD had shut up her womb.” This went on for years. In bitterness of soul, Hannah wept to the Lord and prayed. Hannah made a vow to God concerning a child. She said, “O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.” Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the LORD remembered her.” Hannah also became the mother of a famous son, Samuel.
“And God remembered Noah.” Not many men have ever gone through the physical struggles and the emotional struggles that Noah experienced. The world wide flood was described in these words, “And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth. And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters. And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.” (Genesis 7:17-20) No one would ever have been more helpless than Noah as the flood came and the waters prevailed upon the earth. “And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days.” (Genesis 7:24) God’s infinite care for Noah and for all living is seen in that, “God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters asswaged.” (Genesis 8:1) God is said to have remembered man when He shows, by favorable actions, that He is taking care of man. It was an act of divine grace, when God remembered Noah.
“That God remembered Abraham.” When God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, He remembered Abraham and sent Lot out. “And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt.” (Genesis 19:29) God remembered His great servant Abraham. God also remembered the covenant He had made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. “And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.” (Exodus 2:24) God remembers good men and God always keeps his word!
And let us remember. Let us remember that we are the handiwork of the all-wise and all-powerful Creator of heaven and earth. (Isaiah 40:28) Let us remember that God loves us and wants our fellowship. We break our fellowship with our Heavenly Father through disobedience. (John 14:15) Let us remember that how we live our life is of utmost importance. The grace of God teaches us to deny “ungodliness and worldly lusts,” and to “live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.” Let us remember that God will bless us and forgive our sins. (Acts 3:26) Let us remember the importance of God’s word. We must read His word and hide it in our heart. (Psalm 119:11) There are many helpful books. The Bible is far different from any of these books because it is the inspired word of God. Following the teachings of the Bible will save our souls, give us the best of life and prepare us for eternity. (John 12:48) Let us remember that every good thing that we have comes from God. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17) Let us remember that Judgment Day is coming. We will all have to stand before the judgment seat of Christ and be judged for what we did in this life. (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)
God remembers, but He also forgets. God forgives and forgets sins through the blood of Jesus. God said, “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” (Isaiah 43:25) To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Acts 8:37), and be baptized to be saved. (1 Peter 3:21). After your baptism use your life to honor God and to help build up His blood, bought church! “But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.” (Psalms 73:28)
---- Charles Box
News & Notes
1. Prayer List: In Need of Prayer: Douglas Butts, Terry Claunch, Johnny Cole, Camren Coleman, Lisa Cook, Tim Croley, John Curry, Nell Daughtry, Nelson Daughtry, Mary Goodwin, Richard Harrell, Michael Hartin, Devin Hawkins, Sue Hunt, Allan Jackson, Charlie Jones, Katherine Myers, Barley Newton, Alice Padgett, Bill Perry, William Pierce, Elnora Ray, Linda Reynolds, Curtis Robinson, Peggy Scribner, Johnny Sims, Evelyn Smith, Andy Taylor, Mary Lou Terrell, Alice Thompson, Leroy Waller, Reford Whittington, Barbara Woods, and Betty & Wayne Young. Crowne Health Care: Dorothy Buck, Jewel Cauthen, Gladys Childs, Arlene Coletrane, Ruth Davis, Betty Findley, Davis & Ruth Hester, Kathy Johnson, Sarah Knight, and Annie Ruth Tetter. Pine Needle: Lydia Ann Raybon and Elizabeth Perdue
2. Baptized Into Christ: We rejoice that Becki Tindal was baptized into Christ. Directory Information: Address 9637 Luverne Highway, Greenville – Telephone 382-4488 – Birthdays (husband) Stan, July 30th and Becki, February 25th – Anniversary June 25th. Please let Becki know you love her.
3. Our Lord’s Invitation: Please remember Nancy Faulkenberry in your personal, private prayers. She wants our prayers. Nancy, we love you.
4. Birthdays: Celebrating a birthday this week: March 16th Betty Hobbie and Reese Raybon, March 17th Janice Box, and March 19th Earl Acreman.
5. Reorder of “Muscle & a Shovel”: The price per book in our last order will be $12.82. Pay when you receive your books.
6. Prom Alternative: April 4th & 5th – “Prom Alternative.” If you would like to help in some way please see Ann Cauthen, Barbara Walker or Darrell Powell.
7. Religious Debate: The University of North Alabama Christian Student Center is hosting a religious debate on April 4th beginning at 6 PM. Bart Ehrman will affirm the proposition, “The pain and suffering in the world indicates that the Christian God does not exist.” Kyle Butt will deny that proposition. For more details visit www.unacsc.com.
8. Vacation Bible School: Happy Ever After…The Salvation Story is the theme of this years’ VBS. We hope that you will see its potential and join with us in our excitement. We need your help; there are jobs for everyone! See the bulletin board in the foyer.
9. Mission Work in Annai: The Material needs have been meet! Thanks You! Our greatest need now is for your prayers!
10. Thank You: (a) Dear Church Family, A very special thank you for your many kind expressions of love and sympathy at the time of the death of my dear sister, Charlotte Moody. My family and I have felt the comfort of your prayers and the beautiful cards, notes, and calls have helped so much to lessen our grief. Needless to say, the gorgeous plant sent by the church for the funeral will continue to be a reminder of your loving spirit. Charlotte’s husband and daughter’s send their gratitude for all of your kindness. Please continue to keep them in your prayers as they adjust to their great loss. Again, thank you for being such a loving family. I love you all, Margaret Pierce, (b) Dear Walnut Street church, Thank you for all the prayers, cards, and phone calls. We are blessed to have a wonderful church family like you. With Love, Earl & Lou Acreman, and (c) Thank you so very much for the beautiful plant! It was so appreciated! The Family of Charlotte Gipson Moody
11. Area Events: (a) March 16th – 19th – Gospel Meeting – Grady Church of Christ –Time 7:30 pm, (c) March 22nd – Ladies Day – Lay Lake Church of Christ – Speaker Mallory Baker – Time 9:30 am (b) March 23rd – 26th – Gospel Meeting – County Line Church of Christ – See bulletin board for speakers – Time 7:30, and (c) March 23rd – 28th – Gospel Meeting – Georgia Road Church of Christ – Theme Evangelism – See bulletin board for speakers and topics – Time 7:00 pm.
The Thickening Darkness
Darkness! It was upon the face of the deep before God spoke the universe into existence. (Genesis 1:2) Then God separated the light from the darkness. (Genesis 1:4) Soon, darkness came to represent more than just the lack of physical light. Darkness now indicates a separation from God, Who is the Light. Samuel wrote: "For you are my lamp, O LORD, and my God lightens my darkness. (II Samuel 22:29) God's will is that we live in the light, in righteousness. (I John 1:7) But at times, the thickening darkness can envelope our spirits and smother us as a thick blanket.
Solomon described people "who forsake the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness." (Proverbs 2:13) Would anyone really choose darkness over light? Are there those who "call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!" (Isaiah 5:20) Each of us was once living in the "domain of darkness." (Colossians 1:13) But God has "called us out of darkness into His marvelous light." (I Peter 2:9)
You may feel encompassed by darkness, dark thoughts, a dark past, eyes that see only darkness. But there is a light that overpowers the darkest of places. Jesus Christ has "come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in Him may not remain in darkness." (John 12:46) The darkness in your life can become bright like the sun by the power of the Son! Jesus sent Paul to preach to the Gentiles (us) "to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” (Acts 26:18)
Now, "The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.” (Romans 13:12) The victory is ours through Jesus. "But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Corinthians 15:57) It's time to stop being afraid of the dark and love and live in the Light!