Remember Me (vs. 4,5)
“Remember me, LORD, when you show favour to your people, come to may aid when you save them, that I may enjoy the prosperity of your chosen ones, that I may share in the joy of your nation and join your inheritance in giving praise.”
‘Me too,’ the psalmist petitions. ‘Let me be a part of the great gift of wholeness You offer those You call Your people.’ Let’s not be fooled: he’s not talking about financial aid or prosperity; he’s not eliciting party favours or a wealthy man’s inheritance. It’s not money he wants. The psalmist’s ‘me too’ prayer is the plea of a humble heart that knows its brokenness can only be healed and made whole by God.
To be remembered by God is the greatest, fullest, most satisfying existence a person could ever know. The criminal who hung crucified next to Jesus repeats the same message as the psalmist when he says, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Luke 23:42). The thief knows both his and Jesus’ earthly lives are in their final hours, yet he does not speak as if he or they will cease to exist. He has a worldview that includes life beyond the grave – and he acknowledges Jesus as the One who will rule in undisputed sovereignty there. Notice how Jesus does not discount that worldview. He does not claim to be only a good man; he claims divinity and sovereignty and for that He hangs nailed between criminals, by those who want to end His existence. But this criminal believes something incredible. He believes Jesus is the Ever-existing One, and in that knowledge he takes hope.
In the world of men, the thief is without hope, but in the kingdom of Christ everything gets turned upside-down. In that world the humble and repentant are loved and remembered and welcomed. In that world they are mended and re-created and made whole. In that world, favour means knowing and being known fully by God, and loving every eternal minute of it.
We learn something scandalous about this dying brigand: we learn that he believes that Jesus, the sinless one, can forgive the worst of sinners; we learn that Jesus rules an eternal kingdom and remembers those who will humble themselves like children. We learn that paradise is being with Jesus in His eternal kingdom where we don’t get what our deeds deserve but what our hearts desire. We learn the spiritual aspect of what the psalmist tries to communicate in his prayer asking to be remembered.
Today is not unlike the day the psalmist prayed. We, too, can breathe those two words and find ourselves on the road to wholeness. The kingdom of God is not only a then-and-there hope – it’s here and now. It’s for psalmists and sophists, dying thieves and living amateurs. It’s for you and me if we will humble ourselves before our Maker and say, “Remember me.”
O God who knows me better than I know myself, remember me. Bring to Your vast mind Your promise of compassion for those who humble themselves before Your great mercy. Remember my needy soul, my weak and foolish frailty, my helpless condition. Remember that I need Your love not only every moment of this life, but also in the life to come. Remember me, and I will be whole.